An exterior door is only as strong as its weakest component. A high quality lock installed in a door attached to a weak frame remains vulnerable to forced entry, and is equivalent to putting a padlock on a paper bag.
For an exterior door to be an effective barrier between the burglar and their target, three aspects of a door assembly must be addressed and secured: the door, the door frame, and the lock.
When choosing a deadbolt, have these minimum specifications:
Not all deadbolts are created equal. They appear similar on the exterior, but the internal components are critical to the overall integrity of the lock. Install a deadbolt that meets or exceeds ANSI grade 2.
Exterior doors are often constructed of soft-wood products filled with insulating material and covered by veneer or metal sheeting. To improve security, all exterior doors should be solid-core and include a method to eliminate susceptibility to edge splitting.
All exterior doors should be solid. Steel doors should be a minimum of 24 gauge. Regardless of their type, most residential doors have wood-framed edges, which need to be protected from splitting at the deadbolt.
To counter door splitting during an attack, the door should be equipped with an escutcheon plate, or door reinforcer. Escutcheon plates are found in most hardware stores and are easy to install. They significantly increase the rigidity of a door edge and reduce the chance of a door splitting around the deadbolt. Some steel-edge doors are adequately protected without an escutcheon plate.The Door Frame
The door frame is often referred to as the door jamb, and it is inherently weak. In most cases the frame is weakest component of the door assembly. Usually constructed of soft wood, they offer little or no resistance to splitting. The most important point of any door security system is the place where the deadbolt lock meets the frame.
Some ways to increase door-frame security:
Entryways with side lights on one or both sides of the exterior door are prevalent in residential subdivisions. While these types of doors are aesthetically pleasing, without proper security, they offer a minimal level of protection.