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Security Hacks

Can a Doorstop Prevent Entry? How Secure It Is?

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A door opening into a dark room

I often use door wedges to improve security because it’s a simple and straightforward solution. Also, it’s a handy way to keep a door closed without using a lock.

I’m often asked if a doorstop has the potential of preventing unauthorized entries or is it just a complementary solution.

A doorstop will definitely not prevent all entries but when used properly it can withstand substantial force. In most cases, a regular doorstop won’t keep intruders out but it can slow them down and when combined with other security measures it provides a real barrier and keeps the door in place.

The Proper Way of Using a Doorstop to Keep a Door Closed

A big mistake that people often make is that they use their door stopper improperly. If you want to use it to improve security, you can get the most out of your door wedge by following the rules below:

  • the doorstop should be placed 1-3 inches in from the edge of the door
  • use a wedge-shaped door stopper with a 15-30 degree angle (depending on the space underneath the door)
  • the wedge should fit snugly under the door and the friction should keep it in place even when force is applied
  • make sure the door stopper is made of sturdy material and avoid cheap plastic (the best material is rubber, but you can quickly do one yourself from cardboard or fabric)
  • the doorstop should have a non-slip bottom

It doesn’t really matter whether you use a DIY doorstop or buy a ready-to-use one until it meets the above-mentioned criteria.

A handmade cardboard doorstop wedged under a white doorPin

To be honest, the doorstops that I make myself often outperform the commercial ones just because I can easily customize them according to my needs.

Obviously, you won’t be able to secure an outward opening door using a door wedge but we have some really great tips on how you can work around this problem.

Cases When You Can Use a Doorstop to Prevent Entry

While using a doorstop will definitely help to prevent a door from opening, you shouldn’t use it in every situation.

Let’s see those scenarios first when a simple door wedge in itself is not enough to guarantee security.

The main disadvantage of a doorstop is that it can’t withstand great forces.

What do I mean by great force? For instance, if an average adult tries to kick open a door secured with a single door stopper, in most cases they will succeed. And that’s the case even if the device is applied properly.

Also, repeated and strategically executed attempts will eventually lead to success most of the time. If your goal is to prevent a door from being kicked in, I highly recommend that you check out these helpful tips.

Let’s see another scenario. For whatever reason, you want to prevent your roommate, colleague, wife, husband, etc. from entering your room (or office). Obviously, a wedge can only be used to secure a door from the inside, so you must be in the room you want to keep unauthorized persons away from.

Long story short, in this particular case (when you want to avoid sudden intrusions), you can successfully prevent people from entering the room because they simply can’t get in without making a lot of noise (and effort) that you would notice even if you’re sleeping inside.

A door wedge can also be a great security addition when you’re traveling. However, do not use it without taking other basic security measures (for instance, locking the door or using a security bar).

What’s the conclusion?

Doorstops work best when you need to keep an interior door closed and want to prevent someone from entering your room or office suddenly. They can also help you improve security while staying in a hotel. However, it’s unlikely that a door wedge will stop forced entries on its own. Therefore, it’s not a recommended way of securing front doors, for instance.

That being said, a high-quality doorstop can be used as a complementary device (but not exclusively) in almost any situation, including lockdowns.

Will a Door Wedge Stop Burglars?

As I’ve already mentioned, you shouldn’t really use a door stopper to secure your front door. A simple door wedge might slow down intruders but it won’t prevent them from entering your house. Instead, try one of these proven methods or check out these if you are living in an apartment.

If you want to use a doorstop and security is a priority for you, you may want to consider getting a device that has a built-in alarm function: when pressure is applied on the wedge a loud alarm will sound. This one is a pretty reliable model.

How Can You Recognize a Durable Door Stopper?

A rubber door stopperPin

Door stoppers can be made of various materials, however, if your goal is to prevent a door from opening, your safest bet is rubber. The reason why it’s usually more reliable than other materials is that it’s flexible (so you can squeeze it under the door) and it doesn’t slip.

If you choose a device that’s not made of rubber, at least make sure the bottom is rubberized, especially if you want to use it on a slippery surface, such as tiles, linoleum, or wood floor.

Besides rubber, I also had great success with door stoppers made from cardboard. They’re ridiculously easy to make and customize although not as reliable as the ones made of rubber.

Do not use a doorstop that’s made of pure plastic: it’s not flexible, easy to break, and has a slippery surface.

Quick Tip: If you want to further enhance security, use multiple door wedges at the same time.

Securing a Door Without a Lock: Using a Doorstop and Other Methods

If you want to stop entries, doorstops are not your only possible choice. There are some other highly effective ways to reinforce a door from the inside.

A simple DIY method is to put a chair under the door handle. This will prevent anyone from outside from pushing the handle down, thus the bolt stays in place and stops the door from opening.

You can also use a portable security bar to hold a door in a closed position. Unlike a door wedge, a security bar is much harder to make at home, so if you like this solution, I recommend you get one from a hardware store. This one is a pretty solid model. As an alternative, you can opt for a door jammer.

Did you know that you can lock a door even with a fork? Here you’ll find all the details and even more ideas.

Putting It All Together

As you can see, a simple doorstop can substantially improve security. However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t use it as a standalone security device against intruders. While a door wedge often slows them down, it can’t really withstand great and repeated forces.

On the other hand, it’s a simple and useful device to protect your private place if you’re living/working with others or want to make a hotel room more secure. A door stopper will help you avoid unexpected entries and make sure nobody will visit and disturb you while you are in the room.

Photos: Wikimedia (Bozembla)

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About the Author

James Mora is the founder of DailyHomeSafety. He is a home improvement expert, contractor, avid DIYer, and security manager. He is passionate about home repairs, remodeling, and teaching. Read More

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