10 DIY Home Security Upgrades

Posted on 2024-01-03
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Make your home more secure and add peace of mind with these do-it-yourself projects that are relatively simple and affordable.

Secure all vulnerable points of entry such as doors and windows. Think a stock latch will stop an intruder with a pry bar? Think again, then try installing a pin lock. To install, simply drill a hole. If you want to lock the window in a partially opened position, drill a second hole. Pin locks are also great security additions to your patio doors.

Use tamper proof screws. An experienced burglar can easily bypass your shed lock hardware with a screw driver. Any exposed screw heads on your hinges and other hardware are vulnerable. Instead of standard flat head or Phillips screws, try Allen, Torx or hex headed cap screws to hinder break-ins, because the latter require special tools.

Secure door hinges. Since shed doors usually swing out, the hinge pins are accessible from outside where a thief can simply pop out the pins and remove the door. Replace this hardware with a security hinge equipped with tamperproof pins, or retrofit an existing hinge by removing the center screws on both sides. Next, insert a finish screw through one side until it protrudes about 1/4-inch. Drill out the receiving hole slightly so that when the door is closed the finish screw head engages the other hinge. Now, the door can’t be taken off even if the hinge pin is removed.

Reinforce locks. An expensive “pick-proof” deadbolt on your front door won’t stop most burglars because they know how to pick a lock or force their way in by splitting the doorjamb. Stop them in their tracks by installing door armor hardware made of 16-gauge galvanized steel. Installation takes less than 30 minutes.

Install locks with thicker shackles. With some sturdy bolt cutters, a thief can cut through any lock. That said, the thicker the lock shackle and less it’s exposed, the more secure your lock will be. Additionally, the type of locking mechanism makes a difference in how easily the lock can be picked. Fortunately some keyed padlocks are resistent to bolt cutters.

Install a deadbolt protection device. Another effective way to discourage lock-picking thieves is to reinforce your deadbolt with a deadbolt protection device that slides a lock over the deadbolt handle to impede it from turning.

Install foot locks on patio doors. Patio door locks are easy to pick too, but there’s a simple way to get some added security. You can install a foot lock that fastens along the bottom of the door and has a bolt that fits into a grommet to hold the door secure. Or, install a door guardian that attaches at the top of the door. Both locks allow the door to open three inches without compromising security. Installation takes about 10 minutes. Screw the bracket containing the pin to the door, then drill holes and insert grommets in the track for the pin to slide into.

Reinforce a door’s weak point. Reinforce the jamb, with a heavy-duty strike plate and extra-long screws to give it the added strength needed to withstand a good bashing. If your deadbolt was installed within the last 10 years, it’s probably already reinforced. Simply remove the strike plate to check. If it’s heavy steel with at least 3-inch screws or has a heavy reinforcing plate, you’re all set. If not, get reinforced strike plate hardware. Remove the old strike plate to install, then hold the new one in place and deeply score around it. Chisel out space for the new plate, then mount it by driving 3-inch screws through predrilled holes.

Use a dowel in a sliding door. Another or supplemental means to secure a sliding patio door is with a thick wooden dowel cut to size and placed at the bottom between the frame and the sliding door. For some added style, it can also be easily finished with sanding, stain and varnish.

Secure the garage door. Unplugging the overhead garage door opener can secure the door to a degree but physically locking the door is even better. Make a burglar’s job more difficult and time-consuming by locking the door itself. If your door doesn’t have a lockable latch, drill a hole in the track just above one of the rollers and slip in a sturdy padlock.

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