© 2012 lock-express.co.uk
Securing Your Garage
There is a very good chance that you own, or have the use of a garage.
Unfortunately, garages are often overlooked when people tackle the subject of home security.
There are three main types of garage: joined on to the house, freestanding, and communal garage blocks.
This type often has an internal door leading into the house itself.
Often near the house.
Communal garage block type.
This type of garage can often be at great risk of burglary or vandalism, as often they are tucked away, out of sight from the houses they belong to. This is especially the case at night. Due to the side-by-side nature of this type, there are unlikely to be other doors and windows.
What is in your Garage?
Garages can contain all sorts of goodies for an opportunist burglar, boxes of household treasures, spare furniture and appliances, garden tools, bicycles. Maybe you use yours as a workshop or have it kitted out as a home gym? Perhaps you even store your car in there! Take a few moments to estimate the cost of your garage’s contents, you may be surprised.
Aside from the obvious fact that you may have items that could be stolen, your garage, like your garden shed, may contain tools that could be used by a burglar to break into your house!
The Main Garage Door
There are several types of garage door
This type of garage door is the most common. They are commonly constructed from steel, aluminium, GRP (fibre glass), or wood.
The very size of a garage door increases it’s vulnerability to attack. The doors have to be relatively light in weight, and, the locking systems often use very low security lock cylinders that can be easily defeated.
Some locking mechanisms use a single, sprung latch, that latches into the top frame. Other types have 2 or more rods that connect to the frame.
Luckily, there are plenty of retro-fit products that can dramatically increase your security.
Special key operated locking bolts can often be fitted. These can be locked from both the outside and inside of the door. Mortice locks, of a type similar to those used on normal household doors can sometimes be fitted too. These locks are supplied in pairs, (one for each side of the door), and for convenience, both locks/bolts will operate from the same key.
Special devices, sometimes referred to as garage door defenders or restrictors, can be used from the outside of the door. These work by physically bolting into the ground to prevent the door from opening.
Automatic Up-And-Over Type.
Automatic garage doors are usually identical to the manual versions. In fact they often come complete with the same locking handle, (although it usually won’t be connected to anything).
Opening and closing is accomplished by means of a motorised unit suspended from the ceiling.
We don’t readilly recommend fitting additional locks or bolts to this type of door. The reason for this is simple. You can easily forget that a lock or bolt is still engaged when you go to press the open button. (We have seen this done, it wasn’t a pretty sight as the door started to tear itself to pieces)!
Most, but not all, automatic up and over doors are fitted with a key operated override switch. This is essential if this door is the only way into the garage, as we have known people to press the close button, then leave the controller inside the garage!
The override switch usually connects, via a cable, to the running track. When you insert the key and turn, the whole barrel comes away, allowing you to temporarily open the door manually
If you do have another door into the garage, then you might consider disconnecting the override switch, as the lock cylinders used here are often of fairly low security value.
Hinged Outward Opening Timber Type.
Very much a traditional garage door style, hinged outward opening doors are often fitted with nightlatch type (“Yale”), locks. Nightlatches don’t really do much for the security of these doors. It is far better to fit a decent five lever mortice deadlock, or a good quality hasp & staple with a suitable padlock if the door is always locked from the outside.
The advantage of hasp/staple/padlocks, is that they will effectively lock both doors together.
5 lever mortice deadlocks have the advantage of being lockable from either the inside or outside of your garage. The disadvantage is, that in any attempt to force the doors open a mortice deadlock will not actually hold the doors together if enough of a gap can be forced.
Another good idea, is to fit heavy duty bolts to the inside of the doors, both top and bottom.
If you can exit the garage by another door, you should consider fitting bolts to both doors, if you have to exit from the double doors, then fit bolts to the door that closes first. This will help to prevent someone levering the doors open.
As this type of door opens outwards, the hinges are vulnerable to attack. Any hinge should be bolted through the door to prevent unscrewing. Hinge bolts should be considered to stop the doors being removed if the hinges are compromised.
Side Doors And Doors Into The House
Side garage doors are often woefully neglected, but remember, they offer access to your garage just as much as the main doors do.
We often see side garage doors that have particularly weak lower panels that could easily be kicked-in by an intruder. Consider reinforcing any weak sections with security grilles, or, perhaps a strong panel of plywood, bolted in place.
The door should be fitted with an appropriate mortice lock, preferably a 5 lever type cetified to BS 3621. If you lock this door from the inside then consider fitting locking bolts too.
Any doors that lead from your garage directly into your house should be treated as any external door would, with 5 lever BS 3621 deadlocks or sashlocks, and locking bolts too, for when you lock up from inside the house.
This type of door should be viewed as very vulnerable, as any intruder who gains entry into the garage can work on it, relatively unseen.
If your garage has windows then this can pose a security risk too.
Any opening window should either be fitted with suitable window locks, or permanently screwed shut.
Fitting window bars or grilles are also good ways to improve these vulnerable areas.
In addition, obscuring the view inside by fitting net curtains or window films will prevent anyone from seeing what’s on offer inside, while still allowing daylight in.
If your home is fitted with a burglar alarm system then it is advisable to make sure that this covers the garage area too. Failing this, inexpensive battery operated alarms, used for sheds etc, can be used to good affect on both doors and windows.
The Contents Of Your Garage
Don’t just concentrate on securing the garage itself. Don’t forget that you may have items of considerable value stored within. Chaining up tools, garden machinery, bicycles, motorbikes etc will really help, but don’t forget that for best security they should actually be chained to something immovable.
High security anchor points are available in many styles for just this purpose. Any chains and padlocks used with such anchor points should be of equally high security.
Don’t showcase Your Belongings
Try not to leave your garage doors open for longer than is necessary, as, any passer-by can gain a good idea of what you have inside. This is especially important if you have a lot of highly desirable, expensive items inside.
Don’t forget to always lock and bolt your garage doors! And to make use of any additional security items that you may have.
Finished with this subject? Please click the link below to move on.