Exterior Home Security

Very often for convenience hundreds of pounds worth of goods are stored outside the house iii either a garage or outbuilding. Because these items are more prone to theft, it is important you take steps to protect them.

To deter intruders, it is advisable to fit outside lights to the drive, porch, garage and any outbuildings. If you have a large garden, it would also be a good idea to have it floodlit. You can help prevent access to upstairs windows by painting the upper part of drainpipes with anti-burglar paint. Keep trellises and large climbing plants away from upstairs windows for the same reason.

The garage

This building may be used to house a motor vehicle. Motorcycle or bicycle, as well as a wide variety of other items including ladders, tools and gardening equipment β€” all costly items to replace. Make sure the garage is properly secured, especially the doors and windows. Timber garages are usually more open to intrusion, so it is best to build a new garage from bricks or pre-formed concrete. Stout timber doors, however, are more resistant to intrusion than the metal up-and-over type.

Timber doors

Doors fitted to old garages often offer a poor standard of security because bolt keeps may become enlarged and the doors themselves become ill-fitting. If there is a gap between timber doors, a thief could easily force one open with a bar or jemmy. Many doors are fitted with old non-deadlocking rimlocks, which also offer low security.

To increase the level of security, you should first check the surface bolts on the inner door leaf. They should fit into their keeps properly, by at least 50mm (2in); if not, fit new surface bolts top and bottom as described earlier in the Course. Often the other leaf will be secured by an old fashioned non-deadlocking rimlock; either replace this with a neβ€˜N rimlock with deadlocking function or add a standard mortise deadlock.

Timber double doors and swing doors can be effectively secured with a padlock bar, fitted to the front of the doors following the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure you buy a good quality padlock and bar since cheaper ones may be made out of poor grade metal and screw heads may be exposed. The bars are available in surface or angle versions; often they are removable, but fixing screws are covered when the bar is in use. A plate is screwed to the door and the padlock bar which fits over it is secured by a padlock fitted to the other door. Padlocks have either closed or open shackles; the closed version will prevent the shackle being sawn through, or forced with a bar or jemmy.

Metal doors

These are lighter than timber doors and have become popular because of the ease of opening and closing. The doors fold up-and-over inside the garage or they may fold around the inside wall.

Folding up-and-over metal doors, which are generally made from light aluminium or steel, are usually secured with key-operated locking handles similar to those fitted to car doors and are installed by the manufacturer. When the handle is locked, a spring loaded catch is shot into a keep at the top of the door; you turn the handle through 90 degrees to reverse this action and open the door. The mechanism should be checked regularly to ensure it functions properly. Get someone to lock you inside the garage so you can see whether the catch fits firmly into its keep; if the mechanism is stiff, you can oil it to free the parts. The manufacturer or a locksmith will help with any difficulties.

The metal construction of folding and up-andover doors offers adequate security, although really determined attempts at intrusion will probably succeed. Both types of door can be additionally secured with various padlock bar devices, depending upon the door and frame construction. An external locking unit which incorporates both a padlock and bar may be fitted to sliding doors from the inside with special screws. Upright padlock bars can be added to up-and-over doors at both ends on the outside.

If the garage has another exit, you should fit surface bolts to the inside of the main doors. There is a specially designed metal bar which you can order to fit completely across the front of some types of garage doors; it is secured by a padlock at each end. When ordering you should quote exact door measurements as well as door frame widths.

Leading out of the house is that you will be able to secure the main doors from the’inside. It is important to remember to secure the side doors as well, especially if they lead directly into the house. A thief could otherwise force his way into the garage and be able to work unseen on doors leading into the home. He could also drive a vehicle into the garage and be able to remove items at his leisure. Side doors should be fitted with mortise deadlocks as well as surface bolts on the inside if they lead into the house; remember to lock them at night.

For additional security, chain together items left inside the garage and chain and padlock any ladders to fixed parts of the garage structure, making sure the chain passes through all sections of an extending ladder. If you have windows in the garage, make sure these are secured too as described earlier in the Course. If the windows are particularly vulnerable, metal bars could also be fitted.


You should try to secure driveways to prevent intruders β€” or at least their vehicles β€” entering your property. Timber gates in front of driveways should be chained together and padlocked or have locking devices fitted to them.

It is not normally possible to prevent intrusion by fixing locking devices to doors and gates ,other than those set into brick walls or tall fences. Heavy bolts can be fitted at about waist height to timber gates and doors in this situation and metal gates can be locked with specially manufactured key-operated locks. If neither bolts nor security locks are practical, you should fit some stout chain and a padlock. Gates should be closed and secured, particularly at night to deter prowlers and prevent vehicle theft. To prevent gates being climbed easily, fit a strand of barbed wire or a batten with projecting nails to the top rail. If you have no gates in front of the drive, fit a chain across or install a lockable hinged bar, which fits into the ground to prevent vehicle access.

If you have young children, it may be advisable to fit padlock bars or bolts to the inside of any side gates or doors leading outside; this will stop them from leaving the garden without permission. A cable lock can be fitted to metal doors or a sliding bolt and padlock to timber doors.


The outbuildings around the home will probably hold a number of valuable items. It is advisable to fit mortise locks or a padlock bar or bolt to the doors of sheds and buildings away from the main house. You can chain together and padlock items of value so they become either too heavy for a thief to remove or too much trouble to release. Make sure the doors of such buildings are maintained so they do not rot and check the hinges are strong enough. If a mortise lock is not practical, you can fit padlock bars to the outside of the door and frame.

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