Having a safe home is the desire of every homeowner. Your home contains your hard-earned valuables, memories, and of course, family. We all have so many things in our homes we could never replace in the event that someone were to break in and take or destroy them.
Here are 10 ways you can reinforce your front door to prevent kick in:
- Lock your door.
- Change your locks.
- Upgrade your deadbolt or add one.
- Replace the strike plate for your lockset.
- Use motion-activated technology.
- Reinforce your front door frame.
- Replace your front door.
- Reinforce your front door at the bottom.
- Change your hinges for added strength.
- Install a security bar or security barricade.
Whether new or old, most houses aren’t usually built with doors that stand up to break-ins. In this article, we’ll look at ten different ways to make your front door kick-proof so you can put your worry away and know that you, your family, and your home are all completely safe.
1. Lock Your Door
This may seem like a no-brainer, but 30% of home break-ins occur from someone just getting in through an unlocked door. Many people can forget to lock their doors when they’re in a hurry or if it’s early and you’ve just woken up, and you’re more likely to be more forgetful than usual.
If you’re frequently leaving your door unlocked, it would be a great idea to find a way to remind yourself, a note near the door, or even a reminder on your phone set to go off at the usual time you leave the house. You could also put a reminder in the car, so if you did forget, you can see the reminder and go back and check if you’ve actually locked up your home.
You can even get your family involved in helping you remember. If you all leave in the morning, get in the habit of asking each other if someone locked the door. Maybe have someone different lock the door on different days. You could even make a game out of it. Anything you need to do to make yourself remember to lock your door when you’re away.
For those of you who have very trustworthy neighbors, you could ask them to check your door while you’re away if you’re not sure it’s locked. If you have a neighbor who’s home throughout the day or at different times than you, you can team up in helping each other make sure both houses are safe and secure when one of you isn’t around.
The most important thing is just to make sure your door is locked when you’re away. No matter how much time, effort, or money you put into creating the strongest door and security set up to prevent kick-ins, none of it will matter if you forget to lock your door when you leave.
2. Change Your Locks
One of the absolute best ways to secure your front door is to change your locks. There’s better technology available now that may not have been when your door was installed. For example, there are now smart locks available for front doors. These locks will open with a code instead of a key.
Even better, smart locks can be set to lock at a specific time of day or after being unlocked for a certain amount of time, saving you when you forget to do it yourself.
If you don’t want to set up smart locks on your front door, even just replacing the old locks with stronger new ones is an excellent way to prevent your front door from being kicked in. Most homes are equipped with older locks simply because they still work. This doesn’t mean that they’re still a good option.
Even if you don’t replace your locking hardware, you should at the very least rekey your locks. When you buy a home, it’s not uncommon that the locks are exactly the same as they were for the previous owner. You have no idea how many copies are out there that fit your door’s lock.
It’s a simple process to rekey the lock for safety and eliminate the possibility that someone you don’t know has a key that fits your door. It’s easy enough to do it yourself, but if you want, you can even hire a locksmith to do it for you. It would only take up one small part of your day and possibly save you from a home invasion in the future.
Many break-ins are committed by either people you know personally or people who know your home personally.
3. Upgrade Your Deadbolt or Add One
Unfortunately, many front doors, especially older front doors, don’t have a deadbolt already. A deadbolt is one of the best ways to secure your front door from being kicked in or broken into. Older deadbolts also provide very little security compared to newer models.
It’s also essential to make sure your deadbolt fits correctly. If it’s too loose or scrapes when throwing the lock, it needs to be serviced. Deadbolts are almost pointless unless they’re functioning correctly.
Buying deadbolts, especially the highest security types you can find, is one of the cheapest ways to reinforce your front door to prevent kick-ins. There are quite a few different deadbolts from which to choose. You can buy single or even double deadbolt locks. You can even buy a deadbolt lock that automatically locks behind you when you leave. Reinforcing an interior door may be a bit different.
There are different lock grades when it comes to picking a deadbolt. You can’t go wrong buying a lock grade one deadbolt. This type of deadbolt stands up to 800,000 clock cycles, six-door strikes, a 360-pound (163.29 kg) weight test, and a ten-door strike hammer test. You can’t get any better than a lock grade one, and it’s mainly used to secure commercial buildings as well, so you know it’s top of the line.
You can even add a blind deadbolt which is a great addition, especially when you have a regular one already. A blind deadbolt is a deadbolt with no key locking system, and you can’t even see this type of deadbolt from the outside. You simply lock it from the inside for extra protection when you’re home. The best thing about these is they aren’t detectable from the outside, so you won’t have to worry about anyone messing with them.
4. Replace the Strike Plate for Your Lockset
The strike plate is the metal plate screwed into the door frame where your primary lock inserts into the frame from the door. This is where the latch tongue of your door will insert and sit when locked. This is a crucial part of your door and requires the best possible protection. Leaving this as is and replacing or reinforcing other areas is asking for trouble because this is one of the weakest areas on the door.
