How I Made My Front Door Virtually Impenetrable For Less Than $100

When we moved into our current house I was a little uneasy about someone being able to walk up and kick in our front door.  Sure, we live in a good neighborhood and a safe community.  But let’s be honest: Stuff happens and it doesn’t just happen in bad neighborhoods.

“Can You Imagine Waking Up In The Middle Of The Night And Hearing
Your Neighbor’s Drunk Ex-Boyfriend Trying To Kick Your Front Door In?”

I’m sure you can imagine a scenario where your neighbor’s drunkard ogre-of-an-ex-boyfriend gets loaded up on whiskey and blow and tries to kick in her front door to profess his love at four in the morning.

Except he’s so doped up that he mistakes her front door… for yours!!

No thanks, I’d rather not have to shoot anybody if having an impenetrable front door will prevent the situation from happening in the first place.

I looked into heavy-duty steel front doors, but they cost an arm and a leg.  Literally thousands of dollars.  If I lived in a multi-million dollar home, I might choose that option. But even if I did, I’d probably still use the gear I bought (below) as it provides much more security at a very low cost.

I researched both security doors and storm doors that fit in-front of your current door. Storm doors didn’t seem to provide that much true protection against intruders and security doors would make the house look… how shall I say… less appealing?  I’ve spent enough time living in houses in Latin America that had bars on the doors and windows to know that it makes you feel like you’re living in a jail cell.

Good luck talking your wife into putting one of these on the front door.

Good luck talking your wife into putting one of these on the front door. Fugly!

So, I went to Home Depot and bought a couple of door bar braces.  These cost about $20 a piece.  The problem is that they had a tendency to slip on the floor, so if somebody tries to push the door in, they slide backwards.  I experimenting with changing the angle.  Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.  The other issue is that they’re made of aluminum, which isn’t exactly confidence inspiring.

I began to get nervous about their reliability when I did further research and read stuff like:

“I just bought this bar at Home Depot and tried it.  I am about 200 pounds and I hit the door with 50% of forth, and it just broke.  Don’t rely on it.”

and

“I bought this after my house was broken into. Sure enough a week later they kicked in my back door and I had this brace firmly planted so that it could not slip out and they broke it with a few good kicks to the door. The adjustable mechanism was to blame. Cheap metal construction. If the metal was thicker or harder it wouldn’t have bent to let the metal positioning lock slip through. I would never buy this again. Worthless. I’m going to try to return it.”

So, I did more research and purchased a better designed product that actually worked.  I got two of these, which was a big step in the right direction.

Buddy Bar

The Buddy Bar is similar to the Master Lock Security Bars I had bought at Home Depot, except that it fixes their design flaws — namely, it’s made of steel and the rubber foot on the end doesn’t slip.  ** We currently use this on our back kitchen door.

Then I Found Something Even Better… And Cheaper, Too!

I initially bought two Buddy Bars, one for the front door and one for the back door.  But then I found something even better.

I was up late browsing the internet one night and I stumbled across a product that inconspicuously anchors into the floor to create a brace that prevents your front door from being kicked in.  I wasn’t sure about it, so I sent the link to my father who owned a locksmithing company for several years.  He’s seen it all when it comes to home security devices.

Then I got distracted with other projects and forgot all about it.

A couple of months later I was at his house and remembered the link to the Nightlock product I had sent him.

“It’s brilliant,” he said.  “It’s such a simple idea I’m amazed nobody thought about it, before.”

“Does it really work?” I asked.

 “Even with a battering ram, you’d likely have to
physically break the door into pieces to get through it.”

He took me over to his front door and showed me the Nightlock he had installed. The floor plate was so inconspicuous I had completely missed it.

“I just don’t see how anybody could get through the door with this thing on it, since it’s anchored into the floor,” he said.  “Even with a battering ram, you’d likely have to physically break the door into pieces to get through it.”

I tried it myself.  I pushed and pushed but the door wouldn’t budge.

The Nightlock has two primary pieces: A bottom part that anchors to the floor and the upper part that slides into the bottom part when you’re at home.  When you leave or when you open the door, you simply slide the second piece out of the anchored piece and set it aside.

nightlock3

I ended up buying two for our house after seeing how it worked on my father’s door.  We sleep a lot better at night knowing that our doors are 100% secure.

My father also bought a Nightlock that works on sliding glass doors, too:

nightlock5

The only problem with the Nightlock is that it doesn’t protect your front door while you’re out of the house.

When we bought our house, it was a fixer-upper.  So I had the contractor install three inch screws into the strike plate, until I could find a better solution.

After we got settled into the house, I bought this reinforced strike plate off Amazon.  For just a little over $6, I figured… what do I have to lose?

reinforced strike plate

But to be honest, after it arrived I kinda had buyers remorse that I didn’t spend the extra money on the StrikeMaster ll PRO door frame and hinge reinforcement that covers a larger area of the door frame.

strikemaster

I also purchased a Simplisafe wireless alarm system that comes with an entry sensor that will also go on the front door.  But it hasn’t arrived yet, so I’ll have to post a separate review on it, after I’ve had a chance to play with it.

The final piece de resistance is our 70 lb. dog who sleeps near the front door and barks like the devil when anyone walks up the driveway.

** We weren’t able to install the Nightlock on our back kitchen door because when we had our hardwood installed, the subfloor had to be raised and that reduced the amount of clearance between the floor and the bottom of the door, preventing the door from clearing the Nightlock floor plate.  On our front door we didn’t have that problem.

4 Comments
  1. I have had good luck with Traveler’s security lock, purchased on amazon. It is more expensive but solves the problem of the floor clearance and no need to reinforce the strike plate.

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