Before we begin, let’s take a look at a couple of really simple stats:
- On average, a burglary happens once every 25.7 seconds, which amounts to well over 3,000 burglaries every day in the US.
- 34% of the burglars enter the house using the front door.
This means that one-third of the time, a break-in could be avoided as long as the front door security is in place. And if you are reading this, you are on the right track!
“Prepare and prevent, don’t repair and repent” – Anonymous
As someone said, luck runs out, but safety is good for life. Taking any precaution one can is what should be done and you being here is a good sign that you are taking an initiative to be more aware. I am proud of you!
And to show my appreciation and lend you a hand in making your home a little more safe, I have compiled a list of 15 easy steps you can take to secure your front door.
These all really practical approaches that don’t take much time, and you can either carry them out yourself or get some help. There’s no need to go for a fancy home security system if you can’t afford it. There are many ways to secure a door. Try one or try all! None of these ways obstruct the other and can even reinforce each other.
Then let’s get straight to the point!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- 15 Ways to Secure Your Front Door
- 1. Longer Screws for the Win!
- 2. Install a Good Quality Deadbolt
- 3. Reinforce Deadbolt Strike Plate
- 4. Your Door Should be Solid
- 5. Install a Hinge Shield
- 6. Use a Jamb Shield
- 7. Door Shield to the Rescue
- 8. Use a Strike Plate Lock Instead of Normal Door Chain
- 9. Wide Angle Peepholes
- 10. Security Camera and Video Doorbell
- 11. Install a Door Barricade from Inside
- 12. Motion Sensor Porch Lights
- 13. Keyless Door Lock
- 14. Horizontal Door Security Bar
- 15. Reinforce the Glass in Your Door
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Some Other Points to Remember
15 Ways to Secure Your Front Door
1. Longer Screws for the Win!
The first and perhaps the most important to keep in mind is that no matter how good quality your door, or hinges, or deadlock is, it is useless if they are not secured properly. So the one thing that you must absolutely do, in order to have a secure door, is to change all the screws to at least 3 or 3 ½ inches instead of the standard 1 ½ inches screws.
Smaller screws that are actually the standard size easily give way under force; they don’t hold for long. But the longer screws help secure your strike plates and locks properly into place, making it a bit more difficult for someone to break in. So go for 3 ½ inches screws or at least 2 ½ inches ones for a more secure front door.
2. Install a Good Quality Deadbolt
Most of us have a deadbolt lock in addition to our regular locks, and that is a good thing. But is your deadbolt capable of holding on under force? That would depend on its quality! So make sure the deadbolt you are using is a certified good quality one.
The ideal quality to go for when choosing a deadbolt lock is ANSI Grade 1. American National Standards Institute (ANSI) grades locksets according to their durability, with grade 1 being the best and most secure to grade 3 being the least secure. You should at least use a grade 2 deadbolt to rest assured.
Of course, it’s grade 1 that you should choose whenever you can. It is estimated to be able to persevere through at least ten kicks with a force of 75 pounds. Enough time to get to your phone and contact emergency services!
3. Reinforce Deadbolt Strike Plate
The strike plate is the metal plate with a hole, attached to the jamb that holds the lock when you close the door. A good deadbolt can only do its job if the strike plate is reliable. If the strike plate of your deadbolt lock is too shallow or not properly secured, it can easily give in and put your safety into jeopardy.
So make sure the strike plate is compatible with the deadbolt and is reliable. You can easily reinforce the strike plate by replacing the screws as stated 2 points above, or you can go for a box strike plate that consists of a steel cup and is considered relatively durable.
4. Your Door Should be Solid
A door with a solid core is your best bet when it comes to home security. Doors with a hollow core are good for in-house use, but when it comes to the entrance of the house, a sturdy, solid front door is the way to go. They are much more difficult to break through than a hollow core door and are your first line of defense.
You can go with a solid wood core door or even the ones made of metal or fiberglass. As long as it gives a hard time to anyone attempting to enter using force, it’s all good.
5. Install a Hinge Shield
A sturdy door is the best, but if the hinges that attach this sturdy barrier to the door frame and wall are not up to the mark or open for anybody to tamper with, it will be all for naught. This is especially true for outswinging doors that leave the hinges open and vulnerable.
So what you can do is use a hinge shield that only prevents anyone tampering with it but also reinforces it into the frame and the wall. They are easy to install too, and you just need a few 3 ½ inch screws and a steady driver, along with the shield, of course, which you will find readily available in any hardware store.
