The recent epidemic of burglaries in Decatur reminds me that, according to the FBI, 70 percent of uninvited bad guys gain access by kicking in the door. It’s easy because less than one inch of soft wood in the doorjamb holds the deadbolt. Even with good locks, the force shatters the wood.
Briefly, there are four choices for adding security to residential doors:
(1) The wrought iron security door, which I call a burglar bar door. It does the job well, but many people object to its jail-like appearance.
(2) Steel reinforcing hardware that sheaths the door jamb and armors the lock area of the door slab itself. It prevents kick-ins and allows lawful ingress. I’ve been a handyman for a long time, and of everything I’ve seen, I am most impressed with this unobtrusive steel door-jamb-reinforcing hardware that is guaranteed to prevent door kick-ins. These are long (4 to 5 feet), powder-coated white, steel plates that attach to the doorframe with long screws that anchor them solidly into the wall studs. They have holes that receive the deadbolt and knob latch, thus reinforcing both with steel instead of wood. The Door Shield is vital for a fiberglass door. There are at least 4 variations on the same theme: Door Jamb Armor, Strikemaster, Door Sentinel, and Jamb Enforcer.
A handy do-it-yourselfer who also understands alarm sensors and too-tight cracks can purchase the materials at hardware stores, from the manufacturers, or from me. Professional installation ranges from $240 for a single door to $400 for double doors.
(3) The security storm door, with full length safety glass and three point locking. The door prevents illegal entry, plus you get the weatherproofing of a storm door. Larson’s Secure Elegance is the most well known.
(4) There are a number of devices that attach firmly to the floor or walls and block the door from swinging inward, but these are useful only when you are inside the house. You cannot enter through the door when they are in place. These include Nightlock, Door Guardian, OnGARD Door Brace, and Door Chucky.
Remember that the quality of your deadbolt is a critical component for doorway security. Most houses have the run-of-the-mill Grade 3 locks, which will readily break if the jamb doesn’t give way first. Grade 2 or Grade 1 deadbolts are sturdier.
The Entry Enforcer can help homeowners evaluate their security options for doors, double doors, windows, and deadbolts and can provide any product mentioned. (404)289-6960. Duncan@EntryEnforcer.com.
Duncan Cottrell, The Entry Enforcer, is a home improvement technician specializing in Home Intrusion Prevention. He offers door and window reinforcing, free home security assessments, and answers questions at Duncan@EntryEnforcer.com or (404)289-6960.