Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Prudent Prepping: Hardware For Doors

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Now we concentrate on what to do in, and how to plan for, the long term via Prudent Prepping.

In a recent post to the Blue Collar Prepping Facebook page (join us, we have FUN!), the importance of making and keeping doors secure was shown. The picture had the standard 3/4" door strike plate screws replaced with 3" long screws to attach the strike plate not only to the door frame, but also the wall framing hidden behind the door frame and trim. This is a great start to door security, but more can be done.

Door Security Options
At the very minimum, replacing the too-short screws with longer ones is a good start. Care has to be taken when installing the longer screws not to over-drive the screw. Splitting or warping of the frame can occur since there is usually no bracing at the level of the strike plate and the wall studs, and you could actually 'pull' the frame away from the door. For those with the proper tools and knowledge, removing the door trim on the strike side will make placing extra shims or spacers easy, but will also complicate the the job.

Shimming with the trim off

This is a picture of an interior door being shimmed from both sides. Doing this to your front door will increase the difficulty of the job (depending on the exterior finish of the house) and might be best left to a contractor.

Replacement Strike Plates
One of the easiest ways to boost security is to add larger strikes to the frame, which usually use more screws to secure the plate to the wall.

Large Strike Plates

Shown are replacement latch, deadbolt and combination strike plates, with similar items available from your local Big Box or hardware store. Depending on the spacing of the dead bolt and regular latch (you do have a dead bolt installed, right?) two separate pieces may have to be used. For those installing a blank/undrilled door, or are lucky enough to have the proper spacing, the one piece dead bolt and latch plate is the perfect solution:
  • It comes with extra screws to hold everything securely 
  • Both latching points are aligned 
  • It has a clean, neat and elegant look while keeping the door secure 
One important point needs to be mentioned: the directions for these plates may not mention that removing extra wood to keep the finished plate flush with the surface of the frame is required! Mounting the new plate on the surface of the frame may keep your door from closing properly!

Door Support
Keeping your door held together is another point of security, and while not as clean and neat as the hidden strike plates, reinforcing the door itself at the knob is another option.

Using this reinforcement plate requires the distance from the center of the hole to the edge of the door (called setback) and the thickness of your door match to perfectly.

A Few Details
All of the screws included in the hardware kits (and most popular replacement screws) are Phillips type screws. Driving this type of screw with a standard driver/drill can, and usually will, strip the head of at least one or more of your screws. I personally use an Impact Driver to install long Phillips wood screws to prevent stripping heads. Here is a short video of the Impact in use for those not familiar with the tool.

If you only have a drill, don't worry; there are some other screw options to consider with several different 'star' shapes being popular. Below is one of the oldest of the star types: the Torx head screw. Using Torx, Spax or other non-Phillips screw heads with your driver/drill will improve your attitude and speed up the job, in my experience.

Shown for drive type. Use longer screws for the best results.
The Takeaway
  • Added security should be a priority.
  • For very few dollars and little time, you can make a big difference.
  • Matching your tools and materials to the job reduces headaches.
  • I have not done these modifications to the house I'm in now because the landlord has quality  lock sets already on the exterior doors!
  • Nothing was purchased this week.
  • For those interested, the Makita Combo Kit is available from Amazon for  $179 with Prime. Check with your local tool dealers; occasionally you will find prices as good around town.
As a reminder, any purchases made from Amazon through the links in this blog help pay for this site and do not increase your cost one penny!

If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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