Feeling safe in your home can begin with burglar-proofing your front door. As the main point of entry to your home, it's important not to leave anything to chance when reinforcing your front door's security.
With winter months bringing longer nights and providing more opportunities for intruders, having peace of mind with an impenetrable front door can help you feel at ease.
How to burglar-proof a front door
Securing your front door will involve measures that will make your door physically very difficult or even impossible to break into, and burglar deterrent methods to scare them off by making them aware of your security measures.
1. Install a video doorbell
This popular and relatively new piece of tech has become one of the most popular intruder deterrents.
'A video doorbell is one of the best ways to burglar-proof a front door – I would recommend one to anyone, whether they live in a house or apartment,' says Christenda Costa, CEO of Gadget Review. 'Video doorbells can help you keep a close eye on who is at your front door, and they can store video in the cloud or locally for later review.
'In addition to security benefits, video doorbells can allow you to interact with someone at your front door using your smartphone or tablet without needing to get up.'
As an owner of a smart doorbell, this gives me peace of mind when I'm out of the house, since every time someone comes to the front door the motion sensors alert my phone, which I click through to see live footage of whoever is at the front door.
While I have only ever used the microphone feature on the smart doorbell to tell friends who come knocking that I'm away or mail carriers to leave my items in a discrete location, I've heard of other homeowners who have used it to shout at prospective intruders coming to their door. This can be a surprisingly efficient deterrent since it will let any burglars know they are being recorded and that the homeowner is actively aware of their presence.
Christenda Costa advises, 'While Ring doorbells, available at Amazon are great and the most popular options right now, I would recommend the Eufy Security Wi-Fi Video Doorbell as a great alternative. I have personally had this model for a few months now, and was drawn to the fact that with this video doorbell, I wouldn’t have to pay a monthly subscription because of its local storage.'
2. Reinforce strike plates
It is surprisingly easy for intruders to force their way through a locked door with a strike plate (the metal security component that works with the look to keep the door securely shut) that only has half-inch screws.
Ritika Asrani, owner of St Maarten Real Estate recommends, 'Reinforce the strike plate on your door frame with longer screws. This simple upgrade makes it much more challenging for an intruder to kick in the door. Use screws that are at least 3 inches in length.'
We recommend this Prime-Line E 2796 Deadbolt Strike from Amazon.
3. Invest in smart locks
Smart locks offer convenience and security, allowing you to remotely control access to your home to provide an extra layer of protection.
'Invest in a smart lock with advanced security features,' advises Ritika Asrani. 'Some smart locks have built-in alarms that activate if someone tries to tamper with the lock. Additionally, choose one with encryption to protect against hacking attempts.'
Some smart locks can generate temporary access codes for guests and two-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access. We suggest this Smart Lock, ULTRALOQ U-Bolt Pro from Amazon.
4. Make front door glass impossible to get through
If your front door has glass windows, this can be one of the main ways through which burglars can enter your home by smashing the window and opening the door from the inside or climbing in.
The first thing you should consider is ensuring the glass is not large enough for someone to fit through. This can mean that if you are buying doors with glass the panes are divided up by metal or wooden poles (such as in the image above), to ensure the glass areas cannot be climbed through if smashed. Alternatively, David Mason, interior designer and the founder of Knobs suggests, 'You can also add an extra layer of security by adding window bars or grates to prevent intruders from entering through the windows.
'It is important to make sure that all your doors and windows are properly sealed and weather-stripped so that burglars cannot pick them open.'
For another layer of protection for all door windows, Ritika Asrani recommends applying security film: 'This transparent film makes it difficult to shatter the glass, preventing burglars from accessing the lock or reaching inside to unlock the door.'
Reinforcing windows with laminated or tempered glass will make them much more difficult to break than regular glass. You can find shatterproof glass such as this Clear Security and Safety Shatterproof Window Film at Amazon.
5. Choose the right front door
If you are looking to invest in a new front door, choosing the right front door design to improve its security can be one of the most effective ways to make your front door burglar-proof. You can check out our guide for how much a new front door will cost.
'In my experience, choosing the right front door is the foundation of home security. In hindsight, trying to burglar-proof a security risk door is counterintuitive. A solid core or metal door provides substantial resistance to forced entry,' says Rich Mullins, interior design expert and owner of H2O Plumbing.
