Is Your Door Burglarproof?
When it comes to home security, not all external doors are created equal.
Don’t have your doors let you down. According to crime statistics, most burglars gain access via the front or back door. The external doors should be an important focus of your home security plans because the safety of your home and family comes first. You wouldn’t want criminals getting into your house without a fight so get the right doors with frames and hardware to match.
Surprisingly, a substantial number of burglars enter their victim’s home through an unlocked external door. You may have spent plenty of money on the best locks but they can’t work if they’re not used.
Are your external doors hollow? You can easily check your door by knocking on it and if it sounds hollow, it needs to be replaced right away… With hollow doors, layers of veneer are applied to a cardboard core. That’s it! All that stands between you and the next burglar that picks your home, is some ply and cardboard.
Only Solid Doors
The first requirement for external doors is that they are solid and the following materials are recommended. Solid wood, fiberglass and solid wood core are all good as well as reinforced metal. In the case of metal doors, they need to have a lock block. This prevents them being jimmied out of their frame with a car jack.
When installing new external doors, don’t ignore the frame, the hardware or the glass (if the door has glass). Ideally, all windowed external doors should be replaced with windowless versions. If glass is necessary, then make sure it is thick non see-through laminated safety glass.
Don’t have windows so close to an external door that by breaking the window, a burglar could open the lock.
Get the Best Hardware
Excluding sliding glass doors, all other external doors should be fitted with a high quality deadbolt lock along with the regular doorknob lock. By high quality, think solid metal with no exposed exterior screws, (preferably grade one or two) and a throw bolt over one inch in length.
Install cylinder guards around the lock cylinders where you insert the key. Sometimes lock cylinders can be removed or broken by using a hammer or a wrench. Metal guard plates or protective rings can safeguard these. Often locks have these features but if not, they can be purchased separately.
The metal plate that surrounds the hole in the door frame where the lock bolt goes into is known as the strike plate. External doors should always be fitted with heavy-duty metal security strike plates, attached to the underlying stud by four 3-inch screws.
Hinges and Viewers
Hinges should be on the inside of an external door and secured to the frame with 3-inch screws.
Peep holes and viewers give you a look at who is knocking at your door. Wide-angle viewers should be installed at eye level on external doors. Reinforce any peep holes or viewing panels by covering the glass with a security grate or grille on the outside.
Locks won’t do you much good if you have to open your door to see who’s who. And forget those flimsy door chains. One good kick from a determined intruder is all it takes to wipe them out.
Don’t Forget the Frame
The best lock system is worthless if the external door frame is flimsy. Burglars can still get inside by prying or breaking the frame. Door frames should be as strong and secure as the lock. A strong external door and quality, well fitted locks should be mounted to a frame secured to the walls with 3-inch screws that reach the wall stud (if you have studs).
What about the Sliding Doors
Any sliding glass doors or glass door panels should have a see-thru, unbreakable polycarbonate panel fitted on the inside. Sliding doors should be secured by fitting keyed locks top and bottom. There are bars available that swing down from the frame that will stop the door sliding. A thick wooden dowel placed in the bottom track of the door will also work to keep it from being opened.
Take rational, sensible precautions to protect yourself and your family. Secure your home to the best of your ability and enjoy greater peace of mind.