Everyone wants to know how they can be safe at home. Safe is a sliding scale because nothing is completely safe. So a better question is “How can I be safer at home?” Today lets talk about the obvious. Most people will enter and leave through your front door. Good and bad people see that as the obvious entrance/exit point. We have all been programmed to use the door. Most burglars and worst criminals will start with the door, if they can.
Everyone has dead bolts and doors that lock, and if you have one you should use one, and if you don’t have one, you should get one and use it. It’s one of those safety things like a car’s seat belt we hope to never need, but if you need it, you really need it. The problem with most door locks, and even dead bolts, is that most can be kicked in with one or two good kicks.
To make it harder we need to understand a little bit about construction. Your outside door looks like this before it is put into your home.
When your house is built, the framers put in an opening for that door and frame to go into. The builders use 2×4 studs to make a hole bigger then the frame holding the door. For the door to open and close correctly it needs to be perfectly level and square. When they put the door in they use shims to make the door and it’s frame perfectly level.
A shim is a triangle piece of wood. The builder uses two of them, one from each side, small end in first to level the door frame. They push them in and pull them out to make the space bigger or smaller. Once the doorframe is level and square the builder puts screws into the doorframe, through the shims, and into the studs. The studs are what give your door its strength. Once that is done the builder cuts off the end of the shim sticking out and puts dry wall or pretty molding over the hole so you never know it’s there.
The problem with that is the locks are mounted in the door and the dead bolt doesn’t go into the stud, it only goes into the doorframe. There is a strike plate to reinforce the wood, but then only decorative screws are used. The strike plate is that little piece of metal you see on the doorframe around the hole the dead bolt goes into. These screws are worthless. Go down to your local hardware store and pick up some 3-inch wood screws. Pull out the little ones, and put in the big ones.
I used 2.5-inch screws because it’s what I had in my garage. You can see how much longer and bigger the screws are then the ones that where in the doorframe. When you put the new screws in go slow. You should be able to feel if the new screws go all the way through the space and into the stud. Here is what you are trying for.
While doing some quick research for this post I came across this site that had a couple other quick tips from The Family Handyman.