6. Use a Jamb Shield
The doorpost or frame is important, too, when talking about a secure front door. The jamb is what holds the entire thing together, and unless it is strong enough, your front door can come down like a house of cards. Okay, this is an exaggeration, but you get my point – door jammers are important!
You can use a jamb shield to reinforce it and make sure the door is more firmly secured. Easily available in a number of hardware stores and quick to fix in place with a few screws and drivers. Oh, and of course, the screws should be 2 ½ to 3 ½ inches long, for a sturdier connection.
7. Door Shield to the Rescue
Just like a hinge or jamb shield, a door shield is used to reinforce the area around the lock in the door. It gives extra strength to the lock for doors and helps secure your door firmly. Just a caution, though, if you are using it along with the other shields, make sure you have enough room to do so. If you install everything and then later realize that the door is not closing because of all the reinforcements, everything would be kind of meaningless.
8. Use a Strike Plate Lock Instead of Normal Door Chain
Honestly, this is one of my favorite tips because it makes it so much tougher for someone to enter the house without your permission. Of course, if the strike plate is of reliable quality. When it comes to safety, dear readers, make sure to always get the best quality product you can, even with a limited budget. It’s a long term investment and totally worth it.
Coming back to the point, a strike plate lock is similar to a door chain in the aspect that they let you partially open the door, but it is much more safe and secure. It is not easily broken, is really durable, unlike the standard door chain, and is pretty simple yet effective. Just attach the strike plate lock to the jamb and put the ring over the doorknob and you are all set!
9. Wide Angle Peepholes
Wide-angle peepholes allow you to see the person outside even if they try to duck or move to the side. You can even see if they are holding something! A simple and effective method to make sure of your safety before you open the door.
10. Security Camera and Video Doorbell
No criminal wants to be seen… of course, there are always some exceptions, but most of them would rather avoid getting caught in a camera and thus avoid homes with security cameras. Honestly, this is just an extra precaution and relatively more expensive than many of the other methods. But safety always comes first, and if it makes your home a bit more secure, the expense is worth it.
Video doorbells, too, allow you to interact with anyone outside and makes it easier to avoid any untoward encounter. You can keep an eye on your front door even while you are out, as most of these video doorbells can send a direct feed to your phones and devices.
11. Install a Door Barricade from Inside
A super reliable method and amazing in its sheer simplicity. They are best for houses with old people, but who says others can’t use this effective method? The door barricade consists of a base plate, which is attached to the floor by the door, and a barrier that is attached to the door.
To lock it, you just have to slide the barrier into the base plate and when you want to open it, slide it out just as easily. Now, the reason this is considered to be super reliable is that the whole mechanism relies on the sturdy floor as opposed to the door. The base plate screwed on the floor properly supports the door in case someone wants to break and enter.
Another plus point of using a door barricade, apart from reliability and ease of use, is that it is hard for someone to access it from outside. Like a lot of doors come with glass windows that are easy to break and make it a cinch to open the lock and deadbolt from inside. But not a door barricade which is secured on the floor… no one has arms that long!
12. Motion Sensor Porch Lights
Darkness is not your friend when it comes to safety! A well-lit porch can easily act as a deterrent for a number of burglars, but it might not always be possible to keep up the lights, either because you are not at home or you simply forgot. So having motion sensor lights are actually a huge help, both in surprising the visitor and making you aware that someone is at the door.
Motion sensor lights spring to action as soon as someone comes along, making sure the visibility is good and that you are not caught unprepared. Now there are even pet-proof lights that won’t send a false alarm just because your cat came back from its daily adventures. So they make for a good security option.
13. Keyless Door Lock
Picking up keyless locks or using a bump key are some of the most common ways to facilitate unauthorized entry without raising the alarm. A keyless door lock is perfect for avoiding this scenario as well as is easy to install and use. It not only secures the door but also decreases the possibility of a break-in by a lot.
I mean, there are unaccountable cases where the burglar didn’t need to do much and could easily enter the property because they found the ‘spare key’ hidden at an obvious place. With a keyless door lock, the probability of such incidences become close to none. Just lock and unlock the door with a simple movement, and because these keyless door locks are durable enough, they don’t give in easily to force.
