How to Make Your Front Door Safe
Making Your Front Door Safe
It is not a good idea to open your front door to anyone until you know who is calling. It will take you no more than an hour or two to fix a simple peephole viewer that will enable you to see visitors without opening the door, and a strong security chain which will allow you to check their identification before you admit them.
- Tape measure
- Brace or
- Wood bits
Fitting a viewer
Select a viewer with as wide an angle of vision as possible: you should be able to see someone standing to the side of the door or even crouching below the viewer. Choose one that is adjustable to fit any thickness of door.
Drill a hole the recommended size — usually 12mm (1/4in) — right through the centre of the door at a comfortable eye level. Insert the barrel of the viewer into the hole from the outside, thenon the eyepiece from inside.
Attaching a security chain
No special skills are needed to fit a door chain. Fix it securely, just below the lock, by screwing the metal plates to the door and frame.
Fitting a Better Lock
The door by which you leave the house — usually the front door — needs a particularly strong lock, because it can’t be bolted from inside except when you are at home. Don’t rely entirely on an old-fashioned night latch, which offers no security at all — it is only as strong as theholding it to the door, and a thief can easily break a pane of glass to operate it or simply slide back the bolt with a credit card. Fit a mortise lock, inserted into a slot cut in the edge of the door, where it cannot easily be tampered with. There are various patterns to suit the width of the door stile and the location of the door.
Selecting the Right Mortise Lock
A mortise sashlock is suitable for back and. It has a handle on each side that operates a springbolt, and a key-operated deadbolt which can’t be pushed back once the door is closed. Purely key-operated mortise locks are best for final-exit doors where no handle is necessary. Any exterior-door lock should conform to BS 3621: this is a British Standard which ensures that the lock has a minimum of 1000 key variations, is proof against ‘picking’ and is strong enough to resist drilling, cutting or forcing. Some locks are intended for right-hand opening doors.
- Brace or power drill
- Craft knife
- Marking gauge
- Padsaw or jigsaw
- Try square
- Wood bits
Inserting the Lock
Wedge the door open, so that you can work conveniently on the closing edge.
- Scribe a line centrally on the edge of the door with a marking gauge, and use the lock body as a template to mark the top and bottom of the mortise.
- Choose a drill bit that matches the thickness of the lock-body and drill out the majority of the waste wood within marked lines. Square up the edges of the mortise with a chisel until the lock fits snugly in the slot.
- Mark around the edge of the faceplate with a knife, then chop a series of shallow cuts across the waste wood with a chisel. Pare out the recess until the faceplate (including its thin brass coverplate, if fitted) is flush with the edge of the door.
- Hold the lock against the face of the door and mark the centre of the keyhole with a bradawl. Clamp a block of scrap timber to the other side of the door over the keyhole position and drill right through on the centre mark (the block prevents the drill bit splintering the face of the door as it bursts through on the other side). Using a or power jigsaw, cut out a slot for the keyhole on both sides of the door.
- Screw the lock into its recess and check its operation, then attach its coverplate. Finally, the escutcheons over the keyholes.
- With the door closed, operate the bolt; it may incorporate a marking device to gauge the position of the striking plate on the doorframe. If it doesn’t have a marking device, shoot the bolt fully open, then push the door to and draw round the bolt on the face of the frame.
- Mark out and cut the mortise and recess for the striking plate, as described for the mortise lock itself.