Alternatively, you can replace the materials of your front door with sturdier ones. Austin Fain, owner of Perfect Steel Solutions explains, 'Solid wood or metal doors are more resistant to forced entry than hollow-core doors. Consider replacing your front door with one of these materials.'
6. Install motion-activated exterior lighting
'Proper exterior lighting is a powerful deterrent,' advises Rich Mullins. 'Motion-activated security lights near the front door will make it challenging for burglars to approach undetected. When installing your outdoor light, ensure that the lighting is bright and covers all potential entry points. Timers or smart lighting systems can simulate your presence by turning lights on and off when you're away.
'It's possible that neighbors can see what's happening and intervene if necessary,' adds David Scott, Top Reviews' CEO, and co-founder.
'The light can dissuade a thief in a hurry. This can occur when other opportunistic burglars arrive to test the door and try their luck. Another possibility is that someone scoping out a nice spot could see a light and conclude it isn't worth the danger. It need not be very expensive to have a reliable motion-sensing security light.'
We suggest this Home Zone Security Lights Motion Sensor Flood Light from Walmart.
7. Use security technology
Consider installing a home security system that includes door and window sensors, motion detectors, and 24/7 monitoring to secure your door and scare away intruders. However, if you want to secure your home without a full security system, other smaller methods can be quite effective.
Simple solutions such as hanging a bell on the inside of the door can be a highly effective deterrent. The sudden bell sound can startle a burglar attempting to force the front door open, prompting them to leave quickly. Moreover, it can alert yourself or neighbors to call the police. You can find a Multifunctional Wireless Motion Sensor Alarm Doorbell at Walmart.
'Even false cameras are typically quite effective at keeping intruders away,' adds David Scott. 'Video surveillance systems can stop burglars from reaching your front door.' So, whether you use real or false cameras, or even just stick a 'house under surveillance sticker', such as this TICONN 24 Hour Video Surveillance Sign from Amazon, this should prevent intruders from even trying to enter through your front door.
8. Door locks
'If a brand-new door isn't within your budget, a good starting point is to fit bolted locks at both the top and bottom of your existing door. These are relatively simple to install and source,' says Phil Taylor, founder of Best Steering Wheel Lock. 'Next, consider a single deadbolt lock that locks only from the inside. If it suits your situation better, you might opt for a double-cylinder lock. Both versions work effectively in securing your home. If you're comfortable with DIY tasks, installation can be a breeze.'
Another effective option is a door chain since they need to be opened from the inside.
'For an additional layer of security,' Phil Taylor continues, 'think about adding a reinforcement defender security lock. This isn't your conventional keyless lock; it's more of a sturdy metal block that pushes against the door, offering added resistance you want to position this near the middle of the door to get maximum effect.' You can view the top Defender Security Door Reinforcement Lock at Amazon.
You could also consider a security bar or door brace on the interior side of your door. These devices wedge under the doorknob, making it nearly impossible to force the door open. We recommend this Ideal Security Door Security Bar from Walmart.
What are the best deadbolt locks?
The best deadbolt locks to prevent home invasion are those with Grade 1 rating. These deadbolts have a one-inch throw bolt that extends deeply into the door frame, providing excellent protection.
'Install a Grade 1 deadbolt lock with a one-inch throw bolt. Ensure it has a reinforced strike plate and long screws to secure it deep into the door frame,' says Chris Purvis, owner of CCA Concrete Contractors. Ensure that the deadbolt strike plate is secured with long screws.
How to upgrade door hinges to make it more secure?
To make your door hinges more secure, 'Replace standard hinges with heavy-duty, three-inch screws. This will make it harder for burglars to kick in the door,' recommends Austin Fain, CEO of Perfect Steel Solutions.
Remember to periodically inspect the condition of your front door's security hardware, such as its locks, deadbolts, and hinges. Repair or replace any damaged or worn-out parts promptly and lubricate them as needed to ensure they work smoothly.
Finally, limit visibility into your home by keep valuables out of sight from the front door's windows, so potential burglars cannot see inside. This may mean using frosted window film such as this Frosted Privacy Window Film, from Walmart.
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Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past five years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including recipe articles, reviewing products, writing ‘how to’ and ‘when to’ articles. Lola now writes about everything from organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate student, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.
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