Replacing your door’s locks alone won’t create a secure enough door to stand up to kick-ins. The strike plate is essential to a sturdy front door and usually becomes loose faster than your lock over time with frequent use.
Many extended strike plates are available that cover more of your door frame with metal, allowing for a better system to stand up to potential kick-in problems. There are even strike plates that’ll wrap around your door frame, securing it even further.
Most strike plates are screwed in with screws that are between a one-half inch (1.27 cm) to three-quarters of an inch (1.91 cm) long. The best thing to do when replacing your strike plate is to choose new screws that are three inches (7.62 cm) long. You can screw these longer screws in at an angle to make sure you catch the stud. In this way, your strike plate for your door knob lockset will be as secure as possible.
Not only does this hold fast when attempts to kick in the door occur, but it’ll stay more substantial over time and require less maintenance.
5. Use Motion-Activated Technology
Many homes have been using motion-activated lights for years. Motion-activated lights act as an excellent deterrent for anyone who would attempt to kick in your door. This works because as an intruder approaches your home, a bright spotlight shines down on anyone coming close to your door. This will illuminate the potential burglar and either discourage them from continuing or even allow a witness to see them and possibly call the authorities.
This strategy has worked for decades now, and it’s never a waste to have extra protection. Hopefully, its actual use will never be necessary, and you can just benefit from the secondary feature of being able to see better at night when you go in and out of your home.
There’s a newer motion-activated technology of which many are still unaware. There are now doorbell cameras that don’t need anyone to ring the doorbell to activate it.
Doorbells can now come equipped with cameras that’ll activate when they detect motion and even send you a notification on your phone. Even more importantly, when this occurs, you can talk through a speaker from the doorbell camera that could make the potential intruder think that you are home which is a great way to scare off anyone you don’t want at your door.
Motion-activated technology is a way to reinforce your door against kick-in because it’s the ultimate way to make intruders altogether leave your door and your property alone. Usually, this technology is enough to prevent kick-ins without any other features.
6. Reinforce Your Front Door Frame
There are many ways to reinforce your door frame to the point of preventing anyone from breaking your door through any means, especially kicking it in.
You can add a reinforcer plate which adds a significant amount of strength to your door overall. The reinforcer plate is three-sided and goes around your doorknob and latch and sits flush with the door after being installed. It protects the weakest area of the door.
There are also plenty of door reinforcement kits that have all the equipment you need to reinforce your door frame. There are many home improvement stores that sell these at a variety of price ranges as well as online. It may take some time and effort, but this is also something you can hire a locksmith to help you with.
Another option is to replace your door frame completely. There are metal door frames that can be painted to match your house. Usually, when kicking in a door, it’s the wooden door frame that shatters first. The door itself will often stay utterly intact while the frame falls to pieces when the door is forced open. Replacing your wooden door frame with a metal one would completely eliminate this possibility.
7. Replace Your Front Door
It may seem a bit excessive but replacing your front door entirely is the best way to ensure that it’ll be strong enough for a kick-in. Most wooden doors are weak no matter how much hardware you add to them. Wooden doors wear down quickly with age due to weather and continuous use. If you have an older house, it’s even more critical to consider replacing the door completely.
If your front door has any glass inserts at all, you should replace them. There isn’t much glass out there that’ll stand up to a potential break-in. Of course, if the glass isn’t big enough to fit through and you have deadbolts in place, this makes it much harder to break into. However, it’s best to do without the glass entirely if you’re more concerned with the safety and security of your door.
The most common door material is wood, and typically a wooden door is hollow as well. A hollow wooden door is probably the least secure door type you could have for your front door other than glass features like a window.
If you’d like to keep your door wooden, there are ways of making it stronger still. The first would be to select a type of wood that’s stronger than what you already have. The most substantial lumber to use for a front door would be mahogany. This type of wood stands up to break-in tests much better than any other type of wood. It’s also essential to get a solid wood door.
A solid door is much less likely to crack or shatter than a hollow one, and when you get a solid mahogany wood door, you’re getting the most security you possibly can when it comes to selecting a wooden door.
Another great material to improve your door security is a fiberglass door. Many homeowners buy fiberglass doors because of their stunning appearance, but they actually function very well as a security measure. Fiberglass is lighter and will still stand up better to kick-ins than any wood you can find. You can even find fiberglass doors with a steel security grille for even more protection.
The best material for a front door is steel, which is the strongest metal you can use when deciding how to pick a front door for the best security possible. It won’t break from a kick-in, especially if you have a metal door frame as well.
Steel doors are the strongest doors you can buy because they won’t break and won’t crack or shatter at all. They won’t even warp with the weather. The worst thing that can happen to a steel door is for it to be dented. However, these dents can easily be pulled out in the same way you’d pull dents out of the body of a car.
If you’re also worried about appearances, it’s entirely possible to paint a steel door in whatever color and design you want. Security doesn’t have to be an eyesore. Almost any security feature you can add to your front door can be made to blend in with your home’s outward appearance or otherwise be altered to look more attractive to you.
