front door lock beside side light windows?

jbeanyAugust 21, 2010

When we bought our mid '70s house, there was a lock on the front door that requires the use of a key to open it from either side. I assume this was installed because there are side light windows on both sides of the door and a thief could break the (tempered) glass and turn a regular deadbolt for easy entry. I want to replace the lock because I am more concerned about easy exit for our family if there was a fire than I am about burglars. My husband is not convinced that this is the way to go. I suggested that we consider a regular deadbolt and some secondary security (chain or something else), but a chain would not be in place if no one was home and we left through the front door.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a lock to be used on a front (exterior) door with side light windows? I am not ready to invest in replacing the entire door and surround.


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In our area those two sided keyed deadbolts are illegal for the reason you mentioned, lack of easy exit. I would think about a decent security system vs. a lock and go ahead with a keyed one side, latch on the inside deadbolt replacement. If the bad guys want in bad enough, they will enter through a window. With a security system in place, it will scare them off. They typically look for the easiest target so a known security system in place typically ward s them off to an easier "hit".

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 6:49PM
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The side lights on a house I had (built in the early 1990s) were indestructible. I know that because my husband locked himself out and tried to break in and could not break the panes. So possibly you could replace the sidelight panels.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 9:42PM
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They forgot to put our side light in the closet (no less)next to front door, so we said, please don't, will just fade clothes!! But others that got it used either wood paneling & secured it with thin molding all around or as we did on kitchen door that had thin glass panels in it, we added a heavy acrylic or Plexi- glass spelled wrong, sorry, is what is available now. The glass & acrylic are still in it & doing fine!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 1:58AM
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Bryan Scott

First thing's first- you have insurance on your house, right? Your belongings can be replaced- a family member you cannot.

I just bought my first house, which was built in '73. It too has two exterior doors that had the keyed lock on it. Due to being a fire saftey hazard (and a new city code violation), I changed out the locks. So each door has one dead bolt, and the knobs have the little turn buttons. One thing that I did differently on the changeout was to install the jam striker plates with screws long enough to go into the actual framing joist (I used 3" screws), not just the door dam facial board. Theives these days are just kicking in the doors for access as it's not that hard to break out the half inch thick facial board. It's a lot harder to break out the framing joist.

On a side note, if you can find a security system sticker to put in the window...

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 9:58AM
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There are a lot more home buglaries than there are home fires. Hang an extra key near the door (but out of reach from the sidelight and out of sight. from outside.)

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 10:17PM
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There are probably five easier ways into your home than thru the front door, sidelights or not, deadbolt or no, 3" screws or not.

I've been in a fire, in a cabin mind you, not a house. All your thoughts of finding that key hung somewhere special, fitting it into the lock, turning it and then turning the door handle sound great while typing at a keyboard but, in real life...not so much.

First...get you and your family safe.
Second, don't live in fear of what if, make solid, informed plans to safeguard you and yours. But do first things first.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 2:43AM
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