A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.
Posted On by Ralph Goodman
It is important for everyone to find the best way to secure a door because they are likely to be the most important part of your home’s security. There are many things to consider about your door’s security, including how you use it, how many other people use it, and the amount of risk the property is currently facing. If you are looking for better security while living alone, you may feel you are more vulnerable to burglary because so few people visit the home. But if you live with a large group of people, access control and convenience may need to be balanced with new security. Regardless of your situation, your doors play a tremendous role in your home security.
One of the most important parts of finding the best way to secure a door is knowing the risks you are hoping to avoid. You should complete a home security risk assessment to get a sense of your current level of protection, as well as anticipate the types of threats your home may be most vulnerable to. If you do not put forth the effort to determine the specifics of your security needs, then you are among the many people who don’t really care about security. Do not make a change without knowing why you are making it. This will prevent you from expending unnecessary effort, and make you feel as though what you are doing matters. Here are the main things you should consider when you are looking for the best way to secure a door.
Kicking/Ramming – One of the most popular types of forced entry are kicking or ramming attacks. These are brute force methods that anyone can use, with their feet, a battering ram, or a shoulder strike. This type of force will likely compromise the siding of the door and rip the strike plate off of the doorframe. The hinges can also be compromised by battering rams. Kicks can also break the door itself if the door is weaker than the hinges and the strike. It is essential that the best way to secure a door include some way to thwart these types of attacks, as they are the most likely threat any door will face.
Bypassing – To bypass a secure door means that there is a flaw, which allows you to open the door without having to apply much force at all. Think of a bypass as methods that out think the security. For example, moving a tool into the gap at the bottom of a door to actuate the lock from the inside. The most popular example of bypassing doors is the credit card method. This has more to do with how the door lock is used than anything else. Even if you have found the best way to secure a door, you can undercut the security by only using the spring-loaded latch bolt on the lock handle.
Drilling – There are several ways that a criminal might choose to attack a lock, but drilling is the most universally effective, and only requires a tool that is readily available to most people. They will either drill the core, if they have no experience working with locks, or perhaps they will more deftly attack standard drill points. The most advanced criminal will know the drill points for your specific lock, but that level of expertise is extremely rare. More than likely the sound of these attacks are obscured so they are less apparent, but if the lock is too hard to drill, the prevailing grinding sound of metal on metal is likely to attract some attention.
Cutting – Most cutting attacks are focused on the throw of the deadbolt. This is the length of metal that your lock extends into the strike plate. On the cheap locks that you will find at hardware stores, cutting can be done extremely fast, even with just a hand saw. The success of this attack depends on the metal content of your lock’s bolt and the gap between the door and the frame. An extremely tight gap and/or a hardened metal throw will be what you need to deflect this type of attack.
Picking – Lock picking is an unpopular method for criminals to use, but it is still important to consider your lock’s pick resistance. You cannot talk about the best way to secure a door without taking into account the vulnerability to the most widely discussed form of covert entry. All locks can be picked, hypothetically speaking, but there are locks out there that are extremely difficult to pick open or locks that have not been picked yet. It is incredibly hard to tell when your door has been picked open. You are likely to need a forensic locksmith if you do not already know that your lock is nigh unpickable.
Bumping – More common than picking, criminals will use bump keys, which require less craft and experience to use effectively. The best way to secure a door and protect a door from lock bumping require knowledge of how lock bumping works. Essentially, a standard pin tumbler key is cut so that every groove is at its maximum depth. This requires the bump key to be made for your particular lock (which it likely will be, unless you have a lock with a high-security lock with a restricted keyway).
Now that you know the threats, it is time to work on lessening your vulnerabilities. To achieve the best way to secure a door you need to use a mixture several precautions. The exact blend and focus of your security depend on your particular needs, but here are some things that you should consider about the best way to secure a door.
The first thing that any homeowner should do is replace the screws they are using on their strike plate and door hinges. Chances are the door is using three quarter inch screws that are only biting into the trim around the frame. This weak bond is what allows kicking and ramming attacks to be so successful. And by simply replacing these with three-inch screws, or adding more screws that are three-inches in length, you will be having these parts of the door grip into the stud of the door frame.
