In the United States, there are over 3000 burglaries a day. That's one break-in every 30 seconds.
Of these burglaries, 55.7% involve forced entry.
Burglars and lowlives look for homes that are simple targets, and they salivate at the thought of a weak door that's easy to kick in.
In this guide, we're going to cover 11 of the best ways to secure your door against forced attacks—such as kick-ins. We'll begin by covering the four primary elements and reinforcements that are critical to maintaining a secure door—missing one of these first four compromises the effectiveness of the rest.
Then we'll look at other ways to reinforce your door that will make them virtually kick-proof. I guarantee that if you implement half of these tips, you'll have the best sleep of your life.
Let's get started!
1. Strong Door and Doorframe
Good security is built upon a strong foundation.
If your door or door jambs (door frame) are weak or structurally damaged, the best locks in the world and other reinforcements are not going to have much of an impact.
You should replace your exterior door or doorframe if:
- There are wide spaces or gaps between the door and door frame
- The door has a hollow-core
- Your door/doorframe is structurally damaged: cracked, warping, or rotting
If your door meets any of these issues, replacing it is the first and most important thing you can do to increase your home security.
It can also be the most expensive. According to HomeAdvisor, a standard exterior door can cost between $525 – $1,700, depending on the type of door and labor. If you only need to replace the door frame, it costs about $250.
If you've decided you need to replace your door, the next step is to consider a door material. This will impact its overall strength, durability, and maintenance.
The most popular door materials are wood, fiberglass, and steel.
- Wooden Doors: There is nothing better looking than a wooden door, but they are the least secure, are susceptible to rot and warping, require the most maintenance, and are generally the most expensive option.
- Fiberglass Doors: Fiberglass is a good middle-tier option. It's not as pretty as wood, but it's stronger, generally less expensive, and requires less maintenance.
- Steel Doors: Steel is the cheapest and strongest option for an exterior door. However, repairing dents and scratches in steel is more challenging, and they are susceptible to rust if not taken care of.
If you're looking to reduce cost and maximize security, steel doors are your best option.
Once you have a good door, the rest of this list will truly give your door ironclad armor!
2. Strike Plate Reinforcements
After a good door, the next most important reinforcement is the strike plate. It's also one of the cheapest and easiest upgrades.
The strike plate holds the bolt from your lockset, and if it is weak, a simple kick could rip it from the doorframe.
There are two ways you can reinforce the strike plate.
- Upgrade the mounting screws
- Upgrade the standard strike plate
Upgrading the Mounting Screws
Most strike plates are installed using short 1" screws (some even shorter). In fact, many deadbolts—even good ones—come with short strike plate screws.
Never use these.
Instead, upgrade your screws to at least 3" wood screws, and as large as the strike holes will let you (usually thread size #8).
Believe it or not, this cheap and simple upgrade makes a significant difference in the strength and sturdiness of your door.
Replace the Deadbolt Strike Plate
If you want to further reinforce the strike plate, consider upgrading to an elongated deadbolt strike plate.
These plates are generally longer and held in with more screws to help distribute the force of any impact that is applied to the door.
Additionally, I'll be talking about reinforcement kits (which include upgraded door strikes) a little further down this guide.
3. Use a Good Deadbolt
A good deadbolt is among the most important security hardware you'll ever own. But it can also be the most confusing to buy.
To make it easy, there are only three things about a deadbolt that truly matter.
- ANSI Grade: You want a deadbolt that is strong and can withstand brute force without bending or breaking. A good metric to look for that indicates strength and durability are ANSI lock ratings. ANSI grade 1 or ANSI grade 2 are ideal for residential use and will provide the most protection. Avoid grade 3 or non-graded deadbolts.
- 1" Throw Bolt: Ideally, you want a 1 "bolt. The further your deadbolt extends into the doorframe, the more force it will take to kick in. All ANSI grade 1 deadbolts have a 1 "throw bolt.
- Pick, Bump, and Drill Resistance: While most burglars don't pick locks, you always want to cover your bases and get a deadbolt that provides protection against lock picking, lock bumping, and drilling. Look for locks with anti-bump pins and hardened steel inserts near vulnerable areas. Avoid anything that says "pick-proof" because no such thing exists, and that brand can't be trusted to be honest.
If you want a good place to start, check out my list of the best deadbolt door locks. Whether you want a smart lock or a traditional deadbolt, you'll find something on that list that will tickle your fancy and meets the three criteria above.
4. Reinforce the Hinges
Next up are the door hinges! If you have a good door, a strong deadbolt, and have reinforced your strike plate, the hinges are the next weakest link. Let's beef them up a little.
The best and easiest way to reinforce your hinges is to upgrade the screws.
Just like the strike plate, hinges are typically installed with very short screws. In fact, I've had an exterior house door fall off the hinges because the screws were so short.
Replacing the screws with 3 "wood screws will add significant strength to your door.
You can also add steel reinforcement plates that extend the connection points of your hinges and distribute the force of any attacks over more surface area.
5. Reinforce the Edge of the Door
The holes that are drilled into the edge of the door allow passage of the bolt and latch. But they also create thin and weak sections on the door. With enough force or a good kick near the lockset, these areas can easily break, and your lock will rip through your door.
While this isn't a true vulnerability of steel doors, it can be with most wooden and even some composite fiberglass doors.
To strengthen this weakened section, you can install a door wrap. These steel reinforcements wrap around the vulnerable section of your door and are held in place by your deadbolt and doorknob.
I highly recommend door wraps, and Defender Security makes some nice, high-quality steel ones that actually look good—which is sometimes rare for security hardware.
