One of the cheapest ways to improve the physical security of your home is to ensure your strike plate is screwed into your door frame. The strike plate is the piece of metal inside the doorway on the door jamb which receives the bolt. The only major difference between a weak strike plate, and a strong strike plate is the length of the screws. You’ll need 3″ screws to connect the strike plate to the door frame. With out long screws, the door can be easily forced open. Here are two examples of good strike plates.
These are what you want – long screws that bite into the door frame. (shown above)
Below is an example of the screws most people have. These screws are just long enough to hold the strike plate to the trim. They really don’t do much else. All you need to do is switch out short screws for longer ones.
When you go to swap out your screws for longer ones, you will want to prep the holes for bigger screws. This will make it less likely you split the wood you’re drilling into. Pick a drill bit that is just a little more narrow than your screw (not thicker, or it won’t work). Then drill the depth of the new screw. The correct size bit depends on the screw you have. The way you know you have the right one is to put them on top of each other, the screw behind the bit. The correct drill bit will conceal the shaft of the screw but leave the threads exposed. Here is an example:
The screw is under the drill bit in this picture. You can see that the drill bit matches the thickness of the screw’s shaft, but at the same time leaves the threads of the screw exposed. Picking the right size drill bit is important.
So here is the process:
- Remove short screws
- Pick long screws (3″ long is about right)
- Match the correct drill bit to your new long screws
- Drill the holes in the door jamb to the new deeper depth
- Re-install the strike plate with the longer screws
That’s all! Thank you for reading and good luck!