In the past two months I have been to at least three homes after break-in robberies. Three homes and three different means of breaking in, the window, the sliding patio door and an entry door was pried open with a crowbar or similar tool.
Today I am going to address the deadbolt strike plate, which in reality is the other half of the deadbolt locking system.
Before I talk about the deadbolt strike plate I want to look at the traditional use of the strike plate and why it is called a “strike plate.” The traditional strike plate is used with the latch. The latch holds the door closed even though the door may be unlocked. The latch always protrudes, or sticks out on the edge of the door ½ inch to ¾ inch. Or 12.7mm to 19mm. When the door is closed the latch must be retracted by turning a knob, pushing down a lever or some other means by which the door is opened.
When the door is open it can be closed and latched without touching the knob or lever. This is because the latch is spring loaded. When the door is closed, the latch “strikes” a curved piece of metal (called the Lip). The purpose of the Lip is to push the spring loaded latch back into the door until the door is completely closed. The latch will spring out into a hole when the door is closed and hold the door in the closed position. The Lip and the hole the latch springs into are parts of the strike plate.
The deadbolt strike plate works nothing like the latch strike plate. A better name for the deadbolt strike plate would be “dress-plate” or “reinforcement plate.” The deadbolt lock has one function, secure the door against thieves or the enemy or both. Most deadbolt locks have a 1 inch (25.4mm) bolt or bar that extends into the door frame after the door is closed. If the deadbolt lock is a quality lock mounted in a good quality door the chances are slim the door is going to break if someone tries to kick the door in. The weak link then becomes the door frame the deadbolt is locked into.
Therefore it is imperative the deadbolt strike plate act as an anchor point and means to reinforce the door frame and deter, even prevent the door from being kicked in by robbers and home invaders.
Many brands of deadbolt locks come with extra reinforcement plates, longer anchor screws and even a steel cup, or “strike-box” as we call it in the trade. The problem is many installers, whether they are handy-men, carpenters, door specialist and even locksmiths omit installing these very important components. In reality, the way the strike plate is installed (or not installed) will determine the true security of your door.
In the the photos to follow I will explain the traditional strike plate. I will also show some deadbolt strike plates some manufacturers include when you purchase a deadbolt lock. I will also show the different parts of the deadbolt strike plate and why it is important to install all the parts.
I could show you many more examples of properly installed deadbolt strike plates but it would only bore you.
The point is to be pro-active about the security of your home or business. I have had many customers tell me “when a crook really wants to get in you cannot stop him.” True, but many homes are broken into by kids or hacks because the home owner made the opportunity so easy. If you make the average burglar work to hard to gain entry, there is a good chance he will he give up on your home and rob your neighbor.
Time, light and barriers are the thief’s enemies. The longer it takes a crook to break in, the greater chance he/she has of getting caught.