Choosing An Effective Deadbolt Combination For Your Front Door

Posted on: 13 July 2015

When looking for the best deadbolt for your front door, there are several components that make it effective. The best locks won't be useful if the strike plate and door frame are the weak points. Here is how to choose the deadbolt and components that give you the most protection.

Anatomy of a Deadbolt

The deadbolt mechanism attaches to the door with a thick steel bolt extending from inside the door into the door frame. A strip of metal called a strike plate is attached to the door frame. The deadbolt goes through a hole in the strike plate and into the frame and wall. A complete solution for your protection addresses all of these elements.


Have a professional locksmith, like those at LI Locksmiths Inc, show you only ANSI Grade 1 deadbolts made of steel, bronze or brass. These bolts are the hardest to break or cut through by an intruder. Die-cast locks can shatter when hit with a hammer or crowbar.

Strike Plates

The standard strike plate is a thin piece of metal with a square hole in it for the bolt. Locksmiths have heavy-duty plates that are thicker and are built with a square steel box for the bolt. The bolt slides into this steel box which sets inside of the door frame. This gives you extra protection from someone forcing the bolt through the frame and wall by pushing on the door. Use extra-long wood screws to secure the strike plate to the frame to prevent someone from prying the plate loose.

Door and Frame Enhancements

To make it harder for someone to pry the door away from the frame enough to cut through the bolt, metal strips and brackets are available. These attach to the edge of the door and prevent getting a crowbar into the wood to crack or split it.

Deadbolt Alternatives

The standard deadbolt does present a risk of someone getting to the steel bolt itself and cutting through. A variation of this lock is a vertical deadbolt, also called a surface-mounted deadbolt. This unit attaches to the door, but the bolt does not sit inside of the door.

A bracket mounts onto the wall. When you close the door and turn the lock, a steel bolt moves up into two or three metal rings on the wall bracket. With this style of lock, prying the door away from the frame does not expose the bolt to be cut. For the best protection, the wall-mounted portion of the lock must be secured with long wood screws to one of the wood studs that make up the frame.