How To Secure A Door From Being Kicked In (4 Ways To Do It!)
Your house should be a place where you feel comfortable and safe, which you always want to come home to. Therefore, you don’t want your entry points to be an easy target for burglars and vandals. After all, one kicked-in door is all it takes to make you feel unsafe in your own home.
Luckily, you can do several things to help prevent someone from kicking in your door. Replacing the deadbolt, strike plate, and hinges is a big plus, as is reinforcing your door frame and jamb. You can also install a security bar, and in some cases, it might be best to consider a new door.
How To Secure A Door From Being Kicked In
Hopefully, you aren’t trying to reinforce your door because you’ve already experienced a break-in. However, whether you’re keeping history from repeating itself or taking preventative measures, these tips will keep your door secure.
Method 1: Replace the Deadbolt and Strike Plate
Cheap, flimsy deadbolts and strike plates might feel good on your wallet, but they’re a cinch for thieves to bypass. It’s worth paying more money for a high-quality grade-one deadbolt. Typically, these locks cost about $30 to $60, depending on the brand and finish.
To put things in perspective, grade-one deadbolts withstand roughly 360 pounds, compared to grade-three locks that only handle about 150. Additionally, replace your strike plate with a steel-constructed box strike.
These strike plates feature a cup that the bolt slides into, instead of just a hole. Also, typically, many new strike plates come with short screws. If this is the case with yours, replace the screws with some 2 ½” ones. Note: If the screws you removed were shorter, use a drill to make deeper pilot holes for the longer screws.
Box strikes offer increased security and make it much harder for anyone to kick in your door. Plus, you can purchase one on Amazon for about $6.
Method 2: Reinforce the Door Frame and Door Jamb
Purchase a ready-made kit to reinforce your door frame. You can find these on Amazon or in hardware stores for about $80 to $100. Basically, the kit consists of metal strips you install onto the door jamb. Follow your kit’s accompanying instructions to install the shields.
Method 3: Install a Security Lock or Security Bar
Security locks and bars help reinforce your door from the inside, and you can usually install them relatively quickly. You can purchase a security lock for about $40. Typically, these locks have one part that attaches to your floor and the other to your door.
You simply slide the bar into place to reinforce your door from the inside. Follow the instructions that come with the particular lock for proper installation. These types of reinforcements can help give you extra peace of mind when you’re home alone or sleeping.
You can also install a horizontal security bar, which costs about $20 to $30. Install two lag bolts into the studs on either side of the door frame.
Note: Do NOT install the bolts into the door frame. If a burglar tries to kick in the door and breaks the frame structure, the bolts are rendered useless.
With the lag bolts in place, you can slide the horizontal security bar’s slots over the bolts. Another option is a security bar that fits below the doorknob and extends to the floor. You can purchase one of these for about $35.
Method 4: Reinforce the Door Hinges
You can quickly reinforce your hinges by swapping out the screws for longer ones and adding hinge bolts. When switching out screws, do one at a time to avoid the hinge sliding out of position.
How to Install Hinge Bolts in a Door
Hinge bolts are mostly for doors that swing outwards; they add extra reinforcement. Otherwise, a clever crook could simply dismantle your hinges from the outside and open your door from the hinge side.
Place hinge bolts above and below each door hinge. Typically, you need 4 to 6 hinge bolts per door. Although, you can also install one above or below the top hinge and one above or below the bottom hinge. You can buy sets of hinge bolts for about $5 to $7 and easily install them yourself.
Tools You Need for the Job:
- Drill bit that matches the hinge bolt diameter
- Utility knife
- Screwdriver that fits the bolt plate screws
Step One: Mark the Positions for the Hinge Bolts and Hinge Bolt Plates
Locate your door hinges (on your door) and use a pencil to mark holes above and below each one. At the very least, if only using two bolts, mark either above or below the top and bottom hinges. These spots will be where you install your hinge bolts.
On the door frame, position the bolt plate, centering the hole with the mark you made for the bolt. Use a pencil to mark the top and bottom positions of the hinge bolt plate. Hold the plate in place and score around it with a utility knife.
Step Two: Drill Holes
Now that you’ve made your marks, use the proper-size drill bit and drill to make the holes for the bolts. Drill into each pencil mark you made for each bolt on the door. Then, drill through the center holes you made on the door frame (this is where the bolts will slide in).
Step Three: Install the Bolts and Bolt Plates
Hammer the ribbed side of the bolt into the hole you made in the door. Repeat for each bolt. Make sure the smooth side stays exposed. Chisel out the area you scored on the door frame in order to fit the bolt plate. Ensure you do this slowly; don’t chisel too much. You only want to do just enough for the plate to sit flush.
Then put the plate into position and screw it into place. Repeat for all of the hinge bolt plates. Finally, open and close your door a few times to make sure everything lines up well.
Is Your Door Strong Enough?
Of course, it’s essential to ensure you have a strong door to avoid a potential kick-in. Exterior doors should be solid-core. Hollow-core doors, which are less expensive, are best for interior applications.
Hardwood Doors Are Durable
Hardwood doors are a great choice and can be worth the extra expense for your peace of mind and safety. They come in a selection of woods, varying in strength, so go with the strongest material that you can afford. The stronger the wood, the less likely your door will split or crack under repeated kicks or abuse.
Steel Doors Provide the Ultimate Security
Metal doors provide super-duty durability, especially if you select one that can withstand hurricanes or similarly strong winds. Steel doors come in several styles and options and are very affordable considering the excellent security they provide.
Fiberglass Doors: Go with High-Quality
Although not as strong as steel doors, fiberglass doors also provide decent security. They also come in a variety of styles and designs to match any aesthetic. However, depending on the door quality, a determined thief could potentially get them to crack or break.
Therefore, ensure you go with a high-quality option if you opt for a fiberglass door.
Glass Doors Need Extra Protection
It might go without saying, but if you have a glass door, it can break. If you are worried about safety, you can install a security grill over the door. There are also films you can purchase, so the glass won’t shatter if someone tries to break the door.
No matter what style door you go with, ensure you install a high-quality, grade-one deadbolt. Also, incorporate some of the other tips mentioned above. The idea is to make your entry so challenging, the thief gives up and moves on.
What are some ways to avoid a door kick-in that doesn’t involve the door?
One of the best ways to avoid a door kick-in is to make your home a risky target. Burglars usually select a home that presents little challenge. In other words, it’s dark, hard to see from the street, and doesn’t have cameras.Therefore, ensure you have good exterior lighting around your home. Obviously, you don’t want to keep your lights on all of the time, so consider motion-activated lights. If a crook walks up to your home and suddenly lights come on, he’s likely to keep moving. As for bold thieves that sneak about during the day, cameras are a good deterrent. At least, they provide you with some evidence to find the culprit if he succeeds. You can also get a product like the Ring doorbell, which provides a camera, motion-alerts, and more.Making sure your entryways are highly visible is also a good idea. If a burglar is fiddling with your lock, he doesn’t want to be out in the open. Therefore, trim bushes and trees, and move any other obstacles that block sightlines to your door.
Are smart locks more secure?
Smart locks aren’t necessarily more secure than traditional locks, but they do provide more convenience. Similar to regular locks, a lot depends on the quality of the lock you purchase. You get what you pay for, after all. Therefore, look for a smart lock that is highly-rated for security. Don’t get caught up in all of the unique features and bells and whistles. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that you only need to worry about physical threats with a traditional lock. Conversely, with a smart lock, an extremely determined thief could potentially hack it. Although, that is highly unlikely since burglars typically want fast, easy access to their targets.
Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.
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