Home safety should be a top priority when considering any home renovation project and your front door is no different. With over one-third of break-ins occurring at a front door, your home’s door security is perhaps the most important factor in keeping your family and belongings safe.
Luckily, with the advancement of security technologies and improved door locks, ensuring your door is secure is more cost-effective and accessible than ever. There are several options, ranging from sturdy door materials and locks to doorbell camera systems, to better protect your home from unwanted intruders.
A locked door is naturally more secure than an unlocked one, but not all locks are created equal. Adding or upgrading a deadbolt is one of the most affordable ways to provide added security to your home.
Some homeowners focus on the color or finish of a deadbolt, thinking they all provide equal amounts of door security. However, the most important factor in selecting a deadbolt should be its grade. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) rigorously tests locks and assigns them a grade of 1-3, with Grade 1 being the strongest.
Most homes feature a Grade 2 or 3 lock, with Grade 1 locks applied more commonly to commercial properties, but they are still available for residential use. Opting for a higher rated lock can help your front door withstand repeated strikes, kicks or hits from an intruder.
Increase the effectiveness of a deadbolt by reinforcing the doorjamb with a metal strike plate. This piece of metal is where the physical bolt will rest when the door is locked. Installing a metal plate with screws that are at least three inches in length will reduce the ability of an intruder to force their way through the front door.
A strong, secure lock won’t matter if the door itself can be easily damaged or broken. Selecting a sturdy door material is vital to protecting your home from trespassers, as well as the outside elements. Start by selecting a door that isn’t hollow. If you’re unsure if your current door is hollow or not, give it a knock. If you can hear an echo, it’s hollow — a non-hollow door will make a thud.
Look for materials such as natural woods or fiberglass. While hollow metal doors are frequently used in newly constructed homes, there are solid options available that can provide superior safety.
When deciding on your front door material, consider how other factors like weather exposure and heavy use will impact its ability to remain sturdy over time. You’ll also want to ensure your new door is held in place by an updated door frame, otherwise, it might not be as effective.
For those looking to take their front door security even further, you can consider installing a security door. These specialty doors are designed with security in mind — hence their name. They often reinforce areas that are weaker on traditional doors, make elements such as hinge pins difficult to access and feature more complex door locks.
Security doors are typically made using steel and aren’t hollow. While they might sound crude or like a curb appeal no-no to many, these doors don’t have to be clunky-looking metal. Customizations are available to mimic the appearance of extravagant wrought iron designs or to cover the steel core with a natural wood outer layer for a more traditional look.
Exterior Camera Systems
A security door might not be for everyone, but a door trend that has surged recently in popularity is the installation of home surveillance systems. In years past, this kind of protection required the use of bulky cameras that could make even invited guests feel unwelcome.
Fortunately, those days are long gone.
Nowadays, it’s common to see discreet surveillance systems — such as doorbell cameras — that allow homeowners to see what’s going on outside their residence via smartphone apps or other devices. Some of these systems can also provide additional layers of security by performing actions such as turning on specially designed light bulbs when the doorbell is pressed.
Doorbell cameras and other surveillance systems have replaced the need for a peephole for many people — who can now look outside their front door without having to get off the couch. If your door has a peephole, or you find yourself still utilizing one on a regular basis, consider installing a wide-angle one.
Most peepholes provide limited visibility, allowing for intruders to easily conceal weapons, tools or even an accomplice. Wide-angle peepholes differ from their traditional counterparts by allowing homeowners to view a larger area of their front porch or patio. This can allow a resident to better see who is knocking and if they appear to be carrying anything suspicious.
Hire a Quality Door Contractor
A welcoming front door is a source of pride for many homeowners — providing them a space to display decorative designs, fun colors and accent decorations to boost curb appeal. However, beyond the aesthetics, a secure front door is vital to your home’s protection and should be considered when planning your door renovation project.
Working with an experienced door contractor, such as those available through Modernize, will help you select the front door that best fits your home and your budget, and provides you maximum security for peace of mind.