6. Door Reinforcement Kits
If you want to reinforce your door but don't want to buy all the pieces separately, you can also use a door reinforcement kit.
These kits come with everything you need to reinforce the door frame, lockset, strike plate, and hinges.
There are a few of these kits on the market. I recommend Armor Concept's door reinforcement kit. It's low profile, looks good, and is made from 18 gauge steel.
7. Use a Door Reinforcement Lock
Until this point, we've covered methods to modify and reinforce existing security hardware. Now let's look at some additional reinforcements you can add to take it up a notch.
Up first, and one of the best and cheapest security devices you can own are door reinforcement locks. I personally use TOYFUL's reinforcement locks.
These little latches are cheap, easy to install, and very effective. You mount them on the interior side of your doors and flip over the latch to activate them. They're kinda like door chains, but they actually work and secure the door.
Most of them are rated up to withstand 800 pounds of force. In combination with your deadbolt, your door will put up a fight against even the most forceful kicks.
They're also tamper-proof and will protect your door against lock picking and lock bumping. Even if someone steals or copies your key, they won't be able to get in.
However, there is one drawback to reinforcement locks. Because they can only be locked and unlocked from the inside, you won't be able to activate them when leaving your home. But they can protect other doors while you're away, and you can use other equipment to protect and monitor your main door.
I can't say enough good things about these latches, and they truly give you peace of mind.
8. Security Bar and Door Barricades
Next up are door barricades, security bars, and door jammers.
These devices are placed in front of the door or up against it to provide an additional brace in the event of a forced attack.
There are quite a few types of barricades that can be used, but let's look at a few of the most popular and effective ones.
Security bars are an effective and mobile way to secure a door from being kicked in. One end of the security bar wedges under the doorknob, while the other end extends to the ground.
If any force is applied to the door, the security bar will dig into the ground, further fortifying its position. Unless the bar snaps or slips, or the doorknob breaks, the door isn't opening.
A good security bar is one of the best investments you can make. They can be used on almost any type of door, and you can bring them with you anywhere you go. They're also great for glass doors, apartments, and rentals where you can't make other types of fortifications.
Currently, there is only one security bar that I recommend called the BuddyBar Door Jammer. It's a little more expensive, but it is a beast, and if there was anything I'd place my life behind, this is it. I don't say that often about security products.
Likewise, avoid plastic security bars like those made by Master Lock and Brinks.
Floor braces are unique jammers that are bolted to the floor near the door and have a removable metal slab. When the slab is removed, the door can open freely. When the slab is inserted, it provides a secondary barricade if the deadbolt fails.
These things are strong, and there are tons of videos of them being tested. Two brands worth considering are OnGuard (which is a more expensive option but significantly easier to use and stronger) and Nightlock.
They work great for any type of door, including double doors (which are pretty hard to secure effectively).
Door Barricade Bar
Barricade bars or horizontal door security bars are a tried and true method for reinforcing a door.
Barricade bars have two brackets mounted on either side of the door and use a bar to brace the door.
You can make these on a budget using wood, brackets, and screws, or you can purchase premade commercial bars made to withstand some serious force.
Doorricade makes a nice low-profile barricade bar that can be purchased in different lengths. You can even get one for your double doors.
These types of barricades are great for garages and other secondary doors. Using them on your front door might give your household some Mad Max vibes but will make your door virtually kick-proof.
9. Get a Doorbell Camera
Beyond physical reinforcements, there are preventative measures you can take that will deter burglars from ever attempting to break into your home.
Video doorbells are proven to do just that.
In fact, the Los Angeles Police Department found burglaries were reduced by 50% in a neighborhood using video doorbells compared to one that wasn't.
Video doorbells are one of the best ways to monitor your doorway, even when you're not home. They alert you when someone approaches your door and let you communicate with them without ever opening the door. This is critical because many home invasions occur when homeowners open their doors to speak with unknown visitors.
Personally, I would stay away from Ring (now owned by Amazon). There are a lot better options out there in regarding to price and data privacy.
I recommend the Eufy 2k video doorbell. This little guy stores your video on local storage inside your home, and there are no monthly fees. You can also check out my guide on the best video doorbells with no monthly fees for other great options.
10. Home Security System
I know this isn't the most budget-friendly option on the list. But if you want to take your home security to the next level, then a home security system is worth considering.
A home security system will also do more than just secure your doors.
They will also protect your windows, monitor your home for smoke and carbon monoxide, and even alert the authorities in the event of a break-in.
And they protect your home day and night, even when you're away.
If you decide to go the DIY route, make sure to do your research. There are a lot of great home security systems out there, but not all of them are created equal.
11. Get a Guard Dog
This is probably the most effective (and fun) way to protect your home from burglars.
Dogs are natural protectors and will bark at anything that seems out of place. A burglar is not going to want to deal with a barking dog, so this will deter them from even attempting a break-in.
Not everyone is cut out for owning a dog, in which case you can also use a barking dog alarm that will make a barking noise anytime the sensor is triggered.
But if you are game for a dog, I highly recommend it. Not only will you have a furry security system, but also a loyal friend.
The above tips will make your door more kick resistant and keep your home safe from the woes of the outside world.
Before adding additional hardware or security hardware to your door, focus on strengthing and reinforcing the four fundamental parts of your door: the strike plate, deadbolt, hinges, and the door itself.
Once you have these parts squared away, begin to layer in other reinforcements such as door wraps, night locks, barricades, or security systems. Some methods are more effective than others, but the best way to deter burglars is to have multiple layers of security.
And always remember to lock the door, even when you're home!
Thanks for reading!