Tornadoes: Double Entry Doors - Securing

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The exterior walls, doors and windows are the protective shell of your home. If the shell is broken during a tornado, high winds can enter the home and put pressure on the roof and walls causing serious damage. Many homes are equipped with double entry doors. These doors typically consist of an “active” door (which is used when only one door is needed) and an “inactive” door (which usually remains closed but can be opened when necessary). These doors are usually not as strong as a single door and are therefore more susceptible to wind damage. If your doors fail under wind pressure, they will allow wind to enter your property where it can cause more damage and possibly injure you or others. 

You can reinforce double entry doors to make them less susceptible to wind damage by adding a heavy-duty deadbolt or replacing the existing deadbolt with a stronger one, adding slide bolts at the top and bottom of the inactive door. Replace the existing hinge attachment screws in both the doors and the door frame, with longer screws that extend further into the doors and frame. 

Benefits of Using This Mitigation Strategy 

  • Helps to prevent door failure which can lead to major damage of a structure and its contents

  • Helps to prevent injuries to occupants  


Keep these points in mind if you plan to reinforce double entry doors: 

  • Hardware and home supply stores are good sources for slide bolts and other devices designed to make doors stronger and more secure.  

  • Heavy-duty deadbolt locks intended for use where extra strength is needed usually have thicker and longer bolts, heavier strike plates, and heavier mounting hardware. Locksmiths and hardware and home supply stores can advise you about selecting and installing stronger locks.  

  • If your doors are old or damaged, you should consider replacing them with stronger doors. Home supply stores and lumber yards can usually advise you about the relative strengths of alternative double-door systems.  

  • If you don’t want to reinforce or replace your existing doors by yourself, you can hire a contractor or handyman to do the work for you. Also, home supply stores and lumber yards will often install the doors they sell. 

Estimated Costs  

Reinforcing a set of double entry doors with slide bolts, longer hinge mounting screws and a stronger lock will cost approximately $100. This figure covers only the materials you will have to buy and excludes the cost of any tools you use and the value of your time. If you hire a contractor or handyman to do the work, you will have to pay for time as well as materials.