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Garage security is included in this part of the website as many of them are accessed from the garden.
There is a wide variety of garage buildings, all with their slightly different security needs. Although people do actually put cars in their garages many of them contain everything other than the car! Commonly they are used to store garden and DIY tools, deep freezers, bicycles, ladders, camping equipment – you know who you are - and all of this adds up to a great deal of value. The following information covers most garaging arrangements and where necessary refers you to other sections on this website for the more detailed advice for securing doors and windows.
For garage doors please visit our DIRECTORY
Detached garages next to the house and crime risk
Detached garages are generally constructed from brick, block or prefabricated steel or concrete panels. Some will have a pedestrian door, as well as the vehicle door, and some will have windows too. Those that have the vehicle entrance door either flush with or set a little back from the front elevation of the house (particularly those overlooked from the other side of the street) are generally more secure than those that are set to the back of an accessible garden.
The most problematic detached garages are those that are set to the back of the garden with the vehicle door opening onto a rear service road. This is because the service road is usually not gated and the garage door is not overlooked. Access into the garage and then into the garden, followed by the house is a main security risk and the paragraphs below give you some ideas about what you can do. Garages that are part of a block of garages can also be problematic, particularly if the block has been located in a place that is out of sight of the dwelling. Information for these garages can be found in Bicycles and vehicles, Motor vehicles.
Attached and integral garages and crime risk
Attached and integral garages are normally constructed from the same materials as the house; many will have a pedestrian door leading directly into the house and a few will have windows. The most secure are those that are overlooked by houses on the opposite side of the street and the most insecure are those that have no vehicle access door and believe me these are more common than you might think!
Attached and integral garages with a pedestrian door leading into the dwelling have the added risk of forced entry into the house from the garage, so extra precautions may be necessary.
Fire safety for attached and integral garages
If you live in a modern house then it is almost certain that the interconnecting door between the garage and the dwelling will be fire resistant for at least ½ hour. Doors used for this purpose are tested to BS 476 Part 22: 1987 (See Door security, Fire doors in a domestic setting) This standard is required by building regulations which also requires the door to be self-closing. Please note that although these rather heavy fire resistant doors will appear secure many of them are not designed as security doors. If your door isn’t fire resisting for ½ hour then, for your safety take some expert advice and think about changing the door. At the same time you will want this door to be very secure in the event of accidently leaving the vehicle access door open or unlocked. If you are going to replace the doorset then you can buy internal doorsets that are both fire resistant and secure to PAS 24: 2007 + A1 2009 - Now PAS 23: 2012. (See Door security, Enhanced security doorsets)
Improving the security of your garage's vehicle door
Roller shutter doors
If you think you need to improve the security of your existing automatic roller shutter garage door you should not attempt to do this yourself, but should instead consult the original manufacturer/supplier of the door. This is because the retro-fitting of additional locks may cause damage to the motor and safety systems and adversely affect any warranty on the product.
If you are going to replace the door then I recommend you replace it with one that is certificated to at least level 1 of the following security standard:
LPS 1175 Issue 5/6 Requirements and testing procedures for the LPCB approval and listing of intruder resistant building components, strongpoints, security enclosures and free-standing barriers View this standard here
The above security standard has been published by the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB), which is part of BRE Global. Products that are certificated to this standard have undergone rigorous, independent testing by the LPCB and are subject to continuous ongoing assessment to ensure that the quality of the product is maintained. Part of the ongoing assessment includes a regular inspection of the company’s manufacturing facilities and the company must hold a BS EN ISO 9001:2008 Quality management system.
At the time of writing, this security standard was only available on a roller shutter garage door, however I have just been informed that an up-and-over door is now available at LPS 1175 Security Rating 1 (see below).
Alternatively look out for roller shutter and up-and-over (See below) garage doors that have been certified to Warrington’s STS202 (BR1) - Requirements for burglary resistance of construction products and products tested by TUV UK Limited against their 'Break-in resistance guidelines for garage doors 11.2007’ (See the DIRECTORY)
If you think you need to improve the security of your existing automatic up-and-over garage door you should not attempt to do this yourself, but should instead consult the original manufacturer/supplier of the door. This is because the retro-fitting of additional locks may cause damage to the motor and safety systems and adversely affect any warranty on the product.
The typical manually operated up-and-over garage door will have a centrally located lockable handle which operates a spring loaded bolt via a steel cable or rod. The bolt locks into a keep in the top frame. Turning the handle releases the bolt and the door can be opened. The lock cylinder is normally of low quality and some of the older ones have the key number printed on the face of the cylinder. Some of the better locking systems have the handle operating two bolts, one on each side of the door, and others operate three bolts with an additional one at the top of the door. One method of forcing open a single bolted door is to insert a thin bladed tool over the top of the door to force down the spring loaded bolt. If you have this type of door then you need to improve its security and there are several solutions depending on the access into the garage and the door.
If it is convenient to enter and leave the garage via a separate pedestrian door then it is a good idea to secure the vehicle door from the inside. By adding locks to the inside of the door, the thief standing on the outside won’t know where they are. Press bolts can usually be fitted to the top frame to obstruct and prevent the door from opening or they can be fitted through the garage door with coach bolts (can’t be undone from outside) to bolt into the side frame. If the door runners are accessible it may be possible to drill a hole through one of them and insert a padlock (or rather its hasp) to jam the running wheel.
If you do not have the convenience of a separate pedestrian door and have to lock the garage from the outside you can add lockable bolts specifically made for garage doors or use a padbolt and padlock. These bolts should be attached to the door using coach bolts, with the nuts on the inside, and can either bolt into the side frames or possibly into the concrete slab beneath the door. (See Preventing crime in the garden, outbuildings and garage, Preventing theft from the garden, Padlocks)
If you are going to replace the door then I recommend you replace it with an up-and-over door that is certificated to LPS 1175 Security Rating 1 or the alternative standards