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Home Security and Doors

Home > Home Security > Home Security and Doors

Doors.  The front door, back door, and garage door are the favorite methods of entry for burglars.  The garage door is usually the weakest, then the back door, and finally the front door.  All exterior doors should be metal or solid wood.  The doors should have the hinge pins on the inside.  A peep-hole or door viewer should be in the door so you can see who is knocking at the door without opening the door.

"Door System".  The door itself should be considered as one component of the "Door System".  The door system is only as strong as the weakest component, whether that be the hinges, walls, framework, or the door itself.  Components of the door system consists of the walls, frame, locking mechanisms, door, hinges, and alarms.

Door Construction.  A steel door with no windows is an excellent choice of door when security is a primary consideration.  If not a steel or metal door then you should install a solid wood door; consider a hardwood door 1 3/4 inch thick.

Locks for Doors.  All external doors should have sturdy key-activated, deadbolt locks made of hardened steel shafts.  These should have at least a 1 1/2" bolt into a metal or solid wooden door jamb.  This dead bolt should be in addition to the existing door knob lock.  Door locks should have reinforced frames to support them.  The standard door and door lock can be easily "kicked in" or breached with common hardware store tools.  Screws holding a strike plate should extend 3" or longer into the wall stud.  Doors should have an escutcheon plate to reinforce the locking mechanism.

Door Chains.  These are not security devices as they break easily and won't keep out a determined intruder.  At best, they are a psychological deterrent.

Keys and Locks.  When moving into a new home or apartment, ensure you have the locks changed out by a locksmith.  Don't hide keys in mailboxes, under door mats, or any other place that burglars will know to look.  Leave a spare key with a trusted neighbor.  For more information on locks and locksmiths click here.

Doors with Glass Panes.  Glass in a door or on either or both sides of the door look attractive but can be easily smashed to gain entry.  Burglar-resistant glazing should be applied.

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Door Hinges.  Door hinges can be a weak area of a door.  If the hinges are exposed they should have pins to prevent removal of the door from the frame or lockscrews to prevent hinge removal.  It is best if the hinge pin is protected from the outside.

Sliding Glass Doors.  These should be secured with locks (commercially available).  Most common standard with latches and will need to be switched out for locks.  Use a broom stick or wooden dowel in the bottom track to secure the door from opening; or use a device called a "charley bar".  You can drill a hole in the sliding door frame and into the fixed frame in order to insert a pin to secure the sliding glass door.  Patio doors can be easily lifted out of their sliding tracks - so holes and pin inserts should be drilled to prevent this vulnerability.

Wide-angle Peepholes or Optical Viewer.  Your front and back door should have peepholes to look through so you can verify who is at your door before opening it.  Ensure it is wide-angle (160 degrees).

Door Area Lighting.  Install proper lighting near the outside of all doors to your dwelling.  If you don't want the light to stay on night you can have motion sensors or light sensors that will automatically turn the lights on and off.

Door Entry Intercom.  A audio and/or video door intercom system will allow you to view and speak with whoever is at your front door without opening the door.  This will provide you with a margin of safety when receiving deliveries or greeting unexpected visitors.  For more information on door intercom systems click here.

CCTV Cameras at Doorways.  An overt or covert CCTV camera can be installed at all doors.  An overt camera is a psychological deterrent.  A covert one could help identify burglars who do attempt to gain entry.

Security Alarm Sensors for Doors.  Doors can be alarmed so that when opened an alarm will go off (unless the alarm is turned off with a keypad entry).  In addition, motion detectors can be installed that will prompt an audible local alarm to warn those in the residence as well as to scare off the intruder.  These door alarms may also be tied into a signal that is sent to a local security alarm monitoring service.  The sensors mounted at entrances should provide a delay of 30 to 45 seconds allowing the person entering time to deactivate the alarm when the alarm is in the "day mode".  The door, when in the "day mode" should have a pre-alarm buzzer to warn the person entering the home to disarm the security system with the pin pad code.  In the "night mode" the alarm is set to go off as soon as the door is opened.

Security Decals.  Place security decals on the glass portion of your doors indicating that a security alarm is installed, the house has a house, or that your neighborhood has a watch program.

Information on Doors

"What are high security doors?"  WiseGEEK.

"What is a French Door?"  WiseGEEK.

The Blue Book of Building and Construction.

Security Doors Suppliers.  On

Window and Door Security.

Windows & Doors.  A blog about home security.

Fingerprint Door Lock Information.  Home Security Information.

Home Security for Windows and Doors.  Home Security Information.

Door and Window Security Associations and Organizations

American Hardware Manufacturers Association (AHMA)

Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA)

Door and Hardware Institute (DHI)

Security Hardware Distributor Association (SHDA)

Steel Door Institute (SDI)

Window & Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA)

Security Door Manufacturers

Action Bullet Resistant Corp.  Security door and window systems.

Overly.  Manufacturers of extreme protection doors.

Safe Haven Enterprises, Inc.  Manufacturers of forced-entry and blast-resistant work and living environment doors and windows.


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Home Security and Doors

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