Home Security Improvements – Garage Security
Detached garages tend to be the most secure outbuildings, as they are usually constructed of bricks, blocks or concrete panels. If the doors and windows are properly secured, a garage should keep ‘outdoor’ property – including the car – reasonably safe from burglars. The majority of detached garages have a large main door for the car, a side access door and one or more windows. In effect, they are like a little house and should be secured in the same way. Garages that are integral to the house, or are attached to it, can be secured in the same fashion, but it is particularly important to protect the internal door to the house if there is one.
This type of garage door has a central locking handle, which is attached by cable or rod to a spring loaded live bolt that engages into a keep in the top of the door frame (some have two live bolts that shoot into the side frames). When the handle is unlocked, it can be turned to release the bolt. If you look at the face of the cylinder lock in the handle, you will often find a number; this refers to the key. Although the cylinder in this type of locking handle can be upgraded by a locksmith, it would be better simply to supplement the lock with additional locks. Another weakness with some single-point locks is that a thin blade can be inserted over the top of the door to slip the bolt. Don’t forget that if there is a connecting door into the house, an insecure garage door may provide the perfect opportunity for a burglar.
The first step in securing an up-and-over door is to use the side door as your main entrance. This will enable you to lock the up-and-over door from the inside in a variety of ways. The simplest method is to drill a hole through one of the tracks, just in front of the door’s running wheel when it is closed, and place a padlock through it. Sometimes, it is possible to do this on tracks fitted to the side frames.
A variety of lockable bolts are available for securing garage doors, either made specifically for the job or that can be adapted. Most will be attached to the door, the bolt shooting into a side frame or the concrete floor slab. Fit them near the bottom of the door.
If there is no side door, or you would prefer to lock the up-and-over door from the outside, the same range of lockable bolts can be used, or you can fit a hasp, staple and padlock. Lockable bolts, padbolts (bolts that accept the shackle of a padlock) and padlocks should be fitted in pairs, one on each side of the door.
Modern automatic roller shutters will routinely lock when closed and should not require additional locking. However, you should confirm this with the manufacturer. Double side-hung doors These are probably best secured with a large hasp and staple, or padbar, and padlock. All fittings should be attached to the door withand large washers. Each door should be fitted with a drop bolt to hold it open safely when driving the car in and out. The second opener should have an additional bolt at the top to secure it to the top of the door frame.
If the doors are 44mm (1-3/4 in) or more thick, they can be locked in a similar fashion to French doors.
In this case, the second opener would be fitted with two lockable bolts, one at the top and one at the bottom (this is particularly important if there are glass panels in the door), and the first opener would have a BS 3621 mortice deadlock or sash lock.
With a detached garage, the access door can be secured in the same manner as a house back door, although if it is a final-exit door, it should have the same level of security as a front door. A pair of hinge bolts would be useful, particularly if the door opens outwards. An alternative, but effective, way of locking this type of door is to use a mortice sash lock and a mortice deadlock (keyed alike), the former being a third of the door’s height from the top, and the latter a third of its height from the bottom.
These should be secured in the same manner as shed andwindows.
Normally, the garage is the best place to keep long ladders and step-ladders. Hang them on brackets along the walls, locking them in place with chains and padlocks. Additional internal security can be provided in the same manner as for a shed.
A house alarm system can be extended to cover a garage, and this is particularly straightforward if the garage is attached to the house. Stand-alone alarms are also suitable.
There are four main types of padlock: open-shackle, long-shackle, closed-shackle and combination. A padlock is used with either a padbar or hasp and staple. Always buy padlocks that conform to BS EN 12320: 2001. The main features you need to check are corrosion resistance (the padlock and fitting must be suitable for external use) and security rating, which is graded from 1 to 6, where 1 is the lowest and 6 the highest. For most domestic situations, a security grade of 3 or 4 should be sufficient. If in doubt, consult a locksmith. You may also need to check with your insurer that the padlock and fitting are acceptable.