Door Security and Reinforcement In Town and Country
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Everyone has at least one door. This is the easiest access point for anyone to breach besides maybe a window. This post is going to talk about what you can do to reinforce your door and prevent it from being breached by man and some projectiles.
I think this is an important security measure to consider because everyone from apartment preppers, dorm residents, and homeowners have doors that are a weak point. Any entry way is a weak point in security. On a farm it is the same way with gates. The more gates you have the more entry points to worry about.
Door Security and Reinforcement In Town and Country
That unimpressive chain on the door of hotels, dorms, and some apartments may look like it won’t do much but it is amazingly strong. My husband showed me a Mythbusters clip where they try to break down a door and the chain lock was the last thing to hold. There are plenty of other videos out there that demonstrate what breaks first on the average door.
These are easy to install. If you rent or live in a dorm you can probably get away with installing one but you will have to cover up the holes when you move out. Anyone that has lived in a dorm knows all about covering up thumb tack holes and other damage that happens during the course of the year.
Door Frame Kits
Armor Concepts is a company that makes a variety of door frame reinforcement systems for use on doors installed at houses, apartments, trailers, or RVs. These are not exactly cheap but they are made to be very effective against your door being knocked down. The kits come with just about everything you need. This is a very discreet way to add security as well. Most people will never notice what it is for.
Door Armor MAX
Door stops and jammers
There are devices that you can install on the floor that flip up to form a barrier against the door being forced open.
Wood vs Metal or Fiberglass
Wood doors are easier to breach than steel doors. If you are concerned about security, replace wood exterior doors with a steel door. You can get them that look like wood. Doors are not cheap but the strength and security difference when it comes to steel versus wood or glass is amazing. If I lived in a city I would not have a wood door. There is too much turmoil going on to not be careful.
A lot of rentals have metal doors already. If your rental does not then you may just have to rely on adding some of the other security measures that are discussed in this post.
Fiberglass doors hold up better than wood. We have one and it is amazingly easy to clean and looks like wood so it blends in our house.
Simple alarms that are piercing when a door is opened can give you some valuable reaction time and it may scare off some thieves or criminals that were just looking for an easy target and not ready for any type of security or repercussions.
You can buy small personal security alarms that can be attached to a string across a doorway at ankle level. If someone goes across the string will put out the alarm and cause a high decibel shrieking noise. This alone could cause some criminal types to run. It will at least make them pause for a moment and alert you to the breach in security so you can react fast.
Other alarms include ones that are installed on the door itself and armed manually by you. These can be a bit annoying if people set them off a lot by accident so they are not for everyone, especially if people have drastically different schedules.
The door bar fits into place across your door and uses the frame to brace against. I can see how one of these would be very effective when combined with a system like the Armor Concepts Door Armor Kit. The bar can be removed easily from the inside so it is something you can do nightly for security. The price varies a lot on these bars. I will say that anything is better than nothing but you should pay attention to the breaking force strength when buying so you realize what you are getting. A heavier duty bar is going to cost more but have a breaking strength rating of 3000 lbs.
While door bars are adjustable, very wide doors may require further research. Most bars adjust up to 44″ or 46″. In the USA, standard doors are 36 inches but plenty exist that are 32″ and 34″.
Dorricade Door Bar
Brackets and a 2 x4
While wood is not the strongest, you can get brackets that attach to a door so you put an iron bar to two across your door or use a 2 x 4″. Personally I would add a steel T-Post or maybe two of them. Those are made to withstand cattle and they are $5 or less each. The brackets may cost a little but you may be able to figure out something that costs less and will hold your makeshift bar or fence post.
Sliding glass doors
I recommend a thick window film to prevent breakage and shards if you have sliding glass doors. Please take a look at my article on window films for some suggestions.
My grandma used to jam a cut off broom handle into the track of her sliding glass doors. While a stick will work, you can buy devices that are stronger and that can be used to jam up other doors too. This is handy because they often come in packs of two or more anyway and they are affordable. The security measures I am recommending such as window security film and jamming devices are great for owners or renters. You may have to scrub the glass a little if you move to remove any film residue but it is very minimal.
