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Easy, 1 Time, Deadbolt Self-check

Easy, One time, Deadbolt self-check

Make sure your locks are providing maximum security for your family

The most important locks on a home are normally the the bolt locks. Deadbolts give doors better resistance to forced entry, but they only provide that resistance when installed correctly. Deadbolts are simple locks, it’s easy to make sure yours is installed properly. If  your deadbolt fails any part of this checklist I will show you what to do.

Why is this important?

Deadbolts provide resistance to forced entry. Compared to deadbolts, knobs and levers provide very little resistance to forced entry. Most of us depend on one or more deadbolts to be our main line of defense to forced entry. We rely on them to discourage would be criminals looking for a fast pay day, and allow us peace of mind at night. If your deadbolt is not installed correctly it will not work correctly.

How likely is my deadbolt to need a slight adjustment?

It’s very likely your deadbolt could use a little TLC. I would about half the deadbolts I see in customer’s homes are lacking the most important

Let’s get started.

Gather a the correct screw drivers and a flash light

First lets look at your strike plate, here is an example of a strike that was not reinforced correctly, the small screw used was not sufficient to protect this door from being easily forced open. Imagine depending on two small screws to keep your front door from being forced open… maybe you already are. Hopefully you never need long screws to go to work for you, but if the day came you would appreciate them. Short screw are common, toss them out if you find them. We will check the bolt is allowed to fully extend when locked in part 2. Part 3 will help you check a few last details.

Deadbolt Strike Plate Screws
This was one of two screws held the deadbolt strike plate to the door jamb. This length screw is a weak link you can easily remove. Replace them with longer screws.
  1. Check to see if your strike plate is securely screwed in correctly:
    • How long are the screws that currently secure it to the door jamb? They should be about 3″ (three inches) unless a window prevents the use of screws that length. Don’t run oversized screws into any window you might have!
    • Good exapmle 3″ screws
      • Check that your screws run into a stud. Just like hanging up a mirror on a wall, screwing into a stud makes a stronger hold
      • Install long screws or how to install large screws
      • If need be you can angle you screw towards the stud though it can become complicated it is necessary.
      • angle drilled strike plate
        This is the security strike plate that Schlage provides it’s customers. This frame was set back from the wall so it was necessary to install the security screws at a angle to hit the stud.


  2. Inspect your bolt with the door open, throw the bolt forward and note how far the thumb turn rotates when the bolt is extended. Next close the door and ensure your bolt throws completely. If it is not it may be pushed back easily to the unlocked position. You can try that with the door open if you want to see for yourself.
bolt is fully thrown, so we can get a look at where the thumb turn should stop


When the door is shut we can see the bolt is again fully thrown


3. Ensure all bolts and screws are tightened down. On a wood door you can tighten main bolts down as tight as possible, but on a steel or fiberglass door only tighten until very snug with a screwdriver. Steel and fiber glass doors will simply get crushed by over tightening of the main bolts which secure the front and back of lock together. the smaller the screw the more gentle you should expect to tighten them. Next lubricate your lock with a thin bottled or aerosol Teflon lubricant. Check your keys and thumb turn to make sure they still work.

Your deadbolt is good for years to come when complete.






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