Securing doors from burglars can be done for less than $1 - WFSB 3 Connecticut

I-TEAM

Securing doors from burglars can be done for less than $1

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Securing doors can be as easy and cheap as replacing screws. (WFSB photo) Securing doors can be as easy and cheap as replacing screws. (WFSB photo)
Eric Parker of the I-Team tests out how well screws protect doors. (WFSB photo) Eric Parker of the I-Team tests out how well screws protect doors. (WFSB photo)
SOUTHINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

The screws holding together your front door could put your family at risk.

The I-Team tested different doors and found out the type of screws used to install the lock could determine how fast a burglar can get inside.

However, there are ways to improve security, and it can be done for less than $1.

If someone breaks into a home, their most likely route is through a door.

When homeowners shop for a new locking door handle, experts said people tend to chose chrome or satin in addition to the type of look they prefer.

What they don't think about is the screws used to install it.

Professionals like Gil Wade do. He said screws may be one of the most important features.

"Most customers buy it according to the way it looks, not according to the standards," Wade said.

He said 70 percent of home break-ins and burglaries happen when a thief busts through a door.

That's why he advises customers of Southington Security to do everything they can to make that harder.

Wade said obviously, there are things like reinforces and deadbolts; however, even if homeowners only have a locking door handle, they can double the strength of the entryway for less than $1.

Homeowners can replace the standard 3/4 inch screws that come with many consumer lock sets with 3 inch stainless steel screws. The I-Team bought two for 98 cents at a hardware store.

"The ambition would be to install the lock in a way that it will prevent a kick in attack and maintain the integrity of the opening as best as it can," Wade said.

The idea is that shorter screws only reach into the door jamb, which is typically made of soft pine. The 3 inch screws will secure the strikeplate that holds the door closed into the dimensional lumber underneath, which is much stronger.

"So you're getting a screw into a couple of 2x4s," Wade explained. "So if it's going to give, it's not going to give there. It's a lot less likely to give because you've made a marriage between the door and the frame itself."

The I-Team tested that.

It framed up a couple of doors at the WFSB studios in Rocky Hill and used the standard 3/4 inch screws on one and 3 inch screws on the other.

Two good kicks, and the door with the 3/4 inch screws gave way. It was apparent that the screws were only in the jamb, which shattered.

On the second door, it took more than 20 kicks and it still held up. The only change was the 3 inch screws for 98 cents.

"Those small 3/4 inch screws are only interacting with the jamb which, in your case, can be kicked in," Wade said.

Of course, there are other variables, according to Wade.

Homeowners will want to make sure they're using strong stainless steel screws. Cheaper, long screws can still snap.

The I-Team tried the experiment with interior doors. The screws held the strikeplate in place, but the door itself gave way.

Wade said the only way to truly evaluate the security is to have a registered locksmith come out and take a look.

However, some quick and easy improvements may be made with the simple switch to stainless steel screws, according to Wade.

Wade said he has other inexpensive suggestions on his website. Check it out here.

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