10 Things You Can Do To Reinforce Your Front Door

Looking for ways to prevent your front door from being kicked in? According to the FBI there are a little over 1 million home invasions and burglaries every year. With most of those occurring during the day between the hours of 10am and 3pm, when most people are away at work or school. However, they can and do occur at any time of the day. Luckily, there are steps you can take to reinforce your exterior front door and stop or prevent potential break-ins.

You can get a 2.25″ thick, wood veneered, steel reinforced door with 16 locking bolts. They sound very secure, unfortunately, these doors start at $6,500. Who can or wants to spend that much on a door? And, while no one can put a price on the safety and security of your family and home, thankfully there are less expensive ways to improve the security and reinforcement of your door.

I told you, you should reinforce your front door.
1.  Install a door reinforcement kit

These door jamb armor kits from Armor Concepts reinforce your existing front door and frame. The Door Max Combo Plus kit comes with a jamb shield, pry shield, hinge shield and 2 door shields – 1 for the latch and 1 for the deadbolt. The shields are barely visible once installed and they come in three different colors – satin nickel, aged bronze and white. They also have kits for doors on mobile homes and doors with sidelites.

These work by reinforcing the weak points of your door and frame, preventing kick ins from physical force. The pry shields are screwed onto the door and frame, takes about 30 minutes to install and you do not need to remove your door to install these shields.

2. Add a Solid Secure Door

A metal door, like this one from Steves & Sons, is just as strong as a solid wood door but at less than half the cost. It is galvanized to prevent rust and helps to decrease maintenance. I used to have a solid wood door, it was beautiful but the upkeep – the sanding and staining – every two years was daunting. It can be primed and ready to be painted. It has a polystyrene core for energy efficiency. This one comes pre-drilled for a deadbolt and lever set with a 2 3/8″ backset.

3. Install a Grade 1 Deadbolt

A good deadbolt will help you reinforce your front door.

Deadbolts come in 3 grades, grades 1, 2 & 3, and grade 1 is the one you want. Grade 1 bolts can take the most abuse and the bolt is longer, thereby putting more of the bolt into the door frame. Grade 1 deadbolts are harder to pick, more difficult to be “bumped” and take longer to drill through. Because a new deadbolt will fit into the existing deadbolt cutout, these also are easy to install.

Medeco deadbolts are the most secure residential deadbolt available and can be installed in a standard door cutout in minutes. Most deadbolts tout themselves as bump and pick “resistant”, the Medeco deadbolt is bump and lock proof. Only an authorized locksmith can remake a key for this lock. That may seem inconvenient, but that decreases the ease with which your key can be remade. This deadbolt costs $139.60 on Amazon but it is the highest rated and most secure conventional deadbolt you can buy.

4. Install a One-sided Deadbolt

You need to reinforce your door.

Sometimes referred to as a “blind” deadbolt because it is only visible from the interior side of the door. This deadbolt has only a thumbturn on the interior and can only be locked and unlocked by those on the inside. And because there is no keyway visible to the exterior it cannot be picked or tampered with.

Some states require apartments to have these on their front entry and balcony doors. The one-sided deadbolts are more secure and harder to defeat than most other additional lock mechanisms such as door chain locks or swing bar door locks.

5. Use Door Jamb Reinforcement Plates

Add this door reinforcement plate.

If you don’t want to go all out and add reinforcement plates to the entire door assembly, you can add this latch strike reinforcement plate. It attaches all the way to the wood studs with the included 3″ long screws. This replaces your existing separate latch and deadbolt strikes.

Besides the deadbolt, it is probably the easiest of all the things on this list to install yourself. The holes on this are for latch and deadbolt holes that are 5 1/2″ to 6″ on center. You might have to look elsewhere if this is not the dimensions you have.

6. Add a Metal Frame

Door frame breaks when it is kicked in.

Most door frames are made of wood and if you’ve seen pictures of kicked in doors the frame is usually the weakest part. A metal frame will help to prevent that. Wood frames are usually 1″ thick or less and when kicked in is the part that gets broken first. A metal frame can be galvanized and primed to be painted to match the door or color of the house. See picture at right. Door is intact but the wood frame breaks.

A metal frame is probably not feasible for homes with an existing front entry door. That would involve removing and replacing, which can be done but you would probably need to involve a contractor. This option is probably better suited for those that are in the process of building a house.

