The security of most homes relies on a 1-inch piece of soft pine lumber.
Shocking thought, isn’t it?
In all actuality, the weakest link in a door’s locking system isn’t the lock at all, but the door frame.
If you look closely at your entry doors, you’ll notice that the wood is only one inch thick where the
deadbolt inserts into the frame.
To make matters worse, most deadbolt strike plates are only secured by 1 inch screws that don’t anchor into anything behind the door frame.
You can find many surveillance videos online of actual home robberies that show how easy it is to gain entry into a home by kicking in a door that isn’t reinforced. One kick and a thief is in.
Over 70% of home break-ins happen this way.
In this article I will tell you how to reinforce your entry doors to the point where even a guy like John Cena can’t kick it in. I also recommend you check out the best door reinforcement kit.
First, get a heavy-duty mending plate. Try to get one that’s made of 12 gauge galvanized steel.
Place the mending plate on the back of the door casing and center it on the deadbolt.
Trace an outline of the mending plate on the wood and an outline of the deadbolt hole on the mending plate.
Cut a hole in the mending plate to accept the deadbolt. This can be done in a number of ways. This
really isn’t that hard to do.
Chisel out a little wood within the outlined area on the back of the door frame. Once the mending plate can fit in the chiseled area, you’re done chiseling.
Attach the plate to the frame with 1/4 inch screws or some that are short enough that won’t go all the way through the frame. This serves the purpose of holding the mending plate in place on the frame.
Drill holes in the door frame through the pre-drilled holes in the mending plate. I drill the total of
four holes that were evenly spaced throughout the plate.
Countersink the holes to better accept the screw heads. This will help you line up the screws through those holes in the plate during the door installation process.
Place the door in the opening and secure the hinge side.
Place wood behind the hinges and drive 2 three and a half inch, number-10, screws in each hinge.
Make sure the hinge side is plumb and that the door opens and closes correctly.
When the hinge side is secured place a piece of wood in the crack between the house framing and the mending plate that’s close to the length of the mending plate.
This will better secure the door by preventing the door frame from being twisted if forces applied.
Drive four inch number-10 screws into the four holes that will drill through the door frame.
Now it’s time to put a strike plate.
Be sure to choose one that’s heavy-duty and put it in with three and a half inch number-10 screws.
You may have to chisel out some wood and drill holes through the mending plate so you could use the longer screws.
The throw of the deadbolt should go through both plates which will make it next to impossible to kick open.
Reinforce a Door That’s Already Installed
A piece of angle iron or a mending plate can be used to reinforce an existing exterior door.
First, remove the trim to expose the door casing where the deadbolt is located. Be careful not to
damage it because it can be reused.
Hold the angle iron or mending plate in place and trace an outline on the door jamb. An angle iron, 8 to 10 inches long, will do.
I used one that is approximately 3 by 7 inches and made of 16 gauge galvanized steel.
Chisel some wood out of the door casing by following the line that you traced. Chisel out enough so that the top of the metal is even with the top of the door casing. This will allow the trim to fit evenly
on the door casing when it’s reinstalled.
Also place a piece of wood in the crack between the door casing and the framing that’s close to the length of the metal reinforcement. This will better secure the door by preventing the door frame
from twisting if forces applied.
Make sure the metal reinforcement you use isn’t wider than your trim, otherwise it won’t be completely covered.
Attach the plate to the door casing with one and a half inch screws into the houses framing with three and a half inch screws.
Remember to drill pilot holes to prevent the wood from splitting.
After the door has been reinforced, be sure to seal the gap between the door casing and the
framing with insulation spray foam. This is a good insulator and a good adhesive that will help hold the door case in place.
After the insulation foam has dried, put the trim back on. The backside of the trim may need to be chiseled out to get a nice fit.