If your exterior doors function well and look presentable, checking them isn't likely to be at the top of your to do list. But for improved security, take a few minutes to evaluate the doors on your home.

Determine the door's composition. If it's a hollow-core door, replace it. A hollow-core is very easily broken through. If you can't afford to replace it, add a dead bolt near the lockset. Doors made of solid wood usually provide adequate security if they are in good condition. Metal-clad doors provide the most security. Steel-plain or pressed to look like a wood panel- is attached to a solid wood frame and a fiber core. These doors are strong, weatherproof, and low-maintenace.

Reinforce the frame. If the gap between door and frame is more than 1/16th of an inch or if the door gives when pushed or moved from side to side when pried, reinforce the frame. Gap and play allow room for a pry bar to be slipped in and the door worked open. Also, check for rot, especially around the lock. Rotting framework should be replaced even if the door and lock are sound.

Check windows and sidelights. Any glass on the door or within arms reach of the lock or lockset should be made of shatterproof plastic or security glass. Within the distance, a burglar can easily break ordinary glass, reach in, and open the door in a few seconds. Most new sliding glass, French, and glass panel doors are double paned and made of suitable materials.