As homes settle in on their foundation, the doors may not fit as well in their door frames. There may be gaps in the doorway where once there were none. There are ways to make sure that the locks on the exterior doors are still doing their job of keeping burglars out. Here are a few of the ways that you can make sure your home is still secure in spite of the effects of aging on the doors and locks.

Address the Gaps in the Doorway

As the house settles, the edge of the door can move away from the frame, leaving a gap between the two. This allows a burglar to get a pry bar into the gap and force the door away even further. If they are successful, they may be able to push the bolt on the deadbolt past the frame to get into the house. Re-hanging or replacing the door and doorway are expensive projects. There are a few ways to take care of the gap with the right lock.

If you have a standard deadbolt that has a bolt that slides out from the edge of the door into the frame, it's recommended that the bolt slide into the door frame at least one inch for the best security. Measure the bolt on your deadbolt and if less than an inch moves into the frame, replace the lock with one with an extra long bolt.

A thief may also pry the door away from the frame enough to get a saw blade into the space and try to cut through the bolt. One way to prevent this is to replace the standard deadbolt with an external mounted variety. This lock mounts on the inside face of the door. The bolt slips into a metal component that mounts on the wall next to the door. This is called a jimmy-proof lock because it moves the bolt further away from a thief that wants to cut through it.

A variation of the externally mounted lock is the vertical deadbolt. This lock is also mounted on the surface of the door, but the bolt slides vertically into the metal component and is completely enclosed. A burglar can't get to this bolt to cut through it.

Make Sure the Lock Installation is Secure

Over time, the screws attaching the lock to the door and frame can become loose. The wood weathers and becomes dry and brittle. A thief may try to kick the door and force the bolt through the old wood frame. Or they may try to pry the wood screws holding he strike plate out of the frame.

Replace the rectangular metal plate on the door frame with a reinforced plate that makes it harder to kick the door open. The reinforced strike plate has a metal box built onto it into which the bolt from the lock slides. This protects the bolt from being kicked through the weakened wood on the door frame.

Replace all of the wood screws holding the lock and strike plate in place with extra long hardened steel wood screws. This makes it harder to pry the components off of the door and frame. You can also use a metal sleeve that screws into the old screw hole. A metal screw is then used to secure the door components in place. This makes your old wooden frame more secure without needing to do major remodeling of the door and frame.

Visit a website like to learn more.