Brigid has had a home invasion.

Thankfully, things turned out well, but sheesh!

I suggested she equip herself with kick proof doors, which is a relatively simple thing to do, if you understand the dynamics of door-kicking.

Predominantly, you have to have a good door, and a good jamb.

One company that provides that kind of quality is Therma Tru. Their entry doors are solid and made particularly well. At the entry level are the security steel doors, which are reinforced and plenty strong enough in themselves. The nicer doors are fiberglass, and have a surface that can be finished to look like a fine wood door.

While it’s not pretty, the best door for security’s sake is a solid door. A full glass door obviously doesn’t provide much security, but if you are determined to let in some light, use a small, top mounted window that is at least 36″ from the door handle; that way a burgler cannot break the glass and simply reach in and unlock the door.

The strongest door in the world is meaningless without a decent jamb. The obvious choice is a steel jamb, but a lot of people don’t like them, they’re cold, and sometimes installers don’t understand how to attach them so they are any more secure than a wood jamb. And you can as often make a wood jamb as strong as steel, by the installation of a few simple features.

1: Hinges. There are several manufacturers of continuous extruded hinges, mcKinney is one. This type of hinge attaches to the entire edge of the door. There are two rows of screws, and you should use long ass screws. The screws going into the door should be at least 3″ long, and the screws going into the jamb should be at least long enough to go through the stud adjacent to the jamb. If you are lucky enough to be doing this in new construction, or don’t mind removing walls, you can also put a plate on the inside of the stud and drill through and use screws and nuts. The bottomline is, you can get about a hundred and fifty screws into the continuous hinge, and the gear assembly of the hinge not only is vision proof when opened, but the strength is resistant even to breaching rams.

2:Deadbolt. The strongest deadbolt in the world is only as secure as the amount of wood around it, and most deadbolt strikes leave about a half inch of wood in front of them.

At the very least, you need to reinforce that, and you can do so in several ways of varying degrees of diffculty and provided integrity.

My favorite is the pipe. You take a long spade bit and drill through the jamb, the adjacent stud, and another stud. This allows you to insert and secure a piece of 3/4″ pipe into the wall through a couple of studs. You have to be absolutely sure you’re not drilling into wiring, and for this reason this is a good installation for new construction, before the drywall is installed. I have even gone so far as to bolt steel reinforcement plates onto the studs and around the pipe.

Now the deadbolt goes into the pipe, and kicking the door most often results in a broken foot. You can duplicate this two more times, on the top and bottom edge of the door, using blind deadbolts on the door so they are not visible from the outside.

If the door is steel, the deadbolt is usually pretty secure. If it’s fiberglass, less so, with the worst being wood. There are steel reinforcement plates that can be attached around the deadbolt that will help, but only so much. You can install a full-length deadbolt like a MacLock, but again, that is still only good as the jamb it’s attached to.

3:Outswing doors. There are a lot of people that like to leave their doors open, and enjoy the breeze through a screen door or the light through a full-length door. This being the case, most residential doors are inswing. If you are happy to forego a screen door, you can just go to an outswing door. Since an outswing rests against the entire surface of the jamb, it’s nearly impossible to kick in without a vehicle-mounted battering ram. And if you don’t insist on pretty handle type latches on the outside, and instead opt for a simple bell type knob, it’s impossble for anyone to get a handhold and pull the door open.

it is also possible to equip outswing doors with panic bars so they cannot be opened from the outside at all, but can be simply pushed open from the inside.

Also: If your door is a little difficult to unlock, say you have to lift up on the door somewhat to get the key to turn, LEAVE IT ALONE! it is much more difficult for an intruder to pick a lock with lockpicking tools that is difficult to open with a key. The smoother the key works in the lock, the easier to pick the lock. Don’t make it easy for them!

There are a lot of different tips and tricks, but these are good basic ones. Remember the optimum is a steel security door with a continuous hinge, a steel jamb propperly secured to the walls, which opens out. Security goes down from there, but cost can actually go UP.