8. Reinforce Your Front Door at the Bottom
Most of these tips discuss reinforcing your lock area, which is usually the weakest when not appropriately protected. However, most people will kick toward the bottom of a door when trying to kick it in and ransack your home. You want to make sure your entire door is reinforced against kick-in to prevent any possibility.
You can reinforce the bottom of your door by adding kick plates, preferably on both sides of the door. This is especially helpful for strengthening wooden doors.
Kick plates are sold as metal or plastic strips that attach to the bottom of your door for extra protection. It’s best to choose a metal option and precisely a steel option for the most strength against kicks.
You can choose a number of different options for your kick plate material. The best metal options are solid brass, steel, iron and aluminum. Solid brass is an ideal choice after steel due to its ability to hold up against damage as well as having an antique look that many homeowners find desirable.
Adding a kick plate to your door not only reinforces the bottom of the door from breaking when someone is trying to intrude on your home but also protects the door itself from any damage it might take on a regular basis.
Front doors are most abused at the bottom, where a kick plate would defend it. This is why many burglars would try to kick a door at its low point because it’s more worn down in this area than any other part of your door.
If you can add kick plates to both sides of your door, it’ll be sturdy enough to protect the door from damage and wear down over time from use and weather conditions.
9. Change Your Hinges for Added Strength
Your door hinges can be a natural, easy way for an intruder to access your home. If your door hinges face out and are accessible from the front of the door, this is even more true. Hinges also wear down easily and quickly with age and constant use. It’s not uncommon for door hinges to be very loose, making kicking in a door straightforward.
Even if your hinges are tight enough, if they face outward, someone could easily and quickly unscrew them and enter your home that way. There’s no way to really solve this problem entirely unless you rehang your door so that the hinges are not at all accessible from outside your home. Protecting your door hinges from being tampered with is just the first way to use your hinges to create a safer setup.
One thing you need to do to your hinges, no matter what else, is to replace the screws. Hinges are typically attached with shorter screws, such as the strike plate of your lock area. It’s best to use screws that are at least three inches (7.62 cm) in length to attach your hinges as securely as possible and prevent them from being easily removed or broken.
Replacing your hinges entirely is your next step. Most doors have the basic surface hinges installed as this is the easy type of installation for door hinges as well as the most common type of hinges to use of hollow wooden front doors. It’s best to switch to a mortise-style hinge for your door, which is actually inlaid into the door and adds much better durability.
You can choose a half mortise that’ll have one leaf of the hinge attached to the door’s surface, and the other would be attached to a spot that has been carved out to fit the leaf in the door frame. A full mortise would be the best option as there’s a carved-out area both in the door frame and the door itself to attach the hinge.
The material your hinges are made from is also a significant consideration. In this case, there are more substantial materials than steel you can choose from for your door hinge. The strongest and most durable hinges you can choose will be made from brass, iron, or bronze.
Strap hinges are another great way to reinforce your door around the hinges. A strap hinge is considered an ornamental hinge as it has been around for a while for the usual decoration. However, the strap hinge also doubles as a security feature by adding a long strip of metal that attaches from your hinge and stretches across part of the door.
Continuous hinges, also known as piano hinges, are the best security feature you can add to your door when it comes to reinforcing your door hinges. These run the entire length of your door and are typically used for bank vaults and blast doors. That alone should tell you how secure they are. Adding continuous hinges will significantly reduce the possibility that a kick-in would be successful.
10. Install a Security Bar or Security Barricade
Security bars and barricades are extremely secure ways of protecting your home from invasion. Installing these will almost guarantee that a kick-in will be unsuccessful. This is also one of the easiest and most effective ways of reinforcing your doors.
Some security bars weigh only a few pounds and can withstand hundreds of pounds of force. If you do nothing else to strengthen your door and security, this might just be enough to prevent anyone from kicking in your door.
Some security bars fit across the width of your door, and there are also other types that fit horizontally, but both use the floor as a base. This is especially effective because it uses the strength of your floor to hold up the door, which will absolutely give you the sturdiest setup.
A security barricade is a bar that fits across the width of your door and is held on each side attached to the wall. Barricades are very effective and provide extra strength to the area of your door where it’s the weakest.
There are even security bars and barricades that can be hooked up to an alarm system. This way, the intruder isn’t only not able to kick in your door, but you can also be alerted to their presence at the same time as they attempt to break in.
Most security systems of this type will even notify the police as soon as they’re activated, which gives the intruder very little time to escape. Even if they do run, it’s very unlikely they’ll be back to try again after being ultimately unsuccessful.
One item becoming more and more popular is a door jammer. This is a portable device that you can use on any door and are even popular for traveling. Using a door jammer is a good idea when it comes to doing more extensive work on your door. You can buy a door jammer at the beginning of your work and use it each day while you work to make your front door more permanently reinforced.