Dead bolt locks are the minimum security measure that every exterior door should have. But these locks come in varying degrees of quality and installation must be done correctly to be properly effective.
Here are some tips to make sure your dead bolt lock is securely fastened.
1. Stick to Grade 2 or 1 Strength – Dead bolt locks are graded by the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association based on the following characteristics:
Operation i.e.: key torque; cycles
Security i.e.: pull strength, impact resistance
You can purchase dead bolts in order of strength from weakest (grade 3) to mid-level (grade 2) to high security (grade 1). Grade 3 dead bolts are too weak. Stick to grade 2 or 1 only. Also make sure the bolt extends at least 1″ into the doorjamb.
2. Install locks correctly – For maximum security most locksmiths recommend installing locks an in an inch and a half above the knob, at roughly the door’s center point. At higher heights the door loses leverage and can be compromised.
3. Swing bar locks – Avoid the door chains and opt for swing bar locks for extra security which can’t be forced open.
4. Strike plate strength – The strike plate which is the metal piece that attaches to the door frame should be five inches long and installed with screws at least 3 inches long. There should be no gaps between the strike plate and the door frame.
5. Avoid double keyed locks – Locks that need a key on both sides are a fire hazard. Make sure the interior side has a knob that is easy to turn.
6. DIY dead bolt installs – Locksmiths should charge in the ballpark of $150-$200 to install a dead bolt for which should also include the cost of a quality dead bolt. If the fee is too much keep looking.