A young locksmith changing the lock on a residential front door.

According to the FBI (https://www.fbi.gov/), every 14.4 seconds a home in the U.S. is burgled, and 34 percent of the break-ins are through the front door. This means you need to be sure your home’s front door is as secure as you can make it. At Downs Security Solutions, our locksmiths see firsthand the results of door break-ins and help our Atlanta, GA, area homeowners to repair the damage. We know it takes more than a lock on your door handle to make your home’s exterior doors stable.

Here are five top ways we recommend you reinforce your door(s) and door jamb(s):

1. Reinforce the door jamb.

The door jamb is constructed of the two vertical wood component parts, surrounding your door, making your frame. They are the parts to which your door’s hinges attach on one side and your door’s strike plate on the other. (The strike plate is the metal piece surrounding the hole where the latch enters.) Since the jamb typically consists of wood, it is not as strong as it could be and can give way under force, such as with a kick. A higher-security door jamb product, typically made of a high-gauge steel and long screws, is very successful at strengthening your door jamb. Your door’s hinges should also be secured with 3 inch screws, replacing the short ones that came with your door, to offer premium protection against applied force.

2. Reinforce existing door locks.

Any locks that open with keys should be reinforced. Adding cylinder guards around the locks prevents anyone from getting the lock loose via a crowbar or other tool. Ask us for various options.

3. Use a high-security deadbolt.

If your exterior door only has one lock––on the door knob or handle––you should install a high-security deadbolt. Having two quality locks on your door goes a long way in stepping up your protection. Think about installing a strike box for the deadbolt as an added measure. (A strike box replaces a normal strike plate and is embedded into the door frame instead of sitting on top of the jamb.) Be sure the deadbolt has a Grade 1 ANSI (American National Standards Institute) rating for top quality.

4. Reinforce the door and strike plate.

Reinforcing the door itself is another level of protection. Just like the jamb reinforcement, a door reinforcement, or shield, increases the strength of your door. It’s a piece of strong metal shaped like a U and wraps around your door, over the deadbolt or your door latch. The moment a piece of the door is removed to install your door handle or your deadbolt, your door is structurally weakened. But a door reinforcement helps to compensate.

Your strike plate typically is manufactured with a thin metal and attaches to the door jamb with ½ inch screws. To up your door’s reinforcement, you should replace the strike plate with a heavy-duty plate (or even consider installing a strike box instead as mentioned above) and 3 inch screws. By reinforcing both your door and strike plate, your door can withstand much more force.

5. Replace hollow core doors.

If any of your exterior doors are hollow core doors, you should replace them with solid core doors. All the strongest doors are solid. To tell which you have if you are not sure, just knock on it. If the knock echoes, it’s hollow core. If it doesn’t and sounds flat, it’s not. Pretty straightforward. If you do have a hollow core, replace it with a door constructed of solid wood, solid wood core, fiberglass, or metal. These are sturdier options.

In addition, a smaller DIY step you can take to increase your door’s security is to add window security film to glass panes if you have windows in your doors. This holds glass pieces together in the event someone tries to break the window, making it harder to get through. Ask our locksmiths for reliable brands, as some are better than others.

Keep in mind everything in your home needs maintenance, even your doors. Our experienced locksmiths know a well-maintained door will do a much better job at keeping intruders out than a neglected one. We take our jobs very seriously, as we want to help keep you safe,

Even if you are an experienced DIYer, have one of our Downs Security Solutions professionals reinforce your exterior door and door jamb. We know brands and styles, using only the best, as well as time-honored tricks of the trade. Our locksmiths can also assess where your door’s weaknesses lie and give you recommendations on how you can address them. Call us at 404-873-2515 today to help you secure your home.

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