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The front door of your home is the first line of defense in keeping your home safe. Crossing the threshold of your home should feel like you're entering a safe place, and closing the door behind you should shut out any unwanted stresses or visitors. When you are deciding on what door is best for you, it's important to consider what type of door is the safest. We've researched this topic to inform you of what the safest front door is.
Steel doors provide the most security, in addition to avoiding issues such as expansion, warping, and durability. Steel doors, with proper mechanisms, can't be kicked in and will keep out anyone you don't want coming inside.
Although you now know what type of material is most secure to use as a front door, you may still have questions. We encourage you to continue reading through this article as we discuss exactly what to look for when buying a door and other safety features available. We will also discuss how safe specific door materials are and some common questions people have about burglars.
What Should You Look For When Buying A Front Door?
The material of which your door is made up is the most important factor you need to consider. Door material affects security, durability, looks, and price. Before deciding on anything else, you should decide of which material you want your door to be made.
As we mentioned, a steel door is the most secure and durable of the bunch. Steel doors aren't affected by temperatures and won't crack or warp. While steel doors start out the cheapest for just the door at around $150 fully set up. Aesthetically, steel doors can be painted or finished in any style. Steel doors do not need extra reinforcement and are the most secure option for your front door.
Fiberglass doors by themselves can cost as little as $200. However, a full doorway setup can exceed $4,000. Fiberglass doors are a good choice for avoiding harsh climate impacts on the door. They do not warp or lose temperatures like wood or metal do. You can also paint or texture fiberglass composites to mimic wood, so they will still look good in your entryway. However, with that being said, fiberglass doors are the weakest material on this list.
Wood doors come in two varieties. Either solid wood or wood layered over an insulation core. An insulated core door costs between $200 and $500. A solid wood door is the most expensive option on the list, starting at $600.
Getting a hardwood like oak or maple increases this price to $2,000 to $4,000. Wood is stronger than fiberglass but is the most impacted material when it comes to weather and temperature. Wood can crack and warp as temperatures change seasonally. To be secure, a wood door should be reinforced with metal plating.
Aluminum doors are very similar to steel doors. The major difference is that aluminum doors will be sold through a dealer and come with lifetime warranties. Although they do have their benefits, aluminum door warranties are usually only given if a full set-up is performed. So while the door starts at $600, you'll be paying much more than that in installation fees.
Other Concerns When Looking For A Front Door
While the material is the biggest decision you'll need to make there are a few other considerations you'll need to think about. What manufacturer warranties are available? What weather do you expect the door to face? Remember to reinforce your door after it is installed and consult a trusted professional with any questions you may have regarding security or longevity.
Safety Features To Consider
One major safety tip with regards to your front door is to swap out the screws in your deadbolt slot. Usually, the screws that come with that piece are very short, about 1/2 inch. These shorter screws are less secure because of the lack of depth they give when they go into the doorframe. Swapping these screws out with longer screws of around 2 inches will drastically improve the security of your door.
Glass doors or any glass portions of doors are weak. A window on the door can be broken out and in most cases, this would let someone reach in and unlock the door. A full glass door may give you a great view of the outside, but it also gives a view of the inside of your home. In addition to this, glass doors can be broken, let in cold air, and are generally not as secure as other doors.
Deadbolts and chains are another safety feature to consider. Make sure to use long screws when putting in a chain lock or your deadbolt space. If the door doesn't break, then a chain will stop it from opening. A strong deadbolt provides a lot of security and stops the door from being kicked in.
If you're concerned about being able to trust in your interior doors in the event of a break-in, give our article Should Bedroom Doors Have Locks? a look.
Are Wood Front Doors Safe?
Wood front doors are safe. While not the safest material, wood is still a strong option for your front door. Treated modern timbers hold up incredibly well. While wood doors are the most aesthetically pleasing, you need to remember some things.
It goes without saying that interior doors should never be used as a front door. Any wood door you decide on should never be hollow particleboard. These are easily broken through and not secure. Purchase only solid hardwood doors that are treated to avoid warping.
