October 2010 Edition

How To Reinforce Doors 

One of our neighbors just had their house broken into, and the burglar entered by kicking in the front door. Can you give us some tips to prevent this from happening to our home? 
The Family Handyman had an excellent article on reinforcing your doors, and the following is part of the article: 
I never realized how easy it is to kick in a solid door that has old hardware until I tried it on our demonstration door.  With two kicks in only five seconds, I destroyed the door jamb and was in the house.
You need to upgrade the deadbolt and lockset plates of your exterior doors if you haven’t already done so. FBI burglary statistics show that 65 percent of break-ins occur by forcing in the front, back or garage service door (not to mention the 12 percent of entries where burglars find your “hidden” key or simply walk in through an unlocked door).
Odds of Home Burglary
Your house is at greater risk if: 
It sits on a corner lot (more visible to a browsing burglar and a natural place to stop and ask for directions)
It is located close to a major highway exit (less than 1 mile)
It is located on a through street, which gives a burglar a quicker escape (dead-end streets and cul-de-sacs are safer)
It borders a wooded area or playground (provides concealed access for burglars)
It is in a wealthier neighborhood  
Effective burglary deterrents: 
Burglar alarm installed
Deadbolt locks on all doors
House is occupied
Newspaper and mail picked up
Lights and noise (TV, radio) inside house (set on timer when gone)
Car in the driveway
Motion-activated exterior lights
Dog in the house
Buying a Deadbolt 
Most people choose a deadbolt for its color or finish, but when entry security is paramount, the critical deadbolt feature is its grade. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) subjects all locks and components to attacks by hammers, saws, wrenches and other tools. Then it grades the lock: Grade 1 (best and toughest), Grade 2 or Grade 3.
Most locks you find in home centers and hardware stores are Grade 2 or 3. Some Grade 2 locks may list Grade 1 components on the package, but that doesn’t give the lock a Grade 1 rating. However, Grade 2 is still a good-quality lock for residential use. We only found one fully compliant Grade 1 deadbolt in local home centers and hardware stores. Professional locksmiths also are a good resource to find Grade 1 deadbolts.
Before you shop for a deadbolt, measure the hole size where the current cylinder fits, as well as the “backset” distance from the center of the cylinder hole to the edge of the door. Most new deadbolts require a 2-1/8 in. cylinder hole, but some of them have inserts to fit the smaller 1-1/2 in. hole, so you don’t have to drill to enlarge the hole.
The backset distance is usually either 2-3/8 or 2-3/4 in., so make sure the new deadbolt has the identical backset. Most new locks are adjustable to fit either backset dimension. Just read the box carefully (you may have to open it and read the directions to find the information).
Also decide whether to buy a single cylinder (keyed on exterior side of lock only) or a double cylinder deadbolt (keyed on both sides). Check local building codes too, as they may prohibit double cylinder locks for fire safety reasons (it’s more difficult to escape because you must have the key).
Install a heavy-duty strike plate to strengthen the door jamb. We didn’t use the strike plate that came with the deadbolt. We opted for a more secure strike box plate that features four screws instead of two. (Two screws are installed inside the strike box to add strength.) Mark the center of the old deadbolt strike plate, then temporarily install the new faceplate and deeply score around it to mark its position.
Next, remove the plate, then chisel and drill out space for both the new plate and the strike box. If the strike box is larger than the existing hole, use a 1-in. spade bit to bore two holes, spaced apart the width and the depth of the box. Now remove the wood with a wood chisel to fit both the strike box plate and the faceplate. Finally, mount the plate and box and attach them with four 3-in. screws. Predrill pilot holes into the wall studs to make the screws easier to drive. Set the screws snug to the plate; overdriving might bow the jamb.
Three-inch screws will go through the frame and penetrate the wall studs 1-1/2 to 2 in. Angle the screws back slightly into the wall to make sure they hit the studs. The studs become the primary door reinforcement, not the jamb.
Now, kick back and rest a little easier, knowing you’ve made your home more secure.  
By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine: September 2004

If you have a question, change of address, comment, home tip or would like to send Home Tips to your clients, send your letter to Home Tips, Christian Building Inspectors, Inc., 3697 Habersham Lane, Duluth, Georgia 30096. You can E-Mail your questions to us at rodharrison@christianbuildinginspectors.com. We reserve the right to edit questions for length.

Quote Of The Month 

"The harder you work the luckier you get.”

Gary Player 

A Tip Of The Hat To:

Patty Burke

Prudential Georgia Realty

925 Sanders Road

Cumming, Georgia 30041

**** Thank You****