An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Better safe than sorry.
And so on…
You’ve probably heard all these trite sayings before, and they stick around for a simple reason: it really is better to be prepared.
One of the things most people are afraid of is burglaries. There are very few ideas more frightening than having a stranger enter your home and take all of your valuables.
Most people already have a basic idea of the necessary steps to deter break-ins: close their windows, check their alarms, etc. But were you aware that approximately 70% of burglars enter the house through a normal door? This is something people don’t expect, especially when you consider that doors are solid and sturdy in comparison to the fragile glass of windows.
If you find that you care even a bit about protecting your house, now’s the moment to learn how to reinforce a door so that you can keep your property—and your family—safe and sound.
Get a Solid Door
There’s no simpler way to put it: your door needs to be kick-proof. Usually, a solid wood door is the best option, but there are other options, like metal or fiberglass.
With either metal or fiberglass, check to ensure they’re properly reinforced and have a lock block. Believe it or not, a very common break-in tool is a car jack, but these reinforcements will protect against such an invasion.
The best option overall you can have is a reinforced steel door that will stand most things, but you have to take extra care of them to avoid having rust build up.
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Having a small window on your door brings some light into your entrance and looks inviting for all the guests coming to your house, but is also a vulnerability burglar can exploit to easily break into your home.
Having a window that’s located at arm’s reach from your lock means that any person can just smash the glass the unlock the door by reaching through the window. If you’re getting a new door, try and pick one that does not have a window. If you’ve really attached to you a windowed door, or already have a one installed in your house, you can take some extra measures for the safety of all your loved ones (and yourself!).
One of these is choosing reinforced glass that won’t break easily, or getting some decorative or metal bars to reinforce the window. Your last option depends on whether or not it violates the fire code in your area, but you can also install another lock closer to the ground at about waist height, away from hand’s reach.
Go Deadbolt or Go Home
You could have a reinforced steel door that is impervious to bullets, and it wouldn’t matter at all if someone can still kick it in and break the lock. If the lock doesn’t dig into the frame deeply it will still leave you vulnerable to a determined criminal.
Get a good deadbolt for your door, ideally from a trusted brand in home security, and avoid buying the cheap alternatives that won’t last. If you want to, you can also use chain locks, but they should never substitute a good deadbolt. Assuming you decide to use a chain lock, make sure they’re attached firmly with strong screws.
Install Secondary Protection
There’s still more you can do with deadbolts for your safety, such as installing another one that is just one-sided. These kinds of deadbolts cannot be accessed from the outside, meaning you’ll only be able to use them when you’re home.
The advantage is that they’re practically impossible for your standard burglar to breach. Having one of these will make sure that the time you spend with your loved ones, or the time you just want to spend sleeping, will never be interrupted by a home invasion.
Secure Your Door Frame
No matter how strong your door might actually be, getting a swift kick into a weak frame or door jamb will leave your home breached in an instant. The good news is that there are steps you can take to secure your frame and jamb.
Avoid using the common paper thin strike plates, and try to install a box strike (this is a kind of pocket made of steel that receives the bolt of your lock). For this, you can add 3″ screws that will penetrate your wall studs and not just your door jamb.
You also want to take the time to reinforce your jamb by using galvanized steel that will be able to withstand kicks, shoulders, or any other attempt that someone will make to break into your house. If you aren’t particularly handy, this is the sort of job you can hire a home security professional to take on.
Don’t Neglect Your Sliding Doors
While most burglars will just see a sliding glass door as an invitation to break into the house, there are various security measures you can take to make sure that the entry point is going to be safe.
The first step you are to ensure that the doors are constructed of a strong material, like plastic (for example a polycarbonate) and reinforced glass—not just flimsy, thin, simple glass.
You can also prevent the doors from being able to slide with a metal or wooden dowel. Just place it in the track when the door is closed, and make sure that the rod is not much shorter than the track. It should just barely fit well enough to lie flat. That way you can prevent the doors from being opened with force.
The Final Defense: Alarm Systems
Finally, to ensure maximum safety in the unlikely event that an invader makes it through your defenses, you should work with a licensed alarm company. Get them to install either vibration sensors or motion sensors that will activate an alarm if the doors or windows are broken. Then, if all else fails, you’ll still know that help is on the way.