7. Get a Front Door Without Glass

Doors that have windows look great but are not great for security. Glass is easily broken. And it is much easier to get in if you have a deadbolt or lock that can be unlocked with a flip of the thumbturn. If you are set on getting a door with a window you should get a double cylinder deadbolt, which is a deadbolt that needs to be opened from inside with a key. Potential intruders won’t be able to reach in and unlock the door, even if the window is broken.

8. Install a Smart Lock Without a Keyway

A lock that cannot be picked is a good deterrent.

There are deadbolts that can be unlocked by access code and you do not need a physical key. And because it does not use a key it cannot be picked or bumped, preventing breaking in using those methods. A fairly inexpensive one is the Yale Security deadbolt lock. It is a grade 2 deadbolt and runs on 4 AA batteries. It has a pushbutton keypad for you to enter the code and will store up to 25 different codes. If the batteries run out you can use a 9 volt battery to give it power long enough for you to enter.

Good deterrents that don’t technically reinforce your front door…

9. Have a Doorbell Camera

Just about any doorbell camera has video capabilities. But you need one that will send you a notification when it detects movement so you can monitor the video feed even if the doorbell isn’t pressed. Most times, if someone is going to break in they look through the windows to see if someone is home. If the doorbell camera does notify you, it will allow you to talk to them through the speaker as though you are home.

I saw him through the doorbell video camera.

The best one for this at the best price is the Skybell HD Wifi Video Doorbell. It works with Alexa and Google Home devices. The reason I like this one is it is only $199.99 at Amazon and you can access all your camera video from the cloud for the last 7 days without a subscription. You can also download any videos within that time period to save or share. Most of the other ones, like those from Ring or August, have the same capabilities but will charge$10-$30 a month for this service. You can find more information at 5 Best Doorbell Cameras.

10. Add Motion Activated Front Lights

Motion activated lights, the brightest you can find, are another great deterrent. The light turns on and illuminates dark areas when the motion sensors are activated. Bad guys and critters tend to hide when there is too much light. An extra benefit to motion activated lights is they light up the walkway when your family and friends arrive.

The BAXIA solar lights are an Amazon best seller, inexpensive and solar powered and only $31.99 for a pack of 4. The sensing area is 10-15 feet and lights up a 120 degree angle. See the best solar powered motion sensor lights for more of these inexpensive security lights.

There are more expensive motion activated lights like the $249 RING floodlight that has a camera with two-way talk and siren alarm. It requires a hard-wired connection to a weatherproof electrical box and when it senses motion will send you a notification.

Nothing can stop or completely prevent a determined bad guy from breaking in

Even if these deter intruders at the front door, they still could try to go through a window or less reinforced door such as the back or garage door. The idea is to make your house and your door a tougher target than the one next door.

And if you are traveling you can get one of the best portable locks that will reinforce a hotel or an Airbnb lock.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

35 thoughts on “10 Things You Can Do To Reinforce Your Front Door

    1. Thank you for the comment and question Suhana

      CCTV or a security camera won’t stop a determined intruder but it will act as a deterrent. Most intruders don’t want their picture taken or video recorded of their actions. But I think the camera and the other reinforcements for your front door will help to prevent intrusions.

  1. Hello,

    I found your “10 Things you can do to reinforce your front door” article to be insightful and and very relevant for our times today!

    I believe just one of your tips would create a more secure front-door but to utilize all 10 would definitely create a fortress for today’s time!

    Where would a metal/rot iron security door fit in your scheme of securing the front-door?

    Best tips ever!

    Thank you for the insight!


    1. Thank you Dwilli for the question. A wrought iron security door would be another deterrent to keeping people at bay. Usually they are used so you can answer your door to visitors but still keep them out until you want to let them in. My only concern with the metal security door is it is on the outside of the front entry door and can be yanked off if someone is determined enough. I would imagine that would make quite a racket.

  2. Security is a serious public concern, whether you are living in a third world or developed economy. Where I live, there are reports of burglary almost on a daily basis. They occur mostly during the late afternoons when the majority of the people have gone to work. I always have to check my locks a second time to make sure they are secure. Still, I feel apprehensive.I have always felt the best option for my home would be a security camera that is well concealed. The motion-activated front light you mentioned would be perfectly fine for me. At about $30, it makes a lot of sense to install a couple of them around my house. What I really love about it is that it uses chargeable batteries. 

