Posted on: 22 March 2016Share
When evaluating how protected your home is from a break-in, start with the security of your front door. This is often the first way a burglar will attempt to access your home. If they are stopped by the front door, they may give up their plan and move onto an easier target. Here is how to make sure that your front door can prevent a break-in and keep your family and personal possessions safe.
Begin With the Lock
A formidable lock on the front door tells a burglar that you're serious about home security. The type of deadbolt you choose and how it is installed determines whether a burglar is stopped or just slowed down at the front door. The construction of the deadbolt is the first consideration.
A locksmith can show you a variety of grades of deadbolts, but the ANSI Grade 1 is the strongest construction they will have. These locks are made from a solid piece of metal. Locks made by a casting process can be shattered by a blow from a hammer or pry bar. Quality locks also have a hardened steel bolt which resists being cut through.
The next step is to choose the right deadbolt for the door from these common styles:
Single Cylinder - This is the most common lock seen in homes and is often used in new home construction. It is mounted inside of the door with the bolt slipping out through the side of the door into the door frame. A cylinder passes through the door with a knob on the inside and a key on the outside required to move the bolt. If the door can be forced away from the frame enough with a pry bar, the bolt can be exposed allowing the burglar to try to cut through the bolt.
External Mounted Lock - This deadbolt is also called a "jimmy proof" lock because it makes it harder to access the bolt. The lock is mounted on the surface of the door with a component mounted on the wall next to the door. The bolt slips out of the piece on the door into the piece on the wall. A cylinder runs through the door with a knob on the inside and a key outside. The door must be forced away from the frame much more to gain access to this bolt. The bolt on this lock also tends to be longer and thicker than that on the single cylinder lock.
Vertical Deadbolt - This is a variation of the external mounted lock. The component mounted on the door slips into the piece on the wall when the door is closed. When the bolt is extended, it travels up into the piece on the wall and is completely covered. No amount of prying on the door will expose this bolt.
Check the Mounting Hardware
The components used to mount the deadbolt add to the security of the front door.
Strike plate - This is the rectangular metal plate mounted on the door frame through which the bolt travels from the single cylinder lock. The standard strike plate allows the bolt to slip into the wooden door frame. If the door frame is weak, the bolt could be forced through the wood to open the door. A reinforced strike plate is available that has a metal box welded onto the plate. The bolt slips into this metal box so it can't be forced through the wood.
Mounting screws - The screws used to mount the strike plate to the frame or the piece of the external mounted and vertical deadbolt to the wall should be extra long with wide threads. This prevents the pieces from being pried away from the door. Contact a locksmith like one from Ability Lock & Key for more details.