Keeping Your Home Secure by Properly Installing a Deadbolt

When your deadbolt was originally installed, the installer might not have done everything within their power to make certain that it is does it’s job properly.

A deadbolt is fitted with a metal plate (strike plate), that is mortised into your door frame. This plate is what gives the deadbolt more strength when someone tries to force their way into the secured space. If the strike plate was installed with short screws, it could fail when the door is forced open.

How to Increase the Security of Your Deadbolt

The first step in increasing the deadbolt’s security, is to install longer screws that will be driven into the wooden studs that surround the door frame. The best option is to use screws that are at least 3″ long or longer and are slightly larger in diameter than the original ones used in the strike plate.

  1. Security Tip 1 Image 1Remove the existing deadbolt strike plate mounting screws from the door frame using a number 2 Phillips screwdriver or powered screw remover. Since you will be replacing the screws, you can discard them.

While you have the strike plate off the door frame, make certain that the deadbolt hole has been drilled deep enough to allow the bolt to completely throw into the hole. To accomplish this, with the door open, throw (rotate) the thumb turn on the inside of the deadbolt and note its position when fully extended. Next, close the door and throw it again. If the thumb turn is not in the same position, the hole needs to be made deeper or the deadbolt will not be secure enough. If necessary, use a drill with a spade bit to make the hole deeper.


  1. Security Tip 1 Image 2Reinstall the strike plate back into the door jamb’s mortised cutout. Using an electric drill and drill bit that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the screws that you will use, drill pilot holes to accommodate the longer screws.



  1. Take the new screws and place them into the holes that you drilled in step 2 above.Security Tip 1 Image 3



  1. Using a suitable screwdriver, install the new screws making certain that you drive them deep enough so that they do not interfere with the closing of the door.Security Tip 1 Image 4



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