What’s the best door for security? Honestly, the door is almost secondary, because it’s the wood jamb, or frame, that typically breaks first. A steel jamb is an absolute must.
The best pragmatic choice? A true steel door with metal edges, and with the metal face welded onto the edges. No, they’re usually not pretty: it’s a commercial product with few aesthetic choices.
But here is a caveat with steel or steel-clad door: beware if it faces south or west. I heard of a toddler who suffered terrible burns after running to the front door of a townhouse late one hot summer afternoon and placing both hands and her forehead against the blistering hot metal. Be sure that the entry is covered by a porch or deep overhang for shade to prevent the buildup of heat.
Other than steel doors, the most secure are solid core doors, which are solid all the way through, even though the guts are usually compressed wood particles like particleboard.
When kicked, metal doors tend to bend and hold the bend. Wood doors are resilient and spring back. Real wood, frame and panel doors are usually sturdy, though the thinner panels can be busted out. The lock area should be reinforced with a steel door shield that wraps the edge to prevent breakage.
But even that wood door can be vulnerable. In one case where the burglar was unable to open the door, he broke out the wood panel, gained entrance through that, and was able to pass the flat screen TV through that narrow hole. He must have been a skinny crook.
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.