Break In Drives Old Louisville Homeowners to Revitalize Entry Door

After a recent break-in at their Old Louisville home, these homeowners needed to upgrade and revitalize their entry door. The original door, with undersized deadbolt lock and inoperable knob lock, was no match for the intruders. The door, jamb and trim were damaged beyond repair so approval was granted by the Louisville Landmark Commission for a replacement door. The commission was established to protect and preserve the distinctive character and historic value of structures in preservation districts and the homeowners were required to use a replacement door that “duplicates the design, proportion, and arrangement of paneling and glazing of the original door”.

Problems existed even before the break-in. Settling of the house combined with warping and bowing of the original wood door required the homeowners to attempt to reduce cold weather drafts by placing a rolled rug at the base of the door. The lack of a true threshold combined with an improperly aligned door sweep on the bottom of the door caused damage to the wood floor finish. The homeowners needed a solution to these problems along with improving their security.

The homeowners selected an IWP solid Mahogany wood door. Custom stain was blended to match the stained wood trim in the interior of the home and to maintain the historic integrity of the home’s design.

The Door Store and Windows installation team worked to retain the original overhead transom by carefully working around it during the removal of the old door and installation of the new door. All of the work, including exterior trim replacement, was performed without ever removing the original transom. The new Mahogany door is a near replica of the original door and conforms to the Landmarks Commission design guidelines. Security was beefed up with an oil-rubbed bronze lockset featuring a multipoint locking system.

 

Burglars Found a Fast and Easy Way Into This Home

We’ve been called to at least five homes in the past 60 days due to a rash of break-ins involving kicked-in doors. In fact, the homeowners involved in this particular break-in were referred to us by the same police officer we had met earlier in the day at another job we were quoting.

The homeowners called us to take a look at their damaged front entry door. Craig Rowe, our Installation Manager, immediately noted that the steel entry door was what is generally called a builder grade or construction grade product which is usually a low cost, average quality version of the product. Many times, builder grade products work fine for their purpose, but trusting your home security to a builder grade door is risky. Most of these doors are made from 26 gauge steel, while better steel entry doors are made from 20 or 22 gauge steel which is almost twice as thick as 26 gauge steel (the lower the gauge, the thicker the steel).

Craig has learned that intruders kick the center of the door to cause the door to fold just slightly which enables them to more easily compromise the lock hardware. Thin metal doors, like the builder grade products on this home, easily fold after just one or two kicks. Thicker metal doors are designed to withstand much more force. In addition, quality lock hardware should include a steel strikeplate installed with at least 3″ long screws to prevent fracturing of the wood door frame. This home had low grade lock hardware that yielded easily to forced entry (notice splintering of wood in frame between the door and sidelite).

How to Improve Security – Sliding Doors

If you missed the first article in this series, see “How To Improve Security – Entry Doors” for a general overview of door security.

Sliding glass patio doors present special challenges to your home’s security. Newer models of sliding doors offer many more security features than older doors, but the easy-to-use design of a sliding door is also its Achilles heel.

“The design of a sliding door requires the active, operable panel to have clearance at the top of the frame to allow for installation and for adjustment of the rollers. Proper roller adjustment allows smooth operation and prevents removal of the panel. Most sliding doors don’t receive adequate attention to keep the roller adjustment properly maintained and that makes the door susceptible to manipulation and forced entry.”

– Craig Rowe, Door Store and Windows Installation Manager

Warning signs that indicate your sliding glass doors might be susceptible to forced entry include:

  • Defective single latch mechanism is vulnerable to being forced open.
  • Improper roller adjustment allows sliding door to be lifted out of tracks.
  • Lack of foot bolt latch on bottom of door track also allows sliding door to be lifted out of tracks.
  • Reliance on a “charley-bar” or wood piece to prevent door from sliding – still susceptible to “lift-out” problem
  • Active panel is located on the outdoor side of sliding door track providing easier access to intruders.

For a period of time, some sliding doors were manufactured with the active, operable door on the outdoor side of the track so that the screen could remain inside the house. Sliding door operable panels should always be on the indoor side of the track.

– Craig Rowe, Door Store and Windows Installation Manager

If you do decide to replace your sliding door, here are some key security features to look for:

  • Choose a unit with at least a two-point locking system (lock engages in two different areas).
  • Look for additional locking features such as foot bolt.
  • Discuss your security concerns with your professional installer for on-site adjustments that can be made to improve the security of your sliding door.

Stop by our Idea Showroom and talk with our door design consultants, Ann Gregory and Dena Shoemaker, for more information.

How to Improve Security – Entry Doors

This is the first in a series of posts on door security. In addition to Entry Doors, we will also spotlight security measures for Double Doors and Sliding Patio Doors.

We see quite a few instances of forced entry in homes…including some attempts that weren’t even noticed by the homeowner. Improving your home’s security doesn’t always require replacing your entry door but you should make sure your door is not an easy mark for forced entry.

Here are some warning signs that indicate your doors might be susceptible to forced entry:

  • Wood doors or door frames that are cracked, rotting or warped
  • Hollow core exterior doors
  • Loose, ill-fitting doors and locks that might be easy to manipulate open
  • Chain locks which are designed for privacy only, not security
  • Missing or loose lock strike plates.  (A strike plate is the metal plate affixed to the house side of the door frame with a hole or holes for the bolt of the door.)
  • Doors with hinges exposed to the outside of your house and equipped with removable hinge pins

If you do decide to replace your entry door, here are some key security features to look for:

  • Choose solid core or paneled wood doors, solid core fiberglass doors, or solid core metal clad doors.
  • Select a door that is at least 1-3/4″ thick.
  • Install a deadbolt with a long throw, at least 1″.
  • Use strike plates with screws longer than 3″ that penetrate through the door jamb and into the house framing.
  • Consider a door with a multi-point locking system that engages at the top, bottom and center of door.
  • If hinges must be exposed to the outside, use hinges with non-removable hinge pins.
  • Even higher levels of security can be attained with optional add-on products such as hinge, jamb and lock reinforcement plates.

You can also take other measures to improve the security around your entrances:

  • Illuminate your entrances at night and regularly check lights and replace burnt out bulbs.
  • Keep landscaping trimmed and at least three feet away from the opening to eliminate hiding places.
  • Re-key or change all locks when moving into a new home.
  • Ask your neighbors to watch for strangers outside your home.  And return the favor!

Home security begins with prevention. Some experts believe that more than 85% of thieves enter through doors, so effective door security is essential. If your entry doors exhibit some of the characteristics of an easy mark for burglars, stop by and let us help you improve your home security with a new entry door.

Feel free to share your favorite security tips below.

Home Security Tips

This morning, I read a blog post on home security by Lou Manfredini and really liked his “common sense” ideas. (Click here to see his tips for a safe home.) This topic interests us because we regularly receive calls to help with damaged doors like the one pictured here.

Most break-ins are through windows and doors which you can discourage taking these steps:

  • Lock your windows and doors – simple, easy. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 40 percent of annual household burglaries, the thief simply walked, climbed or crawled into the house.
  • Add dead bolts to your entry doors. And place your extra key out of sight!
  • If you have a hollow wood exterior door, replace it with a solid door. Those hollow doors are fragile and easy to destroy.
  • When you replace your door, add a steel reinforcement plate behind the door frame (jamb) at the lock area.
  • Old sliding doors/windows have inadequate locks. Place a wood dowel rod or two-by-four on the inside track to stop the slide.  Size the rod or 2×4 to just fit into the track area.

These are just a few of our suggestions. If you have any ideas, post your thoughts on our Facebook or Twitter pages  If you have any questions, call us at 896-1717.

And be safe!