If you are concerned about a wood door not being strong enough to keep out intruders, reinforcing the door is the best option. Steel plates are used to cover weak points in the door, as well as reinforce the handle and doorjamb.
Are Aluminum Doors Safe?
Aluminum front doors are incredibly safe. Similar to steel doors, aluminum doors are very strong. An aluminum door paired with aluminum framing and a secure lock is one of the most secure door systems you can get.
Over time, an aluminum doorframe will begin rusting if it isn't cleaned often enough. This not only ruins the aesthetics of the door but also makes it weaker. Aluminum doors are fairly easy to both repair and reinforce. The real downside is that aluminum doors are not great energy conductors and you will either lose heat or cool air through it more than other materials.
Can You Really Kick A Door Down?
It is possible to kick down a door. The weakest part of the door is the doorframe at the locking mechanism. A strong force can cause the deadbolt to break through the doorframe, opening the door. Knocking a door off its hinges and making it fall flat is more of a movie cliche than a reality.
Reinforcing your door's weak points is important. As suggested above, use longer screws in the deadbolt slider to give it a firmer grip in the doorframe and wall. A door made of solid material is much harder to kick in. Metal doors work best, giving your door the most strength available.
In a survey of burglars, most said the easiest way into a home was an unlocked door or window. Some said they simply kicked in the doors. Having a strong door and proper locks will make that much more difficult. While glass is a weak point, most burglars avoided punching out glass because of the risk of getting cut. They also said the sound of a door breaking was better than glass shattering.
What Attracts Burglars To A Home?
One big thing that can attract burglars is the lack of cars in the driveway. An empty driveway is a signal that the house may be empty. Of course, an unlocked door is just a big invitation as well. A burglar may take note of an empty driveway and jiggle your door handle to see if the house is unlocked.
Another possible attractor is a quiet home. Normally, if people are home then the radio or tv is on, and a lack of noise may be a tell-tale sign of an empty home. Leaving out a spare key under a doormat or in a hide-a-key rock is another invitation. They are not an effective hiding place for keys.
Burglars will look for more isolated homes, or ones that seem easier to break into. An old weathered door or a house at the end of a street away from others may be a prime target. Homes with predictable schedules are another attractor. Large amounts of time during the day when all the occupants are at school and work practically screams to burglars.
Security systems will deter some burglars, but for others, it may turn them on to your home as a target. A security system says you have something valuable to protect. Boxes from purchases of things like electronics can tell burglars you have an expensive item.
Finally, try to keep photos and posts online that show you are away to a minimum. Wait to post vacation photos until after you are home. Never post on social media that you'll be out of town for any amount of time. A lot of burglaries are perpetrated by a person that knows their target in some way and giving advance notice that the house will be empty just invites trouble.
How Do You Burglar-Proof A Door?
First and foremost, never put your spare key underneath a doormat. Hide-a-key rocks are not a good hiding place either. If you've got to leave out a spare key, make sure to properly hide it, and only tell the location of it to the person meant to find it. Actively swap your kidding place for the key so nobody can observe where it is.
Keep all of your windows and doors locked, especially when you're away from the home. Do not use electronic or cheap locks, and do not rely on the handle lock. These kinds of locks can be easily bypassed using a credit card or a wrench. Make sure you have a solid and strong deadbolt, and that it fits firmly into the doorframe.
Door reinforcing hardware is your best bet to truly burglar-proof a door. Beef up your doorjamb with reinforcement plates. A complete door reinforcement kit takes about an hour to install.
This kit reinforces all of a door's weak points. The manufacturer claims it makes a door nearly impossible to kick in. The kit includes a set of directions and says the only tool you will need is a power drill.
A reinforced steel door and a steel doorframe is the most secure option for a front door. But if you want a different door material, remember that there are ways to increase its security.
If you're interested in ideas for types of front doors, check out our article: 8 Types Of Front Doors You Should Consider.
We also have a style guide available for arched doorways: Arched Front Door Ideas [Inc. 23 Pictures].