Locks are the most convenient and reliable way to secure your door. But if your door lock breaks or your door doesn’t have a lock for whatever reason, there are some other ways you can lock your door.
Quick Summary Of Methods
|Block With a Chair
|A sturdy chair can be angled and placed under the doorknob to create enough friction to keep the door from opening.
|Use a Belt
|A leather belt can be wrapped around the door handle, and a latch or heavy object near the door to limit the motion of the handle.
|Portable Door Lock
|A portable door lock is a metal claw that fixes itself to the existing bolt or latch, and you turn the plate to lock the door.
|Security bars consist of two brackets and a metal or wood bar that sits on top of the brackets. They are quick and easy to install and offer extra security.
|A door jammer is a bar that fits tightly onto the door handle. It offers much more friction than a chair, and you can adjust the height to angle it perfectly at 25 degrees.
|A floor barricade consists of a base attached to the floor and a barricade that latches onto the base to keep the door from opening inward.
|Strike Plate Lock
|A strike plate lock consists of a plate mounted to the door frame, and a chain with a ring latched to the existing door handle.
|Lock a Door With a Fork
|This method uses a fork to bend its tines to fit into the doorframe latch.
1. Block With a Chair
A sturdy chair can effectively block the door, especially if the chair has a straight back. You can angle the chair and fit the top of the chair just under your door handle. An angle of about 25 degrees vertically can create enough friction to keep the door from opening.
Ideally, the angle should not be much larger or smaller than 25 degrees, as it would compromise the hold of the chair against the ground. So, choose a chair that is taller than the height of your door handle but not too much taller.
Another thing you can do to increase friction is to use a chair with rubber feet. Rubber feet can significantly increase the friction between the floor and the chair; friction is the only force you’re counting on here.
The back of the chair can also be placed to keep a lever-style door handle from turning, making it appear that the door is locked.
Using a chair this way is quick, easy, and convenient to block your door. But this is not the most secure way and can only be used as a temporary fix. With enough force, the friction between the floor and the chair legs can be overwhelming, especially if the chair is too long or too short or if the chair legs don’t have rubber tips.
2. Use a Belt
Leather has a tensile strength of 25 MPa, higher than most other materials ropes are made of. Although this is not as high as steel, leather isn’t affected by a jerk or a shock as badly. This makes a belt a pretty secure temporary alternative to a deadbolt.
You can wrap a leather belt to the door handle and some latch or a heavy object near the door. If you have a lever-style door handle and the deadbolt is still intact, you can use the belt to limit the motion of the Handle.
You can also use a rope instead. The thickness of the rope doesn’t matter much if you’re using the rope to limit the motion of the lever-style court handle.
But this method may not be available to you if you don’t have anything near the door to secure the door with. Let’s see what other options you have.
3. Portable Door Lock
A portable door lock is a convenient way to secure your door. A portable door lock is a metal claw that fixes itself to the existing bolt or latch. The claw is attached to a simple plate that you must turn to lock the door.
Portable locks don’t cost much and are ideal for travelers who can’t install a deadbolt in their rooms.
However, like all the other DIY locks, this lock can’t be used to lock a door from the outside.
4. Security Bar
Security bars are the real deal if you’re looking for serious security against intruders. Security bars consist of two brackets and a metal or wood bar. The brackets need to be screwed to the wall or the doorframe while the bar sits on top of the brackets.
Security bars don’t take much time to install, and you can keep them installed for extra security even after you’ve installed a lock.
But a security bar is not an option for a door that opens outwards. This option may be too intrusive if you only seek a temporary solution.
Here’s a DIY door security bar guide to check and make later.
5. Door Jammer
A door jammer is a bar designed as a DIY security measure against intruders. It is usually used to make your door extra secure when you already have a lock, but it can also be used as a temporary alternative to a door lock.
A door works using the same principle as the chair method described above, but a door jammer offers much more friction than a chair. Door jammers allow you to adjust their height, which can allow you to angle the door jammer perfectly at 25 degrees.
Door jammers also fit tightly onto the door handle and can’t be removed by shaking the door. Door jammers have a padded foot at the bottom end, which provides friction and keeps the door from being forcefully opened inwards.
6. Floor Barricade
This option is somewhat similar to using a security bar, as this is also more of a permanent additional security measure than a temporary alternative to a deadbolt. But you can use it as an alternative and continue to use it when you install a lock.
A floor barricade consists of two components; a base attached to the floor and a barricade that keeps the door from opening inwards. The base must be screwed to the floor, whereas the barricade latches onto the base.
A floor barricade is a more visually appealing option than a security bar. But if you’re considering this option, there has to be enough space between the floor and the bottom of the door for the door to open over the base freely.
7. Strike Plate Lock
A strike plate lock is a device similar to a stand door chain. A strike plate lock consists of a plate mounted to the door frame, and a chain with a ring latched to the existing door handle.
The chain used in a strike plate lock is much thicker and stronger than a door chain. A strike plate is also more secure than a door chain since its plate is more firmly attached to the inner side of the door frame. Another advantage this option has over others is that you can continue to use the strike plate lock as a door chain once you have a door lock.
8. Lock a Door With a Fork
This is one of the simplest ways to secure your door temporarily. The method is inspired by how the previously mentioned portable door locks work. Here’s how to use a fork to make a temporary lock.
- Grab a fork and bend its tines at the right hand such that the tines fit into the latch of the doorframe while the body can fit in the gap between the door and the door frame.
- Break the Handle of the fork from the neck.
- Insert the Handle through the tines of the fork, restricting the door from moving horizontally.
Instead of breaking the fork, you can also use a different utensil to block the door as long as it’s thin enough to pass through the tines when the fork is in place.
9. Use a Doorstep
A doorstep is perhaps the simplest way here to secure your door. A doorstep is a triangular piece of wood that sticks between the bottom of the door and the floor and limits the door’s motion in one direction.
Doorsteps are usually used to keep doors from closing but provided enough friction; they can keep a door from opening. (1)
You can make the door more tightly secure by simply pushing the doorstep beneath the door more tightly. You can also nail a leather sheet beneath the doorstep to increase its grip on the floor.
Using multiple doorsteps can also work, but the number doesn’t matter since the source of the force of friction is the force by which the door is pushing down on the doorstep. But multiple doorsteps can help distribute the force evenly and keep the bottom of your door from being damaged.
10. Remove the Outside Handle
If your lock is compromised, but the deadbolt is still good, you can temporarily remove the Handle outside to keep anyone from unlocking the door. However, this won’t be enough to stop a serious intrusion; it’ll still be possible to access the lock mechanism outside using simple tools. This method is best used in combination with other methods as an extra layer of security, but you can’t rely entirely on this. (2)
Some of the ways discussed here provide more reliable security than others. In particular, the methods that don’t require you to buy anything have certain flaws that make them less secure. But nothing is stopping you from using multiple methods simultaneously. You can use a fork, insert a doorstep, remove the door handle, and block the door with a chair, and it will be as secure—nay—more secure than using a strike plate lock. But these methods are still limited because you can’t use any of these as a permanent solution.
Here are other learning guides of how-to’s that might, later on, help you.
(1) friction – https://www.britannica.com/science/friction
(2) mechanism – https://www.britannica.com/technology/mechanism-machinery
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