This is certainly the best way to secure a door in terms of the simplicity of the task, price of parts, and how much security it adds. It is shocking the amount of protection something this simple will achieve. The strike is certainly the most important part to secure, and just adding screws to it will add immense strength to the door. However, if you only secure the strike plate (which is the most likely place to compromise on the door during a battering attack), the hinges are likely to break off the door frame (if the door does not splinter and break first).
You cannot talk about the best way to secure a door without talking about the door itself. As was mentioned above, with the strike plate and hinges secured, it is actually more likely that the wood of the door will break than anything else. A hole is likely to be made either large enough to enter the building, or at least reach through to attempt to open the lock. It is important that you are using a solid core door for any entrance point that you are looking to secure. One of the ways to know if your door is strong is to feel the weight of it. The lighter the door, the more likely that it is not solidly constructed.
The best way to secure a door while focusing on door construction is to look into getting a door that uses an iron or even a steel core. These doors have metal at their center to keep anyone from easily puncturing holes with bashing attacks. A door with metal content will be able to withstand more abuse than almost any hardwood door. If you are extremely worried about preventing entry based on kicking, metal cores are the likely answer for you. At the very least, you should have a solid core wooden door. Hollow core composite doors (intended for interior/nonsecurity doors) should not be used, as they are far from the best way to secure a door.
No matter your door’s construction it will be compromised in certain places by necessity. If you have already secured the door hinges and the strike plate, the next weakness not addressed by the door’s construction is the lock hardware. The best way to secure a door must contain some way of protecting the weaknesses made by boring holes in the door. Often these holes include two 2 and an eighth outward facing holes, which will fit the door handle and deadbolt. There will also be a corresponding cross bored hole with a one-inch diameter extending either two and three eighths or two and three-fourths inches back to the outward facing hole.
With all of that missing material, it is possible for the door to be targeted at these specific locations. These parts of the door will be easier to overwhelm because of the absent substance. The best way to secure a door compromised in this way is with a slipcover that is fastened into place underneath or around the lock hardware. This additional metal content protects the more fragile pathways between holes. The cheapest hardware covers are often made of brass, which is a softer metal. Better alternatives include iron and stainless steel.
A high-security lock is going to offer a variety of protections. It is the best way to secure a door against surreptitious and covert entry methods. As long as you are choosing from trusted door lock brands and choosing one of their high-security products, you will be on the right path to secure your door. Understand that security comes from the deadbolt and not the door handle (even if it has a keyed lock). So make sure that your deadbolt can withstand the appropriate amount of force. The strength of the lock, in this instance, comes from the type of metal it is made from, and how much metal is used. Even if the lock uses hardened steel, it may be largely hollow (meaning that has more empty space than metal), so it will not be as strong a thicker locks.
If you are looking to upgrade your locks to smart locks, it is important to know the differences between smart locks and traditional locks. The key always comes down to knowing if you are using the wrong lock for a particular door. But as long as you are using the right lock, all you need to be cautious about selecting is a lock with picking resistance (which will translate into bump key resistance) and hardened metal construction (which will result in cutting, drilling, and kicking resistance). With these characteristics present in your selected lock, you will have a lock that provides the best way to secure a door.
Along with increasing the length of the screws that fasten the strike plate to the door frame, you can also improve the strike plate itself. A longer strike plate will disperse the energy of a bludgeoning brute force attack throughout the length of the door jamb. It should be used to build off the first best way to secure a door, but by using a longer strike, you are increasing the number of screws that binding the plate to the frame. By using screws throughout the frame, you are also spreading out the impact of a strike so that the force is spread out and not consolidated to one location.
The best way to secure a door with an improved strike does not end there because you can still improve the metal. With stronger steel, it is less likely that the strike plate will be bent out of shape or even distressed to the point of breaking. The more slams the metal can withstand, the better, and harder material will assist this greatly.
The best way to secure a door does not end with simply keeping an attack from being successful. In fact, protection can begin before the criminal even approaches the door. Something like a security camera has the potential to discourage any attack before it takes place. If the crime cannot be prevented before it takes place, a security camera with an alert notification protocol may allow you to respond to the event. This will mean the thief does not have the time required to work their way through the many different ways you have chosen to secure your door.
Just be sure to look into some of the things you should know before buying a security camera. You should then find the best security camera for your needs. This could also be a smart doorbell enabled with a video camera. The main thing that you are looking for is documentation and notification. You want to be able to know who this criminal is even if they do not successfully enter the home because sometimes the best way to secure a door is to get the people that would try to rob you off of the streets.
