When we perform a home site survey, we address home security from every angle possible. Every time, door security sits at or near the very top of our home security checklist. After all, doors provide the most inconspicuous and least dangerous form of entry for burglars. Furthermore, seasoned criminals can take advantage of the slightest vulnerability in door security. Therefore, failing to address these potential security downfalls greatly decreases your overall home security. In this post, we explain what makes locked doors vulnerable and give you tips to avoid these issues.
First, we’ll see how selecting or installing locks carelessly can lead to security threats. From there, we’ll show you how choosing value over quality in lock selection can hurt you down the road, even if you choose the proper type of lock for your door. Then, we’ll focus on boosting your key security. Even the best lock cannot stop a thief with a key, so this area deserves special consideration. Finally, we’ll shift our attention to keeping out those who attack doors using blunt force. Now, let’s get started with some tips to properly install the right types of locks for your home!
Poor Installation or Lock Selection
Sub-par lock installation can hurt your overall door security in various ways. Unfortunately, we see it quite often. Understanding these issues goes a long way in answering the question, “What makes locked doors vulnerable?” For starters, poorly-installed locks often do not fit their doors and frames properly. For example, locks installed the wrong distance from the frame will not latch as far into the frame itself as they should. This greatly reduces the lock’s overall effectiveness. Additionally, DIY lock-installers often drill holes in the wrong places or misalign their locks. These mistakes compromise both the functionality and security of both deabdolts and doorknobs.
Moreover, even properly-installed locks can lead to security issues if you install the wrong lock for the job. For example, choosing a single-sided deadbolt for a door with a large window can create issues. These deadbolts do not require a key to operate from inside your home. While convenient, this also allows burglars to break your window to unlock your door. This creates an easy way to bypass your lock and gain entry to your home.
For doors that you do not rely on for a fire escape, consider installing a double-sided deadbolt. These deadbolts require a key to operate from either side. Therefore, breaking the glass will not allow criminals to operate your deadbolt. If you do anticipate using a door with a window in case of a fire, consider a deadbolt with a removable thumbturn, such as the pictured model by our preferred lock manufacturer, Medeco. Next up, let’s examine the role of lock quality in creating overall door security.
Choosing Easy-to-Compromise Locks
All of us have heard the old adage that “you get what you pay for.” This sentiment runs especially true in the security industry. Many customers express surprise at how much the quality of lock hardware varies. In fact, lock hardware quality varies so much that the industry uses a three-point grading system designed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) to measure a lock’s quality!
Lock manufacturers often seek out ANSI/BHMA certification for their product lines. This certification involves putting locks through tests meant to gauge factors such as bolt strength, security, the ability to withstand impact and force, and quality of finish, among others. Allegion, one of the biggest global providers of security products, provides this helpful guide to door hardware testing. The lowest-quality hardware receives a “Grade 3” designation, with the best scoring in at Grade 1. As you can probably guess, Grade 2 falls right in the middle. Grade 2 locks represent a step up from Grade 3, without having quite the quality of a Grade 1 lock.
Unfortunately, most reseidential locks fall under “Grade 3” quality standards. Burglars can easily pick these locks, or drill them to gain access to your property. Before purchasing locks, look at the packaging to see if you can determine what grade of lock you are buying. If you cannot find this information, assume that you are holding a Grade 3 lock. We recommend installing a lock that will last longer while providing more security. Now, let’s turn our attention to the important security role played by practicing proper key control.
Failing to Practice Proper Key Control
As we pointed out earlier, even the best locks do not keep out individuals with keys. Unfortunately, many homeowners fail to track who they give copies of their keys to, and when. Even more dangerously, many individuals leave spare keys “hidden” in fairly standard locations around the house, such as under doormats. Obviously, both of these issues can spell security danger.
Installing a keypad lock can help you alleviate key-control related issues. These locks allow users to enter a code, rather than use a key, to enter your home. Furthermore, you can also program multiple codes into the lock, allowing you to add and delete codes as needed, rather than provide anyone else with your own code. As an even greater security measure, many of our customers install smart keypad locks. In addition to the security already described, these locks also allow you to control them remotely using a smartphone app. This lets you grant access to contractors or housesitters without providing a key or a code! This level of security makes smart keypad locks one of our most popular door hardware options. Last but certainly not least, let’s take note of some equipment that you can use to secure your doors against blunt force attacks.
Leaving Your Doors Vulnerable to Blunt Force Attacks
Of course, many burglars prefer to remain as discreet as possible when breaking into a home. After all, a quiet and easy entry will prove far less likely to garner attention and suspicion than a noisy and conspicuous one. However, burglars will often do whatever it takes to get into a home’s doors. This rings especially true in neighborhoods with houses spaced far apart. In many cases, burglars actually use blunt force to compromise a door’s security, rather than unlocking the door. Strong, well-installed deadbolts can provide a measure of security against those trying to break into your home by forcing your door open.
Furthermore, installing reinforcing hardware on the hinge side of the door can also make your door stronger in one of its most vulnerable areas. Hinge pins, for example, are metal pins that sit inside your door’s existing hinges and reinforce them in the case of a blunt force attack. Many people assume criminals kick in doors on the doorknob side. However, doors with strong locks often have a weaker hinge side. Installing both strong locks and hardware to strengthen your door’s hinge side gives you a strong line of defense against anybody looking to kick in your door.
Understanding and Addressing What Makes Locked Doors Vulnerable
We hope that this post helps you understand what makes locked doors vulnerable. Of course, we also hope that this information allows you to bulk up your home’s door security. If you have any questions about the material presented here, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will happily answer any security-related inquiries you may have. Moreover, we also invite you to take advantage of our free site survey program. We provide both new and existing customers alike with complimentary security audits and equipment quotes. While on site, we can address any security concerns you may have. Additionally, we can make suggestions based on our own observations made during our visit. Together, we can create a complete security plan to keep you, your home, and your family as safe and secure as possible!