How do you know if your doors are secure?

I offer people the option of taking the locks off their doors to bring to me so they can save money on rekeying them but then they miss out on potential problems I would notice and bring to their attention.

This made me think it would be helpful for people to know what to look for when addressing how safe their house or condo is.

  • Do the locks actually lock
  • If the locks lock, do they lock correctly
  • If the locks work correctly is the strike securely installed
  • Is the door and frame high enough quality to withstand kicking

The first thing to address is whether your locks actually lock or not. With the door open try locking and unlocking the door. Note how far you can turn your key or thumbturn. Now try it with the door shut. Does your key or thumbturn move the same distance and with the same amount of ease?

A large percentage of houses I go to don’t have the locks installed correctly and to lock the door one has to push or pull on the door and even if you position the door just right the deadbolt still won’t work smoothly. It might not extend all the way. If it doesn’t extend all the way the strike might not be in the correct spot or the strike may not have been drilled deep enough.

a deadbolt strike with a nail blocking it
This strike might work better if there wasn’t a nail going through the middle of it! The bolt has never extended all the way into this doorframe and since the door opens out someone could unlock the door with a butterknife or screwdriver since the bolt can be physically manipulated directly from the outside.

It is somewhat obvious if the strike has a nail or something in it keeping you from extending the bolt all the way. A more insidious problem is when the strike box isn’t installed before the strike plate. That makes it more likely that the door will be easily kicked in.

Published by

Bjørn Madsen

I am the Seattle locksmith you've been looking for. High Quality work at a reasonable price delivered in a timely fashion.