Sliding glass doors are a security concern no matter what you do but what I have suggested will offer you a lot more security than what most people have. I would also suggest making sure you keep blinds closed at times or if you leave them open, don’t leave a lot of valuables out when you leave. Unless you get the type of film that blocks anyone from looking in but allows you to look out, blinds and curtains are the way to go. The film has the advantage of looking the same all the time so thieves cannot spot a routine like leaving the blinds closed when you are away.
Replace all the screws on your door frame and hardware with longer, thicker, and stronger ones.
Building a house makes you notice things and one thing my husband Matt noticed was how ridiculous the screws are that are included in door hardware. They are incredibly weak and short for something that is supposed to be an entry point into your home and provide security for you and your family.
You can replace screws one at a time so that you don’t have to completely take a door down. Replacing the screws is something you can do if you rent a house or apartment too. You will want to match the color of the screws so it doesn’t look weird to a landlord, but it is not going to cause any major damage. Replacing screws is a very cheap way to significantly increase the ability of your door to hold up if someone tries to knock it down.
You can always add door improvements a little at a time to make it more affordable.
Reinforcing doorways and taking extra security precautions is a budget friendly way to improve your safety and defensive position. Screws to replace weak ones are going to cost under $5 even if you get something fancy. Small alarms are fast and don’t cost much either.
Door security items are not always something that looks ugly or weird.
There are so many beautiful locks, deadbolts, and other security hardware that can be purchased so if you have someone in the house that is concerned about the appearance or apprehensive about investing energy into security improvements, showing them that it can add to the beauty of the living space can help at least some.
You can use multiple bolt locks on a door. The traditional bolt lock is engaged in the door frame.
Locks that have a similar look can go on the inside and provide some extra security.
Alise Slide Bolt Gate Latch Safety Door Lock with Padlock Hole
This is a good solution for adding security to inside or outside of the door. You can add a padlock for additional security.
There are a lot of different lock styles out there. Some are designed to be harder to cut off than others. An inexpensive Masterlock usually takes care of things but there may be some things you want to secure that are very valuable. You also need to consider how the lock will function with a chain or anything else you may be using.
You can put back some locks and hardware in your preps for later use if you don’t want a ton of different locks cluttering up your door.
In some areas people may think it is a little odd to come to your house and see so many locks so if you are worried about that you can buy some add on locks and put them back in cases times get tough and your area starts to not be as safe.
Just remember to have a few tools on hand like a screw driver or small battery powered drill so you can install fast.
Solutions For Those That Travel
Some people have to travel a lot for work and others like to travel for pleasure or to visit friends and family. During the course of my research for this post I discovered some options for those that stay at AirBnBs, hotels, motels, etc. There are some travel security locks that you will barely notice in your bag.
Honestly I don’t really travel so I have not thought about the fact that lodging establishments give keys to employees all the time. Who is to say that copies are not made by some? What about AirBnBs where you are often staying at someones private residence?
Hardcore Defense For SHTF
There are some things you can do to make your door something that someone will not get past. This is dangerous and not something you want to risk if you have kids and pets but if you are taking refuge somewhere and you need something severe to protect yourself and others while asleep or under siege, you sometimes have to get mean.
Barbed wire or fishing line and hooks at foot or shin level
You can always string something mean in front of a doorway for extra protection during awful times. If you have gloves it is fairly easy to remove when no longer desired. You could even put it up just at night and remove in the morning.
There are numerous traps and methods to make a doorway formidable or even deadly if needed. Youtube is full of videos on how to make various traps and devices for major defense.
Additional items to have near by in case of intrusion
I have always lived in a house where a gun was nearby if trouble arose. You don’t have to have a gun to have a formidable weapon at your disposal. A good baseball bat, especially one designed for self defense is inexpensive and effective.
Weapons are a personal choice. If you want options beyond firearms, check out my article on “Best Non-Lethal Weapons for The Prepared Individual”. Keep in mind that while you have a right to defend yourself in your home, someone breaking in may just be some dumb kid that might want to steal a little something but that is not necessarily out to inflict great harm.
Some would say that they are asking for it if they decide to do something stupid like enter a private residence but at the same time you may want to consider your situation a little bit and not be too trigger happy and do something you regret.
Do you have any tricks or tips for making a door harder to break down? Have you been the victim of a break-in? What did you learn from your experience that may be helpful to others?