DIY: Reinforcing an Entry Door

I’ve been to a few home invasion scenes and the two things that most of them had in common were a big tennis shoe print on the door and a broken door jamb. (Yep, it really does only take one good kick to bust out the door jamb on most homes)

There’s not much you can do to stop someone from attempting to break into your home but there are several things that can be done to slow them down and possibly discourage them. Nobody wants to come home to find their home ransacked and their possessions missing. To prevent this, protective measures, such as an ADT or Safemart home security system can be installed. This type of system will act as the ears (and sometimes the eyes) of your home.

Statistics show that home invaders generally rely on the element of surprise…. take that away from them and they could just decide to move on to an easier victim.

This project is one of several inexpensive things that we’ve done to make it more complicated to force entry into our home. Our goal is to slow up or stop a potential home invasion by having one obstacle after another in place and buy enough time for us to respond appropriately.

The photos below show how we “kick-proofed” one of our entry doors by strengthening the back side of the jamb with an aluminum plate.

This plate must completely cover the thin section of wood that the doorknob  latches fit into and anchor solidly to the nearest wall stud.

 

The first step is to remove the trim on the lock side of the door and locate the nearest wall stud. Normally the door frame will be attached directly to a stud but that may not always be the case.

Measure the distance from the edge of the door frame to the far edge of the nearest stud and the height from above the deadbolt to the below doorknob.  The plate shown below is 11″ x 3″. We used 1/4″ thick aluminum.

Large lag bolts were used to anchor the plate to the stud. We considered using bolts that went all the way through the wall but decided against it. It’s best to drill large pilot holes in the studs before installing the lag bolts. You could possibly split or crack a stud by forcing a lag bolt.

You will most likely have to grind a relief into the plate to allow for the door’s strike plate. This proved to be the most time consuming portion of this project. This is a critical area so take your time and remove as little metal as possible.

 

Once the plate is installed and the door opens and closes properly, cut the upper and lower sections of door trim and reinstall them.

The leftover piece of trim needs to be drilled for the screws that will be used to attach it to the plate. It will also need to be counter-bored to fit over the heads of the lag bolts.

After the trim piece is drilled, hold it in place and mark the plate for drilling and tapping the threads. We had 10-32 machine screws so that’s what the plate was tapped for.

The total project time was around an hour and a half. The cost was minimal since we already had the tools and materials on hand. The only items we needed to purchase were the lag bolts.

There are several ways to reinforce an entry door.  The TEOTWAWKI Blog has a good article on this subject HERE.

We chose the method shown above not only because it was basically free but also because this door’s location didn’t provide too many other options. The plate shown above can also provide protection against a break-in while no one is home, something that some other types of door reinforcements don’t offer.

This door also has 400# chain and eyebolts that are bolted through the door and the wall instead of a standard sliding door chain.  The original hinge screws were soft like aluminum or brass so they were replaced with longer, higher quality steel screws.

 

Justus

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