Safer door hinges to make your home more secure
The wrong hinge style can leave your house vulnerable to burglary. Here are other options.
Having the right door hinge and door locks can make a big difference in home security. When burglars look at your doors, they will look to see if the door swings outward and if there are exposed door hinges. This would allow them to tap the hinge pins up and out, and lift the door off its hinges, removing the door without unlocking it.
Although many homes now install front doors so the hinges rest inside of the house, many exterior doors to garages and patios still swing outward and have their hinges exposed.
Secure hinges with exposed pins
The safe door hinges, listed below, may help prevent exposed hinge pins from being removed, and may deter burglars from attempting to detach the door. If apartment hinges are on the outside of your doors, talk to your landlord about improving the security of the door. Even if your hinge pins are on the inside face of the door, it's still a good idea to use these hinges for added security.
Setscrew in the door hinge to prevent access
One design keeps the hinge pin in place with a setscrew, or a small screw threaded through the middle of the hinge. If the door is closed, the setscrew can't be accessed. You also can make this hinge yourself by drilling a hole through the middle of the hinge and into the pin, and then installing a small setscrew. However, if the door is in the open position, the setscrew is exposed and can be retracted, and the hinge pins removed. Remember to grind down this setscrew so would-be burglars cannot take it out.
Fast-riveted (crimped) pins to prevent removal
These pins are longer than the hinge height, and once inserted into the hinge, they are crimped on their ends to create a rivet on the top and bottom of the pin. The crimping prevents the pin's removal. These pins give the most security, but you won't be able to easily detach your door if you need to. You will have to remove the hinges entirely to do so.
Safety studs to secure hinges
Safety studs or pegs offer another option to keep your hinges secure. You can purchase hinges with this stud already in place, but if the screw-holes on the two sides (or leaves) of your hinges line up, a stud or small metal peg can be installed in one of the holes to fit into the corresponding leaf's hole when the door is closed. That way, even if the hinge pin is removed, the door still cannot be taken off its hinges because the stud holds it in place. If the screw-holes on the hinge leaves don't line up, you can drill a matching hole and then place a screw without a head or a short, thick nail into one of the screw-holes and have it projecting out to engage the opposite leaf. Safety studs are a good security measure if you still need to remove your door from time to time, but don't want to commit the time and effort to unscrew its hinges.
Consult a locksmith or security contractor
Before making any adjustments or retrofits to your door hinges, it's best to consult a locksmith or security contractor. They can assess your hinges and make any other professional recommendations to keep your doorways secure.
Remember, secure door hinges aren't guaranteed to deter or keep out all intruders. They might help reduce the likelihood of intruders by ensuring your hinges are secure. If you are renting an apartment, consult with your landlord about securing your hinges and any other improvements to your apartment you would like to make.