You know that a deadbolt on the front door is standard for preventing a break in. If you get a more aggressive thief that resorts to using a crowbar or kicking the door in, you may not be as safe as you think. Here are some ways to maximize the protection you can get from your front door.
1. Install the Most Effective Deadbolt You Can Afford
Ask your locksmith to only show you the ANSI Grade 1 deadbolts in their inventory. These are the highest quality locks with hardened steel bolts that are difficult to cut through. For even more protection than the standard horizontal deadbolt, have the locksmith install a vertical deadbolt. With these locks, the bolt is offset so a burglar can't even get to the bolt to try to saw through it.
2. Upgrade the Strike Plate
Replace the standard metal strike plate in the door frame with a thicker strike plate and box. With the standard plate, the bolt slips through the plate into the wooden door frame. If the wood is weak, a burglar can force the bolt through the wood to open the door. A strike plate with a box includes a metal compartment that the bolt slides into. This makes it much more difficult to push the bolt through the door frame.
3. Reinforce the Door
Kits are available to make your door harder to kick through. You can find these at home improvement stores or door companies. Metal strips attach to the door frame to prevent someone from using a crowbar to splinter the wood and opening the door. Metal plates are attached to the door to keep the door panels intact should someone kick the door.
4. Replace the Door
The best deadbolt and door reinforcement system won't keep a burglar out if you have a cheap or poorly made door to begin with. The front door should be solid hardwood. Hardwood doors won't warp and are difficult to break through. A steel door is another option. Most steel doors have a polystyrene core to make it lighter and insulate the door.
5. Protect the Hinges
If you live in a much older home where the door swings outward, the hinges are exposed and vulnerable. The best solution is to replace the door with one that opens into the house and the hinges are hidden from the outside. If that's not possible, replace the exposed hinges with one of these safer versions that prevent the door from being taken off of the hinges:
- hinges with a setscrew to prevent the pin from being removed
- hinges with a crimp at the end of the pin to prevent it from being removed
- hinges with safety studs that prevent the hinges from moving past each other
When reviewing your home security measures, start at the front door and make sure it gives you the best protection it can.