    1. Well they say bugs and bad guys don’t like the light so having outdoor lights is probably one of the best deterrents. If you do get the rechargeable lights I would recommend the solar powered charging station. The lights can be mounted to that and you should never have to worry about the lights not working due to power outage or dead batteries.  

  3. Security or how to secure our home should be our Paramount priority. Some people will invest in their home interior decoration but will not take seriously their security doors and other important security details you have highlighted here. Adding insulated metal door, installing grade1 deadlock and other stuff are what we should use to secure our house against any break in.  

  4. Quite an interesting read Bill! You have schooled me on different ways of reinforcing my front door. There are lots of tampering going on nowadays, that one really need to be security conscious. I love the idea of installing a Grade 1 deadbolt. At least this will give these bad guys tough time to drill through. Also the idea of only an authorized locksmith being able to remake a key for the lock makes it more appealing.Like you likely said, intruders sometimes might not be deterred by these measures, but at least he will meet some resistance before gaining entrance and often times, time is of essence to them, so the more time it takes them to break in, the higher the chances of them being caught.Thank you once again for such an informative piece.

    1. Hi Gracen. Yes, grade 1 deadbolt 1 is the way to go, the conventional ones don’t cost that much more than lower graded deadbolts and look good enough for residential use. 

  5. I didn’t know that there are lots of ways on how to secure your front door.This post has tons of information, thanks!I’m most interested in the one-sided deadbolt because there’s no way that a burglar can manipulate it from outside. Am I right, is this 100% safe?WE’re lucky that we have not experienced any untoward incident in our home, but we will consider putting a one-sided deadbolt just to be sure.Marita

  6. Some great reading here and I would never have thought that there were so many useful ways to make your front door more secure. I especially liked the idea of the one sided dead bolt as at least the intruder will not know what he is up against from the other side of the door. 

    It is always a good idea to make your home as secure as possible, but unfortunately if someone wants to get in badly enough, nothing will stop him, as you pointed out.

    1. True, you can’t keep a very determined person out. There are other ways like windows or back doors to gain entry but the point is to create as much difficult to gain entry as possible. 

  7. I like the smart lock without a key way. I also like the front door camera which which can be monitored from afar. The most amazing one of all these Is the door video camera which sends notifications  once movements is detected. I would like to know if it’s possible to use up to five different things to renforce only one door if you choose to do so?

    1. Of course. All the items mentioned can actually all be used at the same time except the grade 1 deadbolt and smart lock without a keyway. They both would go in the same location on the door. 

  8. The pricing on that steel reinforced door with 16 locking bolts is something else. I know we cannot or should not put a price on safety but come on $6000+ for a door is just too much. I guess some people should be able to easily afford that. At least you have listed alternate methods to use to reinforce a door.

    One of my favorites is the grade 1 deadlock. Making use of this as you said puts more of the bolt into the door frame making it difficult for anyone to break a door. To be able to go around this would mean breaking the door frame itself. It is a good way to secure your front door and it does not cost much.

    Your other listed options are all great. I am going to have to upgrade on keeping my front door secure.

  9. I will agree with you security comes first and it is Paramount to protect ourselves and our property hence these doors security.doors are mostly week point of access in any building so reinforcement is always Avery Noble ideas and you are given us more than one ways to reinforce our doors I believe if we can install these new gadgets we will make it very difficult for thieves to just pop in the house and vandalize and you can breath easy while a way. 

  10. I didn’t know that you can find so many ways to protect your doors. However, your house is as safe as it weakness spot. In my opinion, people are forgetting about the windows and they are focusing on doors. Now I am curious, do you think there are similar protection devices for windows?

    1. Yes there are some security devices that can be used for windows just not as much as you can find for doors. Windows are just a glass pane or two away from allowing intruders in. You can get a window film that is clear and will hold the glass together in the event someone tries to shatter it. This is also a benefit to those where extreme weather can be a problem. You can also get a battery powered window alarm that will alert wen there is any kind of vibration.

      Hope this helps!

  11. I enjoyed reading your post. There is always a need for security consciousness even without burglary or crime in the environment.

    I think the best option to adequately secure your front door would be cameras, motion activated lights and maybe some form of sound alarm system to frighten the thief.

    Great read, thanks for writing


  12. This is some great information here! Recently moved into a new home and I wish I’d come across this earlier. I didn’t know there were grades for locks!

    About the point with the motion lights, I find that they are quite handy but I don’t like that they are triggered by any and everything. For example, when my dog is in its way, it keeps lighting up.