14. Horizontal Door Security Bar
Another simple way to secure a door is to install a horizontal security bar. The bar rests on the two L-shaped screws or studs on the door jammer and is mostly made of steel. But it doesn’t weigh much and can easily be placed in front of the door or removed when you need to open it.
The door supported by this sturdy bar becomes less likely to be kicked off. And because it’s easy to install and use these horizontal door jammer security bars, they are no doubt one of the best ways to reinforce the security of your front door.
15. Reinforce the Glass in Your Door
Glass windows on doors look pretty, no doubt, but more often than not, they make it easier for someone to break and enter. Your door is sturdy with a number of precautions in line, but if the glass window on your front door is left as it is, it’s no different than Achilles’ Heel.
So the best way to tackle this is to reinforce the glass in your front door if you have one. I mean, it’s always better not to take such risks, but I understand that a lot of people like the look and the visibility it provides. So as long as you make sure to secure the window, it’s all good.
You can do it in two ways, either installing steel bars on the window or by using laminated/tempered glass. You can also use a security window film to make the windows secure and decrease the chances of someone breaking the window to access the locks from inside.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we have seen all the points and approaches, it’s time to answer some of the common questions straight up!
How Can I Make My Front Door More Secure?
Any of the 15 points mentioned in this article can help you in amping up your front door security. But to be more precise, you can:
- Reinforce your door through quality deadbolt, strike plates, hinge and jamb shields, and keyless door locks.
- The sturdier and of solid core the material of your front door is, the better!
- Don’t forget to always go for longer screws. The standard 1 ½ inch screws are much less secure than a 3 ½ inch one.
- Things like horizontal door security bars and door barricades are easy to install and use while providing additional door security.
How do I Protect My Front Door From Burglars?
The front door is your main line of defense against burglars, but they are not the first ones as such. There are a number of ways to deter burglars from trying anything before they even reach the door! I mean, who would want to incur extra expenses in getting their doors fixed?
So here is what you can do to protect the front door that protects you:
- A well-lit porch and yard or motion sensor lights can work wonders. A brighter area is more likely to discourage a burglar than an obviously darker one.
- Reinforced windows or ones with security films can also deter a burglar because it shows that you have safety measures in place, and no one really wants to put an effort when less likely to succeed… especially when sneaking around.
- Security cameras work like magic in discouraging any suspicious or dangerous behavior. The chances of being caught in the act make people more cautious about approaching the area. Even fake security cameras work as long as they look real enough! Just knowing the fact that their actions aren’t unnoticed is a big deterrent for not only burglars but any other suspicious individuals.
- Having dogs around the house can help too. No one wants to take unnecessary risks, after all.
How do I Secure My Apartment Door?
Apartment doors aren’t that different from front doors at regular houses. If anything, they are easier to secure because they are less likely to provide an opening (like glass windows) to the burglars, given the residents are careful, of course.
- A strike plate lock works best when it comes to apartment doors, as they are more secure than standard door chains.
- Consider going for a keypad based lock system. It is a safer choice when it comes to apartment doors.
- Wide-angle peepholes too, or video doorbells, work with apartment doors.
- You can also install a door barricade if you want, but a horizontal security bar works best with limited space.
- And of course, the almighty deadbolts and screws (remember 3 ½ inches) that won’t give in with just a bit of force. Securing doors is easy; one just needs to be a bit more aware and somewhat creative.
Some Other Points to Remember
- The springs on your locks must be tested every once in a while. With time, these springs responsible for making the system work might wear out. So keeping a check on them regularly and replacing when needed is also important.
- When it comes to locks, it is a wise choice to rekey them every once in a while. Replacing the key layout of your door makes it more secure.
- You can also add reinforcing bars to the lock of your door for extra protection.
- And finally, if you have a screen door, make sure to reinforce it too. A security screen, which is actually a metal barrier that is pierced and has extra space for locks, acts as an additional defense when dealing with break-ins. So you can consider getting one installed to secure a door or two.
And that’s it! These are the best ways to make your front door secure that are easy to implement, and mostly, cost-effective. As for the ones that might put a little burden on your wallet, there is just one thing to remember –
“Safety isn’t expensive, it’s priceless” – Jerry Smith
The thing that we need to remember is that as long as we take a bit of initiative to address our issues and potential problems, with just a little more vigilance and awareness, we can create a safer environment not just for ourselves, but others around as well.
So take your time to think over all that is discussed here and implement whatever you can…
… “At the end of the day, the goals are simple: Safety and Security”- Jodi Rell.