[Editors note: this is a guest post by Lena Carson of Tuscon, Arizona]
Home security is a major concern for homeowners, and the type of windows and doors you use can help to make you safer. Keeping intruders out of your home becomes increasingly important in an urban survival/disaster scenario, and every second that an intruder is delayed by a security feature is another second that you can use to react to the threat.
Many companies sell specialty doors and windows to keep intruders out, but some of these products are more effective than others. When choosing any type of security for your home, you should do your research and find out just how effective the item really is. Let’s look at some popular solutions and how much security they truly offer.
Security Windows and Window Films
Windows are one of the most common ways that burglars and other intruders enter a home. In many cases, windows are easier to enter than doors. While almost everybody locks their doors, people often leave windows open, especially in warmer weather. Even when ordinary windows are closed and locked, a clever thief can break in. There are, however, measures you can take to make this more difficult.
Security window film is the simplest and most economical way to secure your windows. A locked window isn’t going to stop a burglar who’s willing to break the glass to get in. Putting security window film on the glass, however, will prevent this. Another benefit of securing your windows in this manner is that it’s good protection against hurricanes and other severe weather.
You should realize, however, that this will only make it more difficult to break your windows, not impossible. Glass can still be broken by a determined thief- although it will take several swings of a baseball bat to do it, giving you a decent amount of time to react. Another factor to consider is the strength of your window frames. If these are weak, the frames can easily break and it won’t matter what type of glass you have. Another way to secure your windows is to replace your glass windows with polycarbonate ones. The main disadvantage of polycarbonate windows is that they scratch easily.
Bars and grills can also be effective at keeping out intruders. These, however, have a couple of drawbacks. First of all, many homeowners consider them unsightly. Secondly, they can be a fire hazard in case you have to evacuate the home quickly. If you do have bars on your windows, there should be a release mechanism that is easy to operate. In fact, in many areas, fire codes mandate this.
Doors are the most direct way to enter a house, so it makes sense to make your door as secure as possible. The security of a door goes beyond locks, as many burglars are adept at picking locks. Furthermore, if the door or the frame around it isn’t sturdy, it can easily be pushed or kicked in.
A secure door should be made of a strong material. Steel doors are among the most secure. While these can be found in all price ranges, some are surprisingly reasonable- some have even been seen at Lowe’s for as little as 150 dollars.
Another option is to secure your existing door. Many companies create products that allow you to reinforce your door to make it much harder for anyone to break in.
Are Secure Windows and Doors Effective?
Having secure windows and doors certainly makes it more difficult for intruders to enter your home. Yet no security measure is infallible. In addition to having windows and doors that are difficult to break into, it’s important to be alert. Burglars can be quite determined and will look for the weak spot in your defenses. For example, if you have a very secure front door, they will check to see if you have a flimsy back door. If someone forgot to close a window, this provides another easy entryway.
That’s why vigilance is just as important as having secure doors and windows. Other measures that can be helpful include an alarm system, security lighting on your property and perhaps a dog. It also helps to have good relationships with your neighbors so you can keep an eye on each other’s homes. The best way to secure your home is to use a multifaceted strategy. Having secure windows and doors should be part of this strategy, but you shouldn’t rely on them entirely. You also have to use common sense and make sure everyone in your household cooperates to keep your home safe.
Lena Carson is an interior designer and published home repair writer from Tucson, Arizona.