Security Door Locks and Hardware
Take Stock Of Your Security Door Locks
A solid frame is a good starting point but only the beginning. Surprisingly, standard security door locks and hardware offer very little security. But, with a few modifications, you can make your door locks and hardware stand up to a forced entry.
Door strike plates are not designed with security in mind. Whether they’re for your door locks or your deadbolts, they are inherently weak, usually only a couple of inches high and fastened to the frame with very small screws. One solid kick and the frame will simply split.
Higher security strike plates, which are very inexpensive, are available at home improvement stores. Look for one that’s at least 3 ½” long, 1/8” thick and has 4 off-set screw holes. Screws should be long enough to penetrate the studs behind the door frame, usually a minimum of 3 ½” long.
Once you have a solid strike plate, any force will be absorbed by the security door locks and the door itself. The wooden edges of the door can be easily split so consider using an escutcheon plate that wraps around the door at the door locks and dead bolt locks. These plates should be mounted with carriage bolts that go through the door.
Door hinges should always be mounted on the inside of the door. If you have an out-swing door with hinges on the outside, one of the screws on each hinge should be replaced with a locking pin to prevent removal.
Conventional screws in door hinges should be replaced with longer screws (at least 31/2”) that penetrate the studs behind the door frame.
Quality Security Door Locks
Standard door locks are very weak and should be replaced with high security locks that resist being picked and have a longer throw. Each exterior door should also have deadbolt door locks with:
- Pick and drill resistant cylinder
- Hardened steel bolt at least 1” long
- Twist-resistant cylinder guard
There are situations where conventional deadbolts cannot be used. A window beside the door may prevent properly reinforcing the frame or strike. In these cases, it may be more advisable to install vertical drop deadbolt door locks at the top of the door.