We all want to feel safe in our homes, but that isn’t always possible. Between one to 2.5 million burglaries occur each year, of which 55% involve forcible entry.
Kicking down a door isn’t as easy as they make it look in the movies, but if you know where to aim, you can be fairly sure of success.
Regardless of whether it’s made of metal or wood, the weakest point of any door is usually around the lock area. Door frames are also easily compromised, so if you focus on reinforcing those areas, you’ll make it a lot harder for anyone to force their way in, even if they kick like a mule.
The following 12 tips won’t be quite enough to turn your home into Fort Knox, but they will secure your door against brute force attacks.
12 Tips on How To Reinforce a Door
#1 Install Stronger Doors
A steel door is much harder to kick in than a wooden door. If a steel door receives a hefty kick, it won’t do much more than dent the door. A wooden one, on the other hand, is liable to splinter.
If you like the look of a wooden door but want better security, opt for one that has a hardwood interior with a glass-reinforced plastic coating. This composite material is much stronger than a standard timber door and doesn’t require much maintenance.
#2 Install a Steel Security Grille
Glass sliding doors are some of the hardest to protect against forced entry. Attaching a shatterproof film to your doors can help slow down an intruder, but it’s unlikely to stop them altogether. Read more about the top window security film.
On their own, a steel security grille won’t stop a burglar completely, but it will help minimize your losses, slowing the thief down long enough for your security system to alert the police.
Steel security grilles also look intimidating enough to deter many opportunistic attacks on your home. They’re also easily customizable and could help reduce your home insurance payments.
#3 Reinforce your Doorframe
If your doorframe is rotting, it doesn’t matter how strong your door is. A violent kick aimed at the lock can easily shatter the frame, making your steel door completely ineffective.
Doorframe reinforcements and jamb shields are inexpensive but effective. These shields attach to the door jamb, the flat part that runs up either side of the frame. Once in place, they provide lasting support for both the door and the frame.
Simple to install, jamb shields reinforce the most vulnerable areas of your door, like the hinges and locks.
This video shows just how effective doorframe reinforcements can be at preventing your door from being kicked in.
#4 Install Door Armor
Door armor consists of five pieces of steel designed to strengthen critical areas of your door, making it less vulnerable and delaying anyone who attempts to force their way in.
Using galvanized steel to reinforce the jamb, Door armor transforms the weakest point of your door into a kick-resistant barrier.
In addition to a jamb shield, Door armor includes two door shields that you install over the existing latch or strike plates. This is where the door latch is situated and is a notoriously vulnerable spot.
The door shields will hold the latch in place, even if the door’s leading edge is compromised.
Door Armour’s final nail in the burglar’s coffin is a patented hinge shield that strengthens the point where the door attaches to the frame.
The company that manufactures Door Armor, Armor Concepts, is so confident about its product that it offers a refund to any customer whose reinforced door is kicked in. Having watched this video, I’m not surprised.
#5 Use a Door Security Bar
- Horizontal bar: Fits across your existing door and is held in place by stainless steel screws.
- Vertical bar: Turns the horizontal force of a kick into a vertical force that anchors it in place, making it impossible for a burglar to push their way in.
A horizontal bar, like this one, is an effective deterrent; installation can take a few hours and is only suitable for inward opening doors.
On the other hand, a vertical bar takes no time to install, is fully adjustable, and, if you opt for the Buddybar model, can withstand up to 2,560 lbs of force.
Read more about the best door reinforcement kits.
#6 Get a Door Jammer
Like a security bar, a door jammer takes just seconds to install and, once in place, creates a vertical force that prevents the door from being forced open.
You can use this pocket-sized door jammer to increase security while traveling or prevent an intruder from forcing their way into your home.
#7 Install a Deadbolt
You can only open a deadbolt lock with a key, which means that even the most experienced burglar won’t be able to jimmy it open with a credit card or knife.
Both single and double cylinder deadbolts offer excellent security. With a double cylinder deadbolt, you need a key to unlock from both sides. A single-cylinder version, however, has a thumbpiece on the inside instead. As a result, the single-cylinder deadbolt is safer as it provides an easy escape route in case of fire.
The most advanced deadbolts on the market are now Wi-Fi enabled, so you can use your smartphone or laptop to unlock your door remotely. Not only will this keep intruders out, but it also means you can get inside quickly should you be in danger.
With this brass deadbolt from RemoteLock™, you can also set up weekly access schedules and receive notifications whenever the lock is accessed.
A high-quality deadbolt can withstand the force of a kick and therefore protect your home, and its contents, against forced entry.
#8 Utilize Motion-Activated Technology
No amount of camera footage can prevent a door from being kicked in, but it can alert you to an intruder so you can call the police before he even starts his assault on your front door.
The Dakota 1 Mile Wireless Alert Kit alerts the instant it detects a person or large animal within a one-mile radius. That gives you at least four minutes to alert emergency services and, if you’ve reinforced your front door using the methods above, another few minutes before the intruder gives up and runs away.
This early-warning system is set with a five-minute exit delay, so the alert won’t go off when you leave the property.
See our guide to the best motion sensor alarms.
#9 Invest in Smart Locks
Biometric technology has fueled a revolution in home security, and smart locks are just one piece of that fast-evolving puzzle. Smart locks work with virtual assistants and home security systems to simplify and strengthen your home’s safety.
Gain access to your home via a keypad or remotely from your phone, so you never have to worry about losing your keys. You can remotely monitor some models, receiving notifications whenever the lock is activated.
When combined with single cylinder deadlock technology, a smart lock becomes one of the most effective ways of preventing a burglar from entering your home.
#10 Use a Door Reinforcement Lock
If smart locks are a little beyond your budget right now, a door reinforcement lock is a simple and inexpensive way to protect your door against being kicked in.
It is secured onto the doorframe with 3″ screws and prevents the door from being forced inward. The spring-loaded design makes these nifty gadgets tamper-proof while protecting your door against forced entry and lock picking.
#11 Strengthen the Hinges
The video shows just how flimsy many door installations are. You make your door harder to kick in simply by replacing the screws that hold the hinges in place.
A 3″ screw is long enough to attach the hinges to the wall, as well as the frame, making your door sturdier and more secure.
#12 Replace the Bolt Strike Plate
A deadbolt is only as strong as the bolt strike plate it extends into. A high-quality strike plate made of 1/8 inch thick heavy-gauge steel and secured in place with 3″ screws increases your door’s resilience, making it far harder to kick in.
The bolt strike plate acts as an anchor plate for the entire door and reinforces the frame by engaging the deadbolt and keeping it securely locked.
Even if you only apply one or two of the methods above, your door will be able to withstand a lot more battering than it could before. Utilize all of them, and it will withstand the heftiest of kicks.
Read more about the best ways to protect and defend your home.