How Can I Make My Apartment Door More Secure?

Apartment Door with hands reaching through opening

Apartment door security is essential for anyone living alone. Thankfully, understanding a few basic principles can make all the difference in preventing a break in by a burglar or thief.

Buy the Best Door Locks for your Apartment

There are a wide range of deadbolts and dead-locks available for apartment residents. Deadbolts are locks separate from regular locking door knobs, providing a stronger, more solid bolt that spans between the door and the door frame. Dead locks are very similar to deadbolts. However, deadbolts have key holes on both sides of the door, and deadlocks only lock from the inside.

Either of these locks greatly improve your apartment door security, and are a great choice among the best door locks for apartments. They require a massive amount of force to overcome and will keep you and your belongings safe and sound.

When choosing a dead bolt or deadlock, be sure to purchase one with solid metal construction and no exposed screws for thieves to gain access through.

Install a Strike Plate or Strike Box

Generally, door knobs catch on a hole drilled into the wood of a door frame. However, this is not a strong way to secure a door, as it can be easily forced open as the wood gives under the force from a kick or shoulder.

Strike plates are metal reinforcements for these holes, strengthening the area around the bolt on the doorknob, deadbolt, or dead lock. Strike boxes go a step further to add a sort of “pocket” for the door to latch to. Given the choice, get a strike box over a simple strike plate.

Get a Steel Security Door for your Apartment

Most apartment door materials are relatively flimsy. Unfortunately, breaking through UPVC (plastic), composite and wood is relatively easy, but a steel door is a great way to protect your apartment. Steel security doors even provide protection from tools such as sledgehammers, grinders, and crowbars.

Reinforce Glass Around Your Apartment Door

Even if the previous steps are followed correctly, glass around your apartment door can make them entirely worthless. Glass accent windows allow outsiders to peer inside of your apartment, plus they break easily, giving intruders access to reach in and undo the locks.

One option here is to use metal bars that are close enough together to prevent an arm from reaching in between them. However, these are rarely used simply due to aesthetic reasons. For as effective as they are, they look awful.

Another recommendation is to use window security film. Window security film is a thin, transparent sheet that protects glass by making it shatter resistant. It is applied much like window tinting. And, even if it is hit with enough force to put a hole in the glass, it still prevents the pane from shattering.

Secure the Sliding Glass Door

If you have a sliding glass door onto a balcony or patio, be sure to secure it as well. The basic locking mechanism that comes with the doors is very easy to break into. In other words, you’ll need to add at least one more method to prevent intruders from opening your apartment door from the outside.

Thankfully, there is a cost-effective and convenient way to prevent sliding glass doors from being opened from the outside. Prevent intruders from pulling open your door by simply to placing a metal bar or stick of some kind in the bottom track . A section of wooden broom handle works great for this.

Investing in a Security Bar and installing it higher up on the door adds an extra layer of protection. You can purchase bars that simply slide down into a latch. These are attached at eye level or nearer to the top of the sliding glass door. You can purchase security bars at a low cost at any home improvement store.

Mount Cameras at your Apartment Door

Video security cameras are an excellent way to keep track of what is going on outside of your apartment door. They eliminate opening the door to see who is knocking, and you can even view this when you are away from home. These cameras typically use an app to allow you to monitor activity around your apartment door using your phone. Read our review of Best Video Doorbells.

Use an Alarm or Alarm System

Alarms on apartment doors can be as simple or robust as you like. Entire alarm systems improve security greatly, but monthly fees for monitoring can be expensive. However, f you are unable to install an entire security system in your apartment, try buying a simple standalone door alarm. These door alarms go off when someone opens your door. If you prefer, you can even set them to simply emit a chime as a notification.

Confirm Your Landlord Re-keyed the Lock

Many larger apartment management companies re-key locks as a matter of course when a new tenant arrives. This prevents previous residents from gaining access to the apartment.

However, single, standalone apartment owners (for instance, in someone’s basement apartment) often neglect to replace the door locks when someone moves out.

Confirming the locks have been re-keyed can be as simple as asking your landlord. Simply inspect the the lock visually for an update, as the keyhole will often look newer than the rest of the knob after they have been replaced.

You can purchase re-keying kits for all brands and types of locks online and at home improvement stores. They are relatively easy to install, and can provide up to six new keys for your lock.

Naturally, be sure to have permission from your property owner before changing the locks on your door, as they will still need access to enter your apartment.

The Best Re-keying Kits

Conclusion

You can significantly upgrade your apartment door security by making just a few small purchases. New locks, adding deadbolts or dead-locks, as well as strike boxes adds a lot of strength to your apartment door. Glass can be toughened with window security film. You can shore up your sliding glass door with just a piece of broom handle. And, alarms can be as robust or as simple as your budget allows.

These steps will make a huge difference in protecting your valuables, guarding your safety, and granting you peace of mind.