In a tough economy, not everyone can afford to purchase high quality home security products. However, since it seems to be more common for theft to take place in a recession, it’s extremely important to protect the security of your home. Installing a deadbolt lock is fairly inexpensive, and can be a good measure for preventing unauthorized access to your home.
Note – This refers only to the single cylinder deadbolt, since this is the most common type of deadbolt used for home security. For information about other types of deadbolts, you can read our article on the 3 Types of Deadbolt Locks.
What is a Deadbolt Lock?
A deadbolt lock is a locking mechanism that uses a sliding metal bolt to secure a door to its frame. This helps prevent quick entry by a burglar, which can be a vulnerability of the simple “key in knob” door locks. It’s highly recommended that your home have at least two locking mechanisms on each door, one of which being a deadbolt lock.
What are the Components of a Deadbolt Lock?
There are three main components of a deadbolt:
This is the part of the lock where you will insert your key in order to lock or unlock the deadbolt. It’s recommended that you only purchase a deadbolt lock that has a tapered cylinder. A deadbolt with a non-tapered cylinder will be much easier for a thief to remove, granting them access into your home.
This is the metal component that secures the door to the door frame. For the highest level of security, be sure that the length of your deadbolt extends at least one inch past the edge of the door (when locked). It’s also recommended that you stay away from bolts that are constructed of soft metal, such as brass. Instead, purchase a bolt that is made of reinforced steel.
This is the metal piece that fits into the door frame, acting as reinforcing component for the bolt. If installed properly, the strike plate can help prevent the deadbolt from ripping from the frame when a burglar attempts to force entry. Make sure that your strike plate is properly aligned with the deadbolt in the door. To improve the security of the strike plate, try to use screws that are longer than 1 1/2 inches to secure it to the door frame.
How Does a Deadbolt Work?
When a deadbolt lock is properly installed, the metal bolt will create a firm and secure lock when slid into the gap in the strike plate. This prevents the door from being opened, unless the lock on the other side of the cylinder is rotated (or a key is inserted to retract the bolt). The most vulnerable parts of a deadbolt lock are the cylinder, and the frame of the door that supports the extended bolt. As long as both fo these areas are securely reinforced, it’s possible to greatly increase the security of your home with a deadbolt lock. For advice about installing a deadbolt, you can read our step-by-step guide to installing a deadbolt lock.