There are many security issues related to exterior doors. Home security is always relative to how bad someone wants to get in. For example a sliding glass door is only as secure as the nearest brick or planter. The problem with that approach to opening doors is that it is VERY NOISY and therefore avoided by most intruders. That said, we like to do what we can to make our doors as secure as possible—-without being an “open” invitation.
Today I am only going to focus on exterior “out-swinging” doors, and the issue of “security type hinges.” Out-swing exterior doors should have hinges installed with hinges that either have hinge halves that interlock or that have pins with set screws. These set-screw type hinges are the most common in my area—-when they are there. Sometimes they are present but the set screw is missing. When it is missing the hinge is then no different than any regular hinge where the pin can be removed.
The purpose of these security type hinges is that you don’t want to be able to remove the pins and thus be able to remove the door regardless of whether it is locked or not. This is a very simple fix and is simply a matter of changing one of the hinges to the type that has a set screw. I would guess that about 50 percent of the out-swing doors I inspect, as a Seattle Home Inspector, do not have hinges with security-pins. About 10 percent of the ones that do, have missing set screws.
If you have out-swinging exterior doors you should check to see if at least one of the hinges is a security type hinge—-either the interlocking type, or the security-pin type. If it is the security-pin type, does it have a set screw in place?
Amongst all the rust and less than professional painting—-or the need for painting—-can you see the set-screw at the center of the hinge in the picture above?
Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector
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