This article was contributed by Volodymyr Barabakh, CEO and Project Director of Fortress Home.
A study conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics suggests that 27% of home burglaries have a house’s window as its entry point. This makes windows the most vulnerable part of a residential building, statistically speaking.
With these in mind, here are some steps that you can take to secure your windows from possible break-ins:
Replace Glass Panes with Polycarbonate Panes
Windows break-ins can happen when an intruder smashes your window panes then enters your home. By switching from regular glass to polycarbonate, you are decreasing the possibility of intruders being able to smash your windows quickly. Polycarbonate is 200 times more impact-resistant than glass so it’s difficult to break. Polycarbonate is also 50% lighter than traditional glass so it’s easy to install without professional help. Additionally, polycarbonate provides better thermal insulation and UV protection compared to glass so it contributes to green construction.
The drawback of getting polycarbonate glass over regular glass is it’s more expensive (around $30 per square foot) and not scratch-resistant. You can make a polycarbonate scratch-resistant by adding a special coating, but it will push the cost up.
A budget-friendly alternative is plexiglass because it costs almost less than half as polycarbonate does (around $12 per square foot). Plexiglass is 10 times more impact-resistant than glass, meaning that it will usually take several strikes to break.
Install Window Security Bars
Window security bars add an extra layer of protection to your windows. The sight of window security bars alone can deter possible intruders because they know that it will be hard for them to break in with security bars in place.
Window security bars are usually made of the following materials:
Mild Steel – This is the most common material for security bars because of its durability and affordability. Mild steel lacks flexibility though when it comes to aesthetics as it only comes in basic designs.
Cast Iron – Cast iron does not have the same level of durability that mild steel has, but it can be formed into different designs that will complement the exterior of your home.
Polycarbonate – Polycarbonate is made of transparent material making it less obtrusive especially from a distance. It is the go-to material if you don’t want to sacrifice the ability of light to penetrate your home.
There are also different types of security bars that you should consider:
Permanent Security Bars – these security bars are meant to remain in place and cannot be removed without a professional’s aid.
Swing-Away Bars – these security bars are hinged so you can open and close them when needed.
Removable Bars – these bars have a quick-release mechanism for easy removal.
Be sure to consult your local fire code before putting up security bars on your windows. Installing security bars may make your home harder to evacuate in the event of a fire.
Install Window Alarm Sensors
You can burglar-proof your window by installing window alarm sensors. They can be purchased online or at your local hardware store and can be set up on your windows in minutes.
The downside of window alarms is they don’t tell you which of your windows is opened. One workaround to this is to install motion sensor lights in conjunction with your window alarms. In case of a break-in at night, the light from the motion sensor lights will tell you where the intruder is entering. A light suddenly turning on can also deter intruders.
Add a Second Lock to Each Window
Intruders can pry your window open to initiate a break-in. In these instances, adding a second window lock can provide an extra layer of protection to your home.
When adding a second lock to your window, it should be of a different type from what you currently have.
Latch Lock – The most common window lock due to its ease of opening and closing, but not the most secure.
Pin Lock – Uses a metal pin that is dropped into a hole in the frame of the window or at the bottom of the sill.
Keyed Lock – Recommended as secondary locks when you leave your home for long periods.
Smart Lock – One advantage of smart locks over the other types of window locks is you’ll know exactly when your windows are opened or closed with an alert on your phone. Also, smart locks can be integrated into a broader home security system.
Keep Valuables Away from Windows
Windows are also prone to simple theft such as smashing the window then grabbing nearby items. Keep valuable items out of sight of your windows to prevent this, especially if you do not have a front yard to stop strangers from peeking into your home.
Protect Your Home with a Smart Security System
The most secure way to prevent window break-ins is to install a smart home security system. It provides a holistic approach to making your home secured with its smart locks and surveillance cameras.