Fortify the service door
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Photo 1: Lock reinforcer
Prevent the door from splitting by wrapping
it with a metal lock reinforcer. Mark
the edge of the door and chisel a shallow
recess so the reinforcer is flush to the
door's edge when it's installed.
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Photo 2: Heavy-duty strike plate
Reinforce the weakest link on your
service door by installing a heavy-duty
strike plate with extra-long screws that
penetrate the framing at least 1 in.
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Photo 3: Anchor hinges to frame
Strengthen the hinge side of the door by replacing one of the screws in each hinge
with a 3-in.-long screw that penetrates the framing.
For a service door, the solution is to
install a good-quality dead bolt and
reinforce the doorjamb and hinges to
resist a brute-force attack. The best dead
bolts have an ANSI Grade 1 rating, but
even a Grade 2 lock will provide above-average
security. Look for the rating on
the package. But even the best dead bolt
won’t help if the doorjamb and door
aren’t reinforced. Before installing the
dead bolt, strengthen the lock area of
the door with a metal sleeve (Photo 1).
Then install a strong strike plate that’s
securely attached to the wall framing
with long screws (Photo 2). Heavy-duty
strike plates are available at home centers
and hardware stores.
Hinges that are installed with the
usual wimpy 3/4-in. screws are nearly
as easy to kick in as a wimpy door
latch. So while you’ve got the drill and
screws handy, remove one of the short
screws nearest the weather stripping
from each hinge and replace it with a
3-in. screw (Photo 3). If you have an
attached garage, use these same methods
to reinforce the door from the
garage into your house. Also make sure
to keep this door locked; otherwise, a
burglar who gains access to the garage can walk right in.
Bar the windows to prevent break-ins
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Make your own window bars for a fraction of the cost of factory-made bars.
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Bolt the bars to the frame with tees bolted in place by lag screws and washers.
If they can’t simply enter through an
open door, burglars will often try to
come through windows because most
are relatively easy to pry open or break.
Breaking a window is their last choice
because of the noise. Luckily it’s not
difficult to eliminate this chink in the
man-cave armor. First, make sure to
lock windows if possible. If you have
windows that you don’t open, screw
them shut. But for the ultimate window
security, add strong bars across the
window so that thieves can’t get in
even if they pry open the window or
break the glass.
Ready-made bars are available, but it’s
easier and cheaper to use a few lengths
of 1/2-in. steel pipe. Use either
precut and threaded pieces of 1/2-in.
steel pipe or measure for the lengths you
need and have the pipe cut and threaded
at the hardware store. Space bars
every 6 to 8 in. Get two
tees, two 3/8-in. washers
and two 3-1/2-in. x 3/8-in.
lag screws for each bar.
Thread a tee onto each end
of the pipes. Then attach
the pipes to the framing
by running a lag screw
through a washer, then
through the tee and into the framing.