Environment Magazine

Top Tips to Improve the Security of Your Garage

By Gfl

How safe is your garage? As a householder, this is a good question to ask yourself now and again. Were you aware that as many as 10% of burglaries start by gaining access through the garage? If you have an integral garage with an interconnecting door to the rest of the house, and your security isn’t up to scratch, this is a major weakness that any burglar could take advantage of.

Whether your garage is freestanding or attached to your home, it is essential that your home security needs are met. To be able to offer comprehensive protection for the contents of your garage (and the rest of your home), it goes without saying that your garage should be structurally sound and that your garage doors, as well as any windows present, should have a good level of security. If the basic building is letting you down, it may be time for a garage upgrade.

In any event, if your garage door is older than 10 years, or if the level of property crime recorded in your neighbourhood has risen recently, now may be an excellent time to review your home and garage security arrangements.

How vulnerable is your garage door?

Did you know that most garages can be broken into in as little as 10 seconds? Just let that sink in for a moment while you watch how it’s done:

Of course, older doors – especially those with a single lock that can be drilled or cut out completely – are much easier to overcome than doors with more up-to-date security features. They are also more at risk at the point where the top of the door meets the frame – a weak spot that is no match for a determined crowbar (or a pair of pliers, as in the clip above).

Sectional doors and roller doors are better protected than up-and-over doors because of the way they open. The ‘best’ way to penetrate these door types is to simply cut a hole into the door itself, a noisy and time consuming job that no burglar would prefer, given an alternative.

That said, one should never underestimate the motivation of a burglar intent on gaining entry. There have been cases where intruders, armed with power tools, have managed to cut right through door panels and bracings, folding the door in half to create a large, convenient opening for their criminal activities!

Which security features should your garage door have?

Modern garage doors come with a number of security features fitted as standard, regardless of door style and design. Thankfully, security is reviewed and improved all the time in an effort to stay at least one step ahead of the criminals. Thus, as more methods of entry are becoming known, manufacturers make modifications across their product range to produce the safest possible doors for your home.

All manual garage doors should include these security features:

  • 2 locks (one on each side) with an option to upgrade to 2 further locks
  • Key-operated, anti-snap Euro cylinder lock as the principal lock
  • Strong bars to protect the locks from being prized open from outside

The level of security on electric garage doors is very high. Powered by the door’s motor, there’s a continual downward motion to keep the door closed until the remote control activates it to open.

Which type of garage door is most secure?

It should be pointed out that all brand new doors made by a reputable garage door manufacturer – including Garador, Hörmann , SWS, Teckentrup, Cardale, CedarDoor, CDC and other well known makes – offer a level of security that would pose a significant challenge to anyone attempting to gain unauthorised access.

However, as mentioned above, some types of garage door – sectional and roller garage doors in particular – are intrinsically more secure than others. One of the most secure garage doors on the market is the SWS automatic roller garage door, which is made from insulated aluminum and has been designed with high security in mind.

With substantial research and development time having gone into this door design, SWS have achieved the official Police ‘Secured by Design’ approved manufacturer status, as have a selection of other garage door manufacturers, notably Hörmann and Novoferm.

What about garage door defenders as additional protection?

In addition to the garage door, you may be tempted to adopt the belt and braces approach, fitting an additional device to deter a would-be burglar.

Garage door defenders are heavy duty, highly visible devices to do just that. Anchored securely into the substrate (ideally concrete, paving or tarmac) just in front of the garage, they stop entry by blocking the outward swing of the garage door. In the same way that a steering wheel lock physically prevents the car to be driven, the garage door cannot open if it is blocked by a door defender – even if the door is unlocked or the lock is broken.

For best results, defenders should be placed in front of the center of the garage door, while double garage doors may need more than one defender. Choose a heavy duty model which is fitted with a padlock that can resist bolt cutters. Here’s a good example:

What other home and garage security improvements are recommended?

Whether your garage is in a standalone building or part of the main house, home protection will be your number one priority. In addition to making sure the garage and its entry points are as secure as they can possibly be, there are a number of other, relatively inexpensive and effective deterrents you could implement:

Entry alarm system

A burglar alarm can provide good coverage, both for your home and garage. Most modern alarm systems are wireless and can cover different areas with the help of additional movement sensors and image or video capture. You may wish to attach a dummy alarm box to the garage building as a visual deterrent.

Security lighting

Depending on the exact location of your house and garage – are you on a busy main road, a quiet side street, behind a large fence or deep in the countryside? – external security lighting can go a long way to give you extra protection. Burglars hate to be seen, heard or interrupted.

Home insurance cover

Finally, it is always important to review your level of insurance cover just in case your home or garage has been damaged or burgled. Check with your insurance provider about home security requirements, and let them know as soon as you’ve upgraded your home security as this may mean lower premiums.

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