Making Windows More Secure

This story shows you how to make windows more secure with locks or bars.

Burglars usually try to enter through a door first, a window second. A thief typically wants to avoid making the noise created by breaking glass. With a good-quality sash lock installed and fastened, the intruder must break a hole in the glass in order to reach a lock that he can turn to open the window. If you want to occasionally keep the window partially open for ventilation, install a wedge lock or bore several holes for a bolt-type lock. If a keyed sash lock is installed, the intruder must break all the glass and crawl through the sash.

With security bars blocking the way, the intruder cannot enter even after breaking the glass. Though some types of security bars are fairly attractive, many people dislike the look.

Another choice is a phone-in security system that notifies the police or security company when one of the sensors placed on windows and doors detects an intrusion.

Prestart Checklist

Time
Less than an hour for most installations

Tools
Screwdriver, drill, tape measure

Skills
Measuring, driving screws

Prep
Buy the hardware of your choice. If the screw holes do not match the existing holes in your window, fill and sand the holes.

Materials
Screws or bolts are usually included with the hardware.

What If... You want security bars?

Security bars come in a variety of sizes, each of which is adjustable to suit most any window. Many come with locking mechanisms that permit you to swing the security bars open. They mount on the casing or, for deep-set windows, to the jamb. In each case the fasteners must penetrate to the framing members.

Typically, mounting hardware is provided, often with anchors needed for masonry walls. Center one bracket for the mounting hardware, plumb, drill pilot holes, and attach the fasteners. Use the bars for positioning the opposite bracket. Mounting screws often come with inserts that make the screws difficult to remove.

Locks for double-hung sashes: Hinged wedge lock

A hinged wedge lock allows you to open a window partially but keeps the sash from lifting far enough to allow an intruder to enter. Swing it away and you can open the window to any height.

Locks for double-hung sashes: Folding lock

A folding lock for a double-hung window can be unlocked and folded to one side so the sash can be raised.

Locks for double-hung sashes: Keyed sash locks

Keyed sash locks are available to fit most double-hung windows. Simply remove the old lock, fill the screw holes, drill new fastener holes, and install the unit.

Sliding window: Keyed locks

Keyed locks for sliding windows are available in several styles. This type needs no permanent fastening; it simply clips in place before locking.

Sliding window: Screw-type lock

This inexpensive screw-type lock will secure a sliding window. You simply slip it over the lip of the track, push it against the window, and screw it tight onto the track.

Sliding window: Dowel

The simplest security measure for a sliding window you want to be able to open periodically is a 1-inch dowel cut to fit between the sliding window and the jamb. Lay it flat in the track to secure the window.

Serious security

Where security is of more concern than seeing the vista outdoors, consider glass block. Prefab units can be ordered that spare you the fuss of mortaring together separate blocks.

 

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