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How to Reinforce a Door to Prevent Kick-In – A Guide to Safety

How to Reinforce a Door to Prevent Kick-In – A Guide to Safety

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The vast majority of criminals looking to break into your home won’t be carefully lockpicking. They’ll be trying to smash glass or kick the door in. If someone really wants to break into your home, they won’t hesitate to cause damage to the property and use excessive force to do so. 

Knowing how to reinforce a door to prevent kick-in involves extra security measures to reinforce the door. This simple procedure makes it all the more difficult for intruders to enter. 

What You’ll Need

Additional security features can be implemented to add extra levels of protection against a kick-in. Doors will always have leverage points, so it’s impossible to completely protect them from being forced open. 

What do these security measures look like? This entails installing things such as more secure door frames, adding extra locking mechanisms, or strengthening the structure of the door. 

This kind of project may involve purchasing some newer hardware for the door, and may even involve replacing the pre-existing door. Other basic tools like drills or screwdrivers will be involved in the installation of new hardware if you’d like to tackle the project yourself. 

Obviously, time is an important factor as well. You don’t want to begin renovations on your front door during the evening or middle of the night. This may leave your home open to the possibility of theft or intruders. 

Steps on How to Reinforce a Door to Prevent Kick-In

worker installing doors

Those seeking peace of mind from unlawful or forceful entry have likely considered all the possible entry points to their home. The most glaringly obvious entryway for criminals is forcible entry through the exterior doors of the home. These include the front door, back door, or side entryway. 

Doors are often overlooked by homeowners, despite how obvious it may seem to double down on securing them. If you think that a simple hollow core door installed with a deadbolt offers a great level of protection, you might want to reconsider. 

Your doors are literally the entryways to your personal space. There are a lot of easy options for homeowners to strengthen their level of security. You don’t need to splurge outright on replacing the entire door or door frame. Most of these measures can be implemented without the help of a maintenance person or professional. 

Replacing the Door

The most obvious option is to replace the door itself with a more stable one. Before you begin to think about purchasing expensive locking mechanisms or reinforcing the area surrounding the door frame, think about how sturdy your door itself is. 

If you’ve got a solid wood or metal alloy door in good condition, you don’t need to worry about replacing your actual door. This is especially the case if it has no visible degradation in quality (rot). You can easily beef up security by adding features to an already stable foundation. 

However, if you have a pre-installed low-quality hollow core door or lightweight ornamental door, it is probably high time to invest in a new door. 

You’ll also want to pay attention to the areas surrounding the locks, hinges, and door handles. Are they soft or chipping? Rusting? In any of these cases, you’ll want to look into a door replacement. 

Regardless of how strong your actual locking mechanisms are, a weak door can still get broken down. 

Regarding the purchase of a new door, the strongest materials are either solid hardwood or steel. If you want something to stylistically pair with your home, there are plenty of fiberglass door options with wood cores that offer fashion and security. 

You will need to measure the pre-existing door and door frame. From there, you can decide ‌if you want to purchase one that is already pre-hung and mounted in a frame. Pre-hung doors tend to be a lot more simplistic to install, provided you’ve got the right measurements. They also offer the ability to easily install a deadbolt on the new door. 

Secure Door Hinges

The next biggest blind spot is definitely the door hinges. Hinges on the outside of the door are a security hazard. An intruder only needs to dismantle the hinge from the outside to gain access to the home. 

Generally, outdoor hinges are fitted with a hinge bolt to prevent this from happening. If you have one that does not have a hinge bolt, consider replacing your hinge with one that does. 

Regardless of if you have a hinge on the interior or exterior of the door, you might want to consider replacing the hinge screws. Screws used on hinges need to be at least 2½ inches long to secure the hinge. 

Finally, if the hinge itself is old, it would be worth replacing. Consider if they came with the house, or have never been replaced.

Replace Deadbolt and Deadbolt Strike Plate

professional locksmith repairing a new deadbolt lock

Once the door is replaced and secure, the next step is to make sure you have proper hardware on the door. A powerful deadbolt lock is the cornerstone of security and preventing break-ins. Of course, the deadbolt works to secure the door in its frame. 

You’ll want to select a deadbolt with an ANSI rating of 1 or 2. The ANSI system measures how much force a lock can take before it is prone to break or bend. 

Locks with a rating of 2 can withstand multiple strikes before giving in, so a ton of noise would have to be made on the part of the intruder. Anyone within the home or neighboring homes would likely be alerted to the robbery before the intruder could‌ get inside. 

Replacing a deadbolt is easy, and the vast majority of people can do it. However, upgrading the standard strike plate to maximize the protection offered by the deadbolt is still recommended. 

