Doors and windows are easily the weakest spots in your home’s exterior envelope. They are built to allow movement, and they also tend to permit airflow and temperature transference. That’s not necessarily ideal when you want your home locked down tight. Still, it’s not a good idea to do away with doors and windows entirely; you need doors for obvious reasons, and windows allow you to grow indoors and generally improve quality of life. However, just because you can’t take out your doors and windows doesn’t mean you can’t improve their security.
Whether you are concerned with wasted energy or you want to ensure no one but you can get in and out, here are some tips for improving the security of your windows and doors.
Upgrade Your Doors and Windows
Centuries-old homes with original windows and doors should function as museums or historical sights — not secure homes. There is no sense in putting a state-of-the-art lock on a door that can be busted through with a kick or push, and the same is true of a flimsy or shoddy window. If your windows and doors are old or otherwise fundamentally flawed, it’s high time you invest in a few upgrades.
If you are focused on security, there are a few upgraded features you should prioritize, such as:
- Solid core. Hollow doors are less expensive, but they are also easier to breakthrough. Exterior doors and doors leading to dangerous rooms like your garage should have a metal core; other doors should have solid cores of wood.
- Tempered glass. Windows and doors with windows should have tempered glass, which is stronger than normal glass and therefore more difficult to break. However, you shouldn’t be fooled into buying heat-strengthened glass, which can shatter unexpectedly into large, dangerous pieces.
- Built-in locks. While the locks that come with your doors and windows might not be adequately robust, they will serve as one more defense against intrusion.
New windows and doors aren’t just sturdier, they also tend to be more efficient. Thus, if you live in a cold place like Denver, home window replacement can lower your energy usage while boosting your security. This can be vital if you are a homesteader who relies on their own energy sources as well as typical homeowners looking to lower their utility bills.
Know What Locks Are Best
Not all locks are created equal. You can’t expect a one-tumbler knob lock to provide the same quality of protection as a deadbolt. For both windows and doors, you should know what types of locks will keep you safer. Generally, when it comes to locks you should prioritize these features:
- Heavy-duty hardware. A common way for getting around locks is merely to disassemble the lock itself, but if the hardware is tough, criminals can’t get through. Plus, strong hardware will resist wear-and-tear for longer, meaning you won’t need to replace it as frequently.
- Pick and drill resistance. This means the locks can’t be defeated with mechanical tools, like lockpicks or power drills.
However, it’s important to remember that locks only do so much to keep your home safe. If a burglar gets frustrated in trying to pick a complicated lock, they might just try to bust down the door with their legs or toss a rock through a larger window. Thus, you should also use window and door reinforcements of the following types.
Reinforce the Right Way
Certain reinforcements will bolster your window and door security, making it almost impossible to gain access to your home without permission. You could cover all entrances to your home in layers of plywood — but there are much more functional solutions on the market that make your home a more livable space. These include:
- Window film. There are all kinds of window films available, from the variety that insulate against heat to that which decreases natural light to security film, which makes it all but impossible to break through the glass.
- Security bars. Metal grilles outside your windows send a clear message that your home is difficult to invade. If you don’t like the look of security bars, you might choose to install them only on at-risk windows on basement first-floor windows.
- Cylinder guards. These are installed around deadbolts and function much like sturdy hardware: to prevent prying the lock from the door.
Your home should be an impenetrable fortress when you need it to be — but that means knowing your home’s weak points and working to make them more secure. Doors and windows are always the weakest points in a home, be it for security or for energy use. The more you can do to make your windows and doors strong and secure, the better.