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Door Security Chains and Hotel-type Swing Locks Q&A

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Dear NH,

I am trying to install a security chain on my front door, and don't know which side of the lock goes on the door??  Also, do you have any installation tips?

TS

TS,

Door chain with keyed lockThe security chain is mounted on the interior door molding and the slide catch is mounted on the door, with the opening for the chain located away from the door edge.  The slide should be mounted close to the edge of the door per the manufacturer's instructions.  Mounting the slide catch too far from the edge of the door might make it difficult to attach/detatch the chain!   This type of lock comes keyed or unkeyed.  Keyed security chains (shown) allow you to lock or unlock the chain from the outside if you're dexterous!

Hotel-type swing door guardThere are similar security devices that use a bar instead of a chain (right).  Door security guards are commonly used in hotels and motels for a higher level of security and to keep the maid from opening your door while you're "sleeping". They are stronger than a chain but still allows the door to be slightly opened to view visitors, They also are less likely to scratch the door or frame the way a swinging chain can!

Caveat. You should know that there is a device widely available on the internet (looks like a prybar) that can open these from the outside. This is by design so emergency personnel can get into hotel rooms. Nevertheless, as a means to delay entry into your home, they work just fine (such as giving you time to get your gun or into your safe room).

Do they work?  Yes, if you install the lock properly.  For extra strength, you might even want to use longer screws than the ones provided with the kit.  For example, the door frame side could use screws up to 2" to firmly mount into the structural frame of the door.  For the door side, screws with a length 1/8" to1/4" shorter than the thickness of the door will give the most strength.  Also, if possible use minimum #10 screws.

Of course, pre-drill all screw holes to make installation easier!

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Jerry Alonzy, the founder of Naturalhandyman.com

Written by Jerry Alonzy

Jerry Alonzy, a.k.a. the Natural Handyman, has been an active handyman for over 30 years with experience in most areas of home repair and renovation.

As a do-it-yourself author and web developer since 1995, he has been featured in USA Today, the Today Show and on radio shows, magazines, newspapers and websites. His material appears widely on the web, but primarily on his website... The Natural Handyman. You can also find him on Google+ and Facebook.