  13. Dear Bill,

    Great information, you have really given a lot of value here and Your article certainly made me think more on the subject.

    There are lot of theft happening in the part of the world where I am living and few days before also we had a discussion with our family and friends about the measures we need to take for security and your posts gave me great insights.

    And to be honest with you we don’t even have a calling bell and still we are knocking the door and by the voice we use to recognize who is knocking. Also we are afraid to go out of station because of the increased number of theft happening. 

    Your post means a lot to me and I am going to implement few things what I learned from your post and install it in our front door. I am also going to share your post with my friends.

    I am bookmarking your post for future reference.

    Much Success!


  14. This article about reinforcing the front door is really interesting to read. This article had everything I needed to know about reinforcing my front door. I liked the part where it says Install a smart lock without a key. That is really safe choice.

    Thank you so much for sharing this article with us.

  15. I may not stay in the US but I’ve read online how much home invasions and break-ins occurred due to nonreinforced doors. I believe that if the thiefs realize that they cannot just break in by kicking the door, due to the installation of these reinforcements, the theft level or rate would reduce. 

  16. Very good post and great info! 

    I was looking for a reinforced door since our door is 38 years old, we bought our house a few months ago, and knowing this is not so safe, I want to reinforce it as soon as possible. 

    The tips you give are very good, I will check them out, if it won’t work with this door, I will buy a new one. 

    Thanks a lot for sharing. 

  17. Hello and thank you for this informative article. I find it quite useful. I have an old wooden door and I am planning on buying new one. This old one are not safe as they once was. I saw your other posts about special security doors and special locks.

    For preventing possible entries, I think the best options are definitely camera and sensor lights. This has proven to have psychological effect on people and naturally, they avoid trying to enter homes with sensor lights.

    Of course, I can also agree with you that metal reinforcement and metal frame are second best thing from your list. Even if the burglar somehow manages to crack the door he would still need a lot of time to break in, and a lot of noise also. If you are living in the apartment, neighbours are there and any kind of unusual behavior will be spotted.


    1. If they’re determined to get in, they will. You just want to make it harder to get in so that hopefully they give up or someone notices.

  18. I live in the Philippines and have been burglarized many times over the years.  One time I was awake and online doing the US stock market around 4 am when someone got in and stole a TV and a bicycle and I wasn’t even aware as it was happening.  Windows and gates are all caged and there are walls and razor wire, but they still find the weak points.  My biggest worry was being confronted by someone armed.   

    The weakest area seems to be the locks, for my situation.  I’ll keep in mind the options you provide.  One thing I could use without having to think it over is a doorbell camera.  That would allow me to see who is outside, which I can’t do at present, without going to the front gate and opening the steel door.

    Thanks for your tips.

  19. This is a really great article Bill and covers a lot of useful information for front door security. I have a deadbolt on my front door, but I have two windows on either side of the front door that let natural light into the entry way. I am concerned that an intruder may be able to exploit these by breaking the glass. The window frame is large enough for someone to squeeze through (but they may cut themselves on broken glass). Do you have any recommendations on how to secure these window frames?

    1. If your windows are big enough for someone to break the glass and squeeze, there’ s not many things that you can do. You could put burglar bars up to prevent someone from getting through the window but they’re not very safe if a hurried egress is needed, like a fire. Or you could install an alarm system with window sensors that alert when vibration is detected.

  20. I like the last two that you’ve shared, for the reason that here in my country, CCTVs are of no longer use. Yes, they can record what has happened, but most of the time, burglars find ways to counter them by wearing masks, etc. With that doorbell camera that’s reinforced with you being able to talk to them like you’re home, plus that motion activated light, that could be a huge deterrent to anybody that’s planning something bad. But I agree, nothing can completely prevent a determined bad guy from breaking in.

    What about the idea of reinforcing your door with electricity so it can electrocute the bad guys?

    1. It can be done but I wouldn’t recommend it. You might inadvertently hurt friends or family or anybody else that might have a legitimate use of that door. And you could be running afoul of local laws. In some places you could be breaking a law by injuring intruders that don’t pose a threat. 

  21. Thanks for sharing this informative and educative post. This is a must read for everybody and I will strongly share this post to my neighbours because recently there was a robbed case in my neighborhood and the robbers entered the house by knocking out the door. Thanks for given us this safety tips to do and I think I will install a grade 1 Deadbolt. I love the features.

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