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Posted: 11/3/2009 5:14:06 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/3/2009 8:33:36 AM EST by Mal_means_bad]
Hey guys, I'm replacing my front and back doors and three windows in my house, and I could use some advice about security features.

My front door is 32" in a hardwood lumber frame with a storm door, opening from my porch into my living room. My local hardware store stocks Larson "secure" storm doors for $340, which look pretty damned good. They have a 1 5/8" (hollow) aluminum frame and a keyed lock with a three-point bolt, two of which hook into the frame. The door is full length glass, but it's laminated with a tough plastic like windshield glass for shatter resistance. You could get past it, of course, but it looks like it would take awhile and you're going to make some serious noise.

As for the entry door itself, I'm not sure what I should get. A "standard" fiberglass or steel door? A custom, heavy, all wood job? Whatever the base door, I want to make some upgrades. Something like a Strikemaster II, or Door Jamb Armor kit at around $100, a 4'-5' long steel plate that replaces the dinky standard strike plate, with reinforced hinges and plates wrapping around the deadbolt installation. The back door is 36" without a storm door and in pine 2x4 framing. I'd like a similar set up there, or even heavier since it's the more likely one to be assaulted in an attempted break in and less used, so it can be less pretty.

The windows are 26" x 69", two of them facing the porch, one facing the side yard. The one facing the side yard is the most isolated, almost completely screened from view from the street and most neighbors. I've been looking at the standard, cheap, double hung two pane replacement windows. I reckon the most likely way to gain entry is to smash the glass, so I'm interested in security film, but I don't know which brand is best. Also, how useful is it to add this film to a "budget" window? Do you need reinforced frames to get full benefit from this?

I imagine the other method of entry is by prying the window open. There will be the standard, dinky, window lock, but I'm sure that can be improved on. There are products like this Pin Lock which go through sash and frame, or this simple widget that fits onto the track. And then there's the good old fashioned dowel rod jammed between the bottom window and the top of the frame. What do you guys like/don't like in window locks?

ETA: I should note that there is one major cosmetic flaw with the Larson storm doors, the handle is not solid brass. Apparently a lot of buyers report that this finish flakes off fairly easily and makes the handle look like ass. On the other hand, these doors also qualify for a 30% Energy Tax Credit (as will the windows and entry doors I'm looking at, 30% tax credit applies to the cost of the hardware only, not installation)
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 8:04:20 AM EST
I recommend that you go with a steel door with a wood core. It's more solid. Fiberglass are more efficient but they are easy to break through. Wood is not a good idea. It's the most expensive and the least efficient.

The storm door that you are talking about would be a good idea and it also increases efficiency. Good idea.

As far as the windows are concerned, I have no experience with the films. However, some window makers make windows that are hurricane resistant. The glass can withstand tremendous force. Might ask about them.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 9:11:45 AM EST
Simonton is one of the largest vinyl window manufactorers in this country. They have a excellent rep. They make a laminated replacement window. You won't go wrong with this product. Check them out here. Simonton
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 9:16:21 AM EST
You can make your own door jamb guards for real cheap. Don't skimp on the locks as cheap ones can be bump picked. Also you might want to consider security film on all lower windows and side glass.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 2:42:40 PM EST
I suggest getting steel or reinforced door frames. A lady I work with had $500 steel doors and some guys kicked it in. The door was good, but the frame gave way.
I also suggest double paned windows or more paned. The more panes, the harder it is, not to mention its probably more bulletproof
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 2:57:48 AM EST
With windows I am darn happy to just make a couple pieces of wood that keep the window from opening or closing from where I have it set.

Do it with decent wood and stain it and try to match it up to look decent.

As much as I think the pin method would be worth it I have questions about drilling to close to the glass and causing issues and especially if it is a double pane setup of some sort.

I always have some decent scrap wood around and as long as you do things decently it does not look that bad since it covers up the window tracks anyway.

I would spend a lot of time researching how stuff gets installed, doors and windows, and make sure the installation is not a weak point.

Link Posted: 11/4/2009 3:09:47 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/4/2009 3:10:00 AM EST by Subconscious]
Tag.

I'd like to have better doors in place by the new year. Break-ins are really going up up near the city. It won't be long before it works its way out my way.
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 4:03:56 AM EST
A UL listed fire door will work for a lot of security applications . not very ascetically pleasing is the downside. , get a steel frame and space the deadbolt at least a foot away from the other lock .
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 5:31:47 AM EST
Originally Posted By ColtRifle:
I recommend that you go with a steel door with a wood core. It's more solid. Fiberglass are more efficient but they are easy to break through. Wood is not a good idea. It's the most expensive and the least efficient.

The storm door that you are talking about would be a good idea and it also increases efficiency. Good idea.

As far as the windows are concerned, I have no experience with the films. However, some window makers make windows that are hurricane resistant. The glass can withstand tremendous force. Might ask about them.


Ditto.

On the door, Medeco doorknob, Medeco deadbolt.

What is the lock on the storm door? If it is not suitable, I would have that changed to a Medeco as well.



Link Posted: 11/4/2009 8:53:09 AM EST
I install doors and windows all the time. The biggest weakness for doors is the gap between the door molding and the homes framing.

Fill that gap with plywood. Replace all hinge screws and latch plate screws with 3"-4" inch screws that go into the homes framing.

Most doors come with a predrilled deadbolt hole. Use it and Add more deadbolts if you want
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 9:37:18 AM EST
Safety film is good but only as good as its installed. I'm a certified Llumar magnum safety film installer lol. The film does help but unless it has some sort of attachment to the frame its useless. The thinner films require a sealant (sticky caulk) that basically sticks to the glass, frame, and film. The thicker you go the more advanced the attachment systems get. They go anywhere from a "L" channel type with 3m adhesive tape up to things that bolt on to frames and have wires lol. So on a house it will definatly slow people down but if not installed right it just holds the broken glass together while it falls out. Now granted while its holding it together they will need to beat on it first to break it then to knock it in. So you may still get someone in but not til they have beat the hell out of glass, film, and frame.
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 11:23:18 AM EST
Originally Posted By wsix:
I install doors and windows all the time. The biggest weakness for doors is the gap between the door molding and the homes framing.

Fill that gap with plywood. Replace all hinge screws and latch plate screws with 3"-4" inch screws that go into the homes framing.

Most doors come with a predrilled deadbolt hole. Use it and Add more deadbolts if you want


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Same here I own a Glass and door comp. out of Alsip IL called Deal Glass & Door.
I would say for a storm door it real dosen't mater what you put on it can be ripped right off.
In a SHTF thing they serive little to no use at all. As for the door it self i would go with a hard wood like oak
thery look good and you realy can't brake thow them. But you would have to ether block in the gapping of
the door frame to the fram of the house whitch is a pain in the a** to cut the wood so the door is still flush or
fill it in with Great Stuff use the red can if you do it is the tuffest out of the 3 they make. Now to the windows
any window you may go with can be broken out NO MATTER WHAT ANY ONE MAY SAY HERE. How ever
I would say go with a Lammy or a double Lammy( lammy is 2 pices of glass laminated together so double is 3 pices of glass)
But now remember what ever you do it will not be 100%
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