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Select the Right Door Hardware for Security

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Even the best deadbolt lock in the world won’t help if the hardware that attaches it is too weak. Many components make up the hardware that supports the security of the door.

Door hardware components that contribute to security include:

  • Hinges
  • Screws
  • Strike plates
  • Floor locks
  • Security chains
  • Peepholes

Hinges often offer intruders a possible weak point to attack. Unlike in businesses, where doors are required to open out for safety reasons, exterior doors should open inward. This way the hinge pins are located inside the house. Exterior door hardware should always have three hinges. Most home screen doors have a single hinge that runs the entire length of the door for added stability and security.

Screws used to secure locks, hinges, and strike plates need to be long enough to hold against an intruder. Security studs for hinges protect against hinge pin removal. Much like a deadbolt a burglar can access through a side window, hinge pins located inside can be removed if they can be accesses. If a potential intruder removes the hinge pins, the security stud protects the door from being removed by locking the leaves of the hinges together. Security studs replace a screw on the door and require the removal of one on the frame to act as the receiving hole locking the two hinge leaves in place.

Door lock strike plates are often only cosmetic. These strike plates are not intended to provide security and are usually the weak point in the door hardware. The length that the deadbolt extends out of the door edge is the throw of the deadbolt. Locksmiths suggest a minimum throw of one inch. The longer the throw the more difficult it is to gain entry by spreading the doorframe. High security strike plates are heavy gauge metal reinforcing plates that install under cosmetic strike plates. The 3" screws used to secure the security plate anchor the strike plate through the door frame and into the home’s frame. These screws are staggered so they do not penetrate the same grain to prevent splitting. Security strike plates are door hardware that should be installed on every exterior entryway, including doors between attached garages and the home.

Floor locks, security chains and peepholes are also important door hardware for home security. Floor locks bar the door at its base. Many types of floor locks are available. The most important factor in choosing a floor lock is how your home is constructed and how the lock will be attached. The same applied to chains and latches, how they are attached is often their weak point. Be sure additional security devices are installed correctly. A peephole is one of the most important security features because it protects you when you are home. Make sure the peephole is one way only so the person at your door cannot tell when you come to see who is there. Also, make sure the peephole you choose will work with your exterior lighting at night.

Related topics: Locksmiths’ Recommendations, Electronic Locks

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