As far as the best way to secure a door, what is better than adding another door in front of that first door? A security screen uses perforated metal to make a semi-permeable boundary. It serves as a more secure peephole and allows you to see everything on the other side of a door without opening yourself up to harm or home invasion. It also gives you the opportunity to install a second set of locks. You can potentially repeat every single best way to secure a door again with this secondary door.
This is a great tool if you are worried about attacks while you are opening the door, but it also protects the home better while you are away. If someone is looking to get inside the building through a door protected in this way, they will have to get through the door behind that door as well. Much like a camera, the mere existence of security screen may discourage certain types of criminals from even approaching the home. It sends a very bold message that you take your door security seriously. It might not be the best way to secure a door if you care about the aesthetic of your home, but there are different designs that attempt to be visually pleasing.
The more visible your doors are to the public, the higher the chance of someone in your community stepping in or contacting the authorities when your door is being attacked. Even the best way to secure a door is never going to be flawless. You are buying time with these protections, so making it easy for other to intervene is imperative. In terms of the best ways to increase visibility, good lighting is extremely important, as is a properly maintained garden. You do not want to have an excess of darkness or places to hide around your door.
Another large consideration is your gate or fence. Gate security can add another layer to your door security, but if the fence obscures your home, it is actually giving any criminal cover so that they have privacy as they attempt to undermine the security of your door. It is good to have borders that do not obscure your home to the point where no one can see your front door. Giving criminals that amount of cover can undermine even the best way to secure a door.
In terms of the best way to secure a door, many experts and news publications suggest the use of interior door locking/securing products. This is a great addition when you are using other security precautions. However, these methods of door security act by keeping the door in place from inside the home. They cannot be removed from the outside, as this would defeat their purpose. As a result of their function, these types of products can only be used effectively when someone is inside the home.
If you are not using a door for primary access to the building, then you may be able to get away with leaving the home attended with this type of security in place. It is certainly among the best ways to secure a door, but it is not simply the best way to secure a door because using it on all of your doors is impossible when you are leaving your home unattended. This type of protection is not consistently usable, and as your home is most likely to be burgled when you are not there, this method is not universally effective.
It has already been mentioned that the best way to secure a door has to be about more than passive protection. You certainly need to have sturdy protection methods that work when there is no one around, but something like a monitored alarm system makes sure that there will be a response to a detected threat to your front door. It is best to have an alarm to detect tampering and not simply opening. In order to be considered the best way to secure a door, they need to actually secure the door on the front end, and not just send a message the door’s security has failed.
Some people think that perhaps a dog is better than a security system, but that is a separate consideration. If you are looking at a monitored alarm, you need it to contact the relevant parties who are prepared to intervene. The response rate for the contacted parties needs to be within a timeframe that matches the projected time taken to enter your home. The response time should never exceed the projected time for entry into the home and the average length of a burglary.
A very common method that even the best way to secure a door is circumvented is by breaking a window or glass that is next to the door. You can use the appropriate locks for door around window glass, but you can also protect the glass itself. This is most often done with metal bars that are tight enough to prevent arm access, so the glass cannot be broken to the point where a criminal can reach into the home and unlock the door. However, security bars on windows are not always effective, nor are they always desired due to their appearance.
The best way to secure a door by strengthening windows is to use security film. This plastic can be applied like window tint and keeps the glass from shattering even when there is a puncture. It keeps the door secure from both sides.
It is always important to determine whether or not you should handle security upgrades yourself. Sometimes the best way to secure a door is to choose the right locksmith. They can conduct the needed risk assessments and tell you the type of protections you need. You can talk with them about your concerns and the types of things you are hoping to prevent with your door security.
There are also many reasons to hire a locksmith to change locks, one of which is that if any of these things are done wrong, you may not know until it is too late. Something cannot be the best way to secure a door if it is done wrong. Improper installation is the most common downfall of great door security, along with misuse. And misuse can also be averted if you have a professional on hand to educate you about how to get the most out of your door’s security precautions.
With this information, you should have no trouble finding the best way to secure a door. Between all of these methods, your front door will become a fortress beyond the breaching skills of even the best criminals. And it is important that you take the steps to stay safe from criminals. Protect your property, and everything and everyone, in it. That security starts with implementing the best way to secure a door. Start improving your home security today.