Home Security Grilles, Gates and Shutters
Home Security Grilles, Gates and Shutters
To improve the physical security of your doors and windows beyond the level provided by locks, you could install security grilles, gates or shutters. These are particularly useful for protecting basements, where burglars can often work unseen from the street. They can also help provide peace of mind if you have already suffered a burglary, live in a remote area, leave your property unoccupied for long periods of time, or have particularly valuable possessions, such as works of art or antiques. When buying this type of fitting, look for products that conform to LPS 1175 SR1 or SR2.
External Security Grilles
These are often seen protecting basement windows and some ground-floor windows that open on to quiet back streets. The grille usually comprises an outer steel frame with a number of vertical bars (burglar bars) welded to it, or the bars may be arranged into a pattern of some sort. The grille may be fitted inside the window reveal or to the face of the wall surrounding the window, using frame fixers rather than. Most are permanent fixtures and should not be installed over windows that could be needed as emergency exits. Fixed grilles also make it difficult to clean and decorate windows. To meet this need, hinged varieties are available, which are normally secured with a pair of padlocks or integral locks. Grilles installed over outward opening tend to have the appearance of a cage, allowing the windows to open fully. They can be supplied bare or in a variety of paint finishes, primed or galvanised.
External security grilles have to be made to measure and are obtainable from most locksmiths, who in turn may source them from a specialist manufacturer. Although it is relatively easy to measure for and install external grilles yourself, it is better to let a locksmith or manufacturer determine the size, and you can carry out the installation if you want. this will ensure that the fixing points are correctly located in the frame and accurately aligned with the brickwork. If there’s a mistake in the dimensions, it will be theirs, not yours. Grilles should be secured to the bricks or blocks, not the mortar joints, in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Internal Security Grilles
An internal security grille can be hinged, fixed or removable, depending on the application, and must be made to measure. These grilles come in a wide variety of designs, although the most common are diamond and square patterns. Normally, they are supplied with a white powder coated finish, but other colours are available.
Fixed grilles should not be fitted to windows that might be needed as emergency exits. They are attached to the perimeter frame of the window, using the largest screws practical for the frame. Small gaps are incorporated so that you can operate the window handle and stay bar.
Fixed grilles can be fitted over glass panels in communal entrance doors (to prevent a burglar from reaching the operating knob on a lock) and on French doors. They can also be used behind traditional leaded lights, although care is needed to produce an accurate match to the lead pattern. The latter application may not be cost effective for a large number of leaded lights, in which case, collapsible gates would probably be a more sensible solution.
Hinged grilles allow window cleaning, but are still considered permanent fixtures in terms of emergency exits. They are secured in the same manner as fixed grilles and are locked closed with a pair of padlocks or integral locks. One type of removable grille comprises a fixed frame that fits to the window’s perimeter frame and a grille section that locates on to four lugs projecting from the fixed frame. One or two of the lugs act as staples for padlocks.
Collapsible Security Gates
Collapsible security gates are also known as concertina gates, sliding concertina barriers, and retractable grilles or gates. They are similar to the sliding gates that used to be seen on old-fashioned lifts.
The collapsible gate is widely employed in commercial properties to secure windows and doors, and to close off recessed entrances. Domestic versions, which are made to measure, are nearly always fitted to the inside of doors and windows, sliding along tracks fitted above and below the opening. When open, a gate will only occupy around 15 per cent of the width of a window or door reveal and can be hidden behind a curtain. The gate is secured into a fixed locking stile or, in the case a large opening with two gates, into each other. Most are locked with a key, but you can buy systems that have a ‘slam to lock’ facility and only require a key for unlocking.
At one time, security shutters were only ever seen on shops and other commercial premises, being used to protect large display windows and add further protection to external doors. They are very effective at keeping burglars at bay, but at some cost to the built environment. They certainly attract graffiti when used in some high-street locations, and many local authorities have introduced planning policies to prevent their use in certain areas. Because of this, if you are considering installing domestic roller shutters, you should approach your localfirst to see if you need .
A roller shutter operates in the same manner as a roller blind, except that the horizontal slats run in tracks on each side of the window or door opening. They are manufactured from corrosion-resistant aluminium, and come in a wide range of colours and finishes. When open, the shutter is rolled up tightly in a box attached to the brickwork above the opening or at the top of the reveal. A shutter may be opened and closed from indoors with a belt, a crank or an electric motor; remote operation, from inside or out, may also be possible by means of a small radio transmitter. As the shutter closes, it locks automatically. With properties that have an internal door from the garage into the house, the householder can drive up to the garage, operate the roller shutter garage door remotely, drive in and close the door, all without getting out of the car.
Such systems are expensive and usually only installed into homes where there is a very high risk of burglary. Because of the actual, or perceived, high level of risk associated with the use of this product, it would also be very sensible to install an automatic signalling intruder alarm system.