Home Security Help: 4 Tips for Stronger Exterior Doors

When it comes to home security, your home's exterior doors can be a shield of armor or a weak link, depending upon their condition. If you think your entry doors could use some beefing up, check out these tips to make exterior doors stronger and more secure.

Install High-Security Strike Plates

The strike plate in a door is often the most vulnerable part of the entire door area, but high-security strike plates can greatly strengthen this weak spot. With three-inch screws to secure the strike plate to the door, as well as steel rods that go all the way into the wall stud, the best high-security strike plates are a tough match for a burglar's force.

Replace Hinge Screws

Perhaps the cheapest way to beef up an exterior door, replacing regular hinge screws with longer versions can help deter burglars just as effectively as a strong door or deadbolt. For screws that go from the hinge into the door, choose two inch screws. For the screws that go from the hinge into the door frame, three inches is a good length.

Reinforce Door Frames

No matter how strong the door or how powerful the lock, if the door frame around an exterior door is flimsy, it won't be much of a match against an intruder. Gaps in the door frame give burglars the opportunity to use a pry bar to force the door open. If there's more than a 1/16 inch gap in the door frame, or if the door frame moves at all when pressure is applied, then it may be a smart idea to reinforce the frame.

Doing so requires removing the trim and interior molding, and inserting wooden blocks at several points into the gaps between the door frame and the house wall framing. If you don't feel completely comfortable taking on this task yourself, enlist professional help.

Choose Sturdy Locks

While it seems like a no-brainer, a sturdy lock is a vital component of door security. Invest in a deadbolt, because simple key locks are easy targets for burglars. Be aware that all deadbolt locks are not created equal. A grade one or grade two deadbolt should offer strong protection.

Most importantly, don't forget to use the security you've put into place. Studies show that more burglars enter the home through unlocked doors and windows than through any more forceful method. Be sure to lock doors and windows, even if you're just running out for a cup of coffee. Practice careful home security and rest easy knowing you're doing your best to protect your home and family.

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