A hole simply drilled into a wood door frame won’t offer much in the way of protection. 

What is a strike plate? The strike plate is typically metal and is screwed into the door frame itself on the receiving end of the lock. The plate “receives” the deadbolt when someone turns the lock. It’s secured to the door frame with screws. 

A metal alloy strike plate is better than plain wood. However, you can upgrade your strike plate to embed it deeper into the door frame. You can also purchase strike plates that surround the entirety of the bolt with steel. This would make it much more difficult to break apart. 

The most difficult part of a deadbolt or strike plate replacement is making sure that they align properly with one another. Otherwise, this is a pretty straightforward DIY project that most people will be able to easily do with a screwdriver. 

Reinforce the Door and Doorframe

Commercial companies produce metal reinforcement products designed to reinforce the door frame. These are typically steel or a metal alloy. 

Lighter wood frames are more prone to rot or splitting. These metal products can help prevent any sort of splitting or warping, particularly when under high pressure or force. 

If a criminal realizes that the lock on the door is secure, they’re likely to target the actual frame next. Most standard wood door frames will not hold up to repeated kicks, blows, or force from a blunt object. This is especially true if the door hasn’t been replaced in decades. 

The frame can shockingly break away from the doorjamb easily when the right amount of power is repeatedly applied. 

If you have more decorative exterior doors that contain a glass centerpiece or pane, you may want to opt for additional measures. This could mean adding steel security bars in front of the panel of glass, particularly if it’s located within proximity to the lock. The security bars will help to prevent anyone from reaching in through the broken glass. 

You can also purchase clear vinyl security film that can be affixed to the glass to render it shatterproof. If a potential intruder tries to smash the glass, the bonded vinyl security film will hold the broken glass in place. It would then be either extremely difficult to snake an arm through, or extremely painful for the burglar. You’d be likely to hear the yelping. 

Door Barricade and Security Bar

If you’re renting a unit at a residential address, you might be restricted in the security measures you can take. You may not be able to replace the door, door frame, or deadbolt. Perhaps you feel unsafe, and want to take extra steps for protection within your legal rights as a tenant. 

A “door bar,” barricade, or security bar can offer that additional level of security if you’re unable to change other features of the door itself. These are all interchangeable terms for essentially the same product.

It screws into the floor in front of the door. When it is disabled, the bar or barricade sits flush with the door and does not block entry or exit. When activated, they stick outwards from the floor and prevent the door from opening past the barricade. Generally, they’re super low profile, non-intrusive, non-obstructive, and strong. 

Door jammers are easy alternatives to install and brace the floor with a rubber backing. This provides counteractive pressure if the door is kicked in. Door jammers can be easily installed, disassembled, and taken to a new address. 

Camera and Home Security System

woman using smart home security system control panel

The visible presence of a camera system or home security system is often enough to deter more inexperienced burglars or thieves. 

A home security system, motion detection system, or security camera can often involve the work of a professional. It may involve a company of professionals, plus additional monthly payments if you partner with a company like ADT

However, this often provides an extra level of peace of mind that simple door reinforcements cannot. 

Motion sensor lighting will automatically alert and draw attention to anyone trying to kick in your door. These security measures are a part of many home monitoring or residential security systems. They’re an easy and cost-effective way to deter criminals. 

A fully active security system is the most suitable way to guarantee protection when you’re away from the home. Moving past just a wireless camera, a full-fledged security system can monitor your home with your cellphone or a remote team of professionals. You can be notified any time an alarm gets triggered. 

Conclusion

You won’t want to forget about reinforcing all the doors in your home. When we show you how to reinforce a door to prevent kick-in, we’re not being exclusive to the front door. Often, criminals will try to gain entry through a backdoor or side entrance that is less likely to be noticed by neighbors. 

Windows are slightly outside the realm of this article, but they are another important point of entry. You’ll want to consider reinforcing or securing with additional measures. 

The key to properly securing your home is making it too frustrating or long of a process for a burglary attempt to be worth it. If it takes a dozen tries to break down your door, that’s a higher risk of the burglar getting caught. 

Almost every element of the door can be upgraded to enhance security levels. As we’ve mentioned, there are also external security features that can help ward off a potential home invasion. Additional things to keep you safe include:

  • Security cameras
  • Home security systems
  • Motion activated monitoring systems
  • Spotlights or floodlights
  • Smart locks 

It’s important to keep your home and loved ones safe from the possibility of theft or harm. A door kick-in is the most common entry method for criminals to enter a residence. 

Criminals aren’t going to fear the repercussions of damaging your property. You better believe that they are also brazen enough to try to kick in your door in broad daylight.

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Silence Dogood

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