The Missing Deadbolt

Are your home’s doors deadbolted? Shannon Buggs recommended such in her Houston Chronicle column. I sent her a follow-up question to this article, and she printed her answer. The Q & A is pasted below.

Q: Thanks for your article making us aware we need to keep an eye on foreclosed houses in our neighborhood.

One of the recommendations you listed from the Houston Police Department was to equip all exterior doors with deadbolt locks.

In my house and the homes of my parents and in-laws, which are all in new subdivisions, the back door has two locks and the front door has only one lock. There are no deadbolts. If deadbolt locks are important, why aren’t home builders installing them these days? [Note: We are installing these now.]

A: “It’s not a code requirement, but it’s certainly something that a buyer can request,” said Kathryn “Toy” Wood, chief executive officer of the Greater Houston Builders Association.

Many builders do install deadbolts with thumb latches on exterior doors.

However, there is no code or standard that requires them to do so, she said.

Wood noted that the International Residential Code does not allow a keyed deadbolt on exterior doors. Those are the locks that you must use a key to open from inside the home.

“When I bought my home, I wanted to have a keyed deadbolt, and I had to have special permission to get that done,” she said. “The fire department does not like you to have to find a key to get out of a house.”

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