I’ve met so many people who thought that reinforcing a door to keep the bad guys out is either expensive or time-consuming.
As it turns out, it’s simply not true.
You can secure your door from being kicked in for just a few bucks, and in less than an hour. I promise that making your door kick-proof is well worth the investment and it will not only give you peace of mind but also a real sense of security.
In this post, I’ll share with you the best ways you can prevent burglars from kicking in your door and invading your home. These are all tested and proven methods. And each of them will dramatically improve your door security.
Let’s dive in!
1. Replace the Deadbolt Strike Plate and Reinforce the Hinges
- Skill: Beginner
- Estimated time: 30 minutes
- Cost: from $10
First of all, if your front door has only a cheap cylinder lock and nothing else, it’s an easy target for criminals and it’s only a matter of time before they’ll appear in your home.
Add a Grade 1 deadbolt to your door as soon as possible (it’s the most secure category according to ANSI classification).
Low-category deadbolts attract crooks because they know they can bypass them in a matter of seconds.
On the other hand, Grade 1 deadbolts are very durable and reliable. They withstand 10 strikes of 75 pounds of force. They’re also a great visual deterrent as most criminals will recognize these types of security locks. I recommend you check out this model from Kwikset.
However, you’ll only benefit from a deadbolt if there’s a reliable strike plate installed on your door jamb. Box strikes are the most durable type of strike plates because unlike many standard strike plates they don’t have a flimsy rectangular hole but a steel cup the bolt locks into. And it makes them much more resistant to kick-ins and other force attacks.
I installed this inexpensive model a few months ago and it does a great job.
Another thing you should do is to replace all the original screws (that are often shorter than 1 inch) of the strike plate and hinges with new ones that are at least 3 inches long. Short screws are unable to anchor the strike plate and the hinges to the door frame properly which highly increases the chance of a successful break-in.
Note that it’s easier to replace one screw at a time. This way the hinges and the strike plate won’t move from their original location thus you don’t have to adjust them.
Installing a new box strike and reinforcing the hinges with long screws cost less than 10 bucks and can be done within an hour.
Here’s a useful guide on reinforcing strike plates.
Installing hinge bolts under and above the hinges is another affordable way to improve door security. Hinge bolts add an extra layer of protection as they make your door more kick-resistant.
Installing hinge bolts is especially important if your door opens outwards because in this case, invaders have free access to the hinge pins.
Smart door locks are getting more and more popular. If you want to learn more about them, check out our article about one of the most popular (yet affordable) smart deadbolts here.
2. Reinforce Your Door Frame
- Skill: Beginner
- Estimated time: 45-60 minutes
- Cost: $70 and up
Reinforcing the door jamb will significantly improve overall door security and reduce the chance of a kick-in burglary.
There are many ready-to-use door frame reinforcement kits available at the stores (this door reinforcement set from Armor Concepts is one of the most popular). These are basically metal strips (or shields) that you have to install on the door jamb.
The kits usually contain secure strike plates and hinge shields as well. However, if you don’t need those, just buy a single jamb shield.
When reinforcing a door, I usually prefer to use sets or kits rather than several individual parts because this way I can avoid incompatibility issues and have some consistency in quality.
If you prefer making your own jamb shield, you’ll find the instructions on this page.
And, here’s a video that shows you exactly how to install a door frame reinforcement kit:
3. Make Sure You Have a Door with a Solid Core
- Skill: Intermediate
- Estimated time: 2-3 hours
- Cost: $600 and up
It may sound obvious, but much depends on the quality of your door. You need one with a solid core if you really want to prevent kick-ins. Chances are great that yours is exactly like that. Anyway, if you’re unsure, go ahead and check it.
While it’s true that hollow core doors are cheap, they should only be used as interior doors because they’re really easy to break through. A few well-directed kicks to the middle and the burglars are on their way.
Doors with a solid metal core are the most secure but don’t worry, it’s absolutely okay to have any other kind of door until it’s not a hollow one.
Do you have a sliding door? If so, don’t miss our article on the most effective methods to burglar-proof it.
4. Improve Glass Door Security
- Skill: Intermediate
- Estimated time: 60-75 minutes
- Cost: from $90
Glass doors are particularly vulnerable to forced entry attacks. A standard glass pane is not resistant to kicks and burglars can easily break it to gain access to the deadbolt. Then they can get into the house by simply turning it (except if it’s a double-key deadbolt).
There are multiple ways you can secure your door glass. One obvious solution is installing a steel security grille. Many people don’t like grilles and bars because they look ugly. However, they don’t have to be unsightly, there are many decorative security grilles available at the stores (you can also have a custom one made).
One major advantage of security grilles is that they also serve as a great visual deterrent.
Another option is installing a security film on the door glass. It works by preventing the glass from shattering in case of a forced attack. You can use it as an alternative to security grilles if you don’t want to change the look of your door.
As a rule of thumb, the thicker the security film, the more resistant it is to external impacts. Make sure you use a security film that has a thickness of at least 8 mils from a trusted manufacturer, such as 3M.
Installing window security film is not easy. Especially if you do it for the first time. If you’re a newbie, I suggest you either let an expert do the job or ask one of your experienced friends for help.
If you want to secure a door with windows, I highly recommend you check out this comprehensive guide.
By the way, if you want to burglar-proof your whole home (and not just the doors), make sure you check out these simple DIY home security hacks.
5. Forget Standard Door Chains – Use a Strike Plate Lock Instead
- Skill: Beginner
- Estimated time: 5 minutes
- Cost: $20 and up
Standard door chains are pretty popular but they usually don’t provide any substantial protection against force attacks. If you want to secure your door from being kicked in, install a strike plate lock instead of a standard door chain.
A strike plate lock is pretty similar to a normal door chain but with some remarkable differences in durability.
A strike plate lock can withstand over 50 full force kicks. Just for comparison, a standard door chain will break after a few kicks.
The installation process is quite straightforward and can be done within minutes. All you have to do is remove the existing strike plate on the door jamb and replace it with the strike plate lock. It can be used with both levers and round door knobs.
Although typically used on entry doors, it’s not only suitable to protect exterior doors: you can also install it on your bedroom door, turning it into a safe(r) room.
This security device can also be used with most double doors and certain types of French doors.
Your door will withstand even more kicks if you use the strike plate lock on a reinforced door frame.
A strike plate lock is certainly not a well-known device, but it’s definitely an effective one if you want to reinforce your door from the inside.
6. Install a Door Barricade or Use a Security Bar to Secure Your Door From the Inside
- Skill: Beginner
- Estimated time: 20-30 minutes
- Cost: from $40
Another powerful way of reinforcing your door from the inside is to install a door barricade. Its major advantage is that it doesn’t rely on the sturdiness of your door, instead, it uses the strength of the floor.
There are different models on the market and all of them can be installed rather easily and quickly. If you want to open the door you just have to slide the barrier out of its base plate. It can be done with a single motion, so it’s really simple.
I suggest you have a look at the Nightlock door barricade, it’s pretty reliable. Certain types of door barricades can also be used for double entry doors (or French doors).
Watch this video to see how door barricades work in real life:
Instead of a door barricade (or in combination with that), you can use a security bar (aka door jammer) to reinforce your door from the inside to prevent a kick-in.
A good quality and sturdy security bar can protect both hinged and sliding doors.
The height of these security bars is adjustable and they fit most doors. They need no installation so you can use them right out of the box (without any drilling or screwing). You just have to place the yoke end of the bar firmly under the door knob or lever and the pivoting ball joint on the floor.
To further enhance security, you can also add a keyless door reinforcement lock or sash jammers to your door.
These devices are cheap, easy to install, and give you an extra layer of protection against kick-in attempts. Check out this article to learn more about how effective door jammers are.
7. Use a Horizontal Door Security Bar
- Skill: Beginner
- Estimated time: 30 minutes
- Cost: $90 and up
This is one of the most secure solutions out there to burglar-proof your front door from the inside. A steel horizontal security bar is extremely durable and withstands really high forces, so it definitely protects your door from kick-ins.
Installation in most cases is fast and straightforward: you can fix most models with two lag bolts that go into the jack studs near the door frame that are part of the wall. If you want to secure your door you just have to slide the slots of the bar over the lag bolts or secure the ends of the bar to the brackets, depending on the model. That’s it. It’s in place and your door now is kick-proof.
One major advantage of a horizontal security bar is that fixing is totally independent of the door and the door jamb. So even if the burglars destroy your deadbolt, hinges, or door frame, they still won’t be able to get into your home. It’s a highly reliable solution against forced entries.
Also, some models come with a quick release that allows you to quickly unlock the device in case of a fire.
If you want to know how you can deter burglars before they even try to kick in your door, we have an article on the most effective methods.
Want to improve apartment door security? Here’s how you can do that effectively.
As you can see, many possibilities exist to make your (front) door kick-proof. Even by applying only one method listed above, you can significantly reduce the risk of your door being kicked in. However, there’s nothing that keeps you from combining more techniques to make burglars’ life even harder.
I suggest you start by reinforcing your strike plates and hinges. Those are really inexpensive modifications that can be done quickly. If you don’t have a deadbolt on your door, I highly recommend that you add one, preferably a grade 1 deadbolt.
You shouldn’t spend a bunch of money on making your door impenetrable. Your primary goal should be to reinforce it to the extent that whenever crooks invade it, they give up fast and look for another, easier target.
Burglars don’t like to risk more than necessary and when after a few attempts they realize how time-consuming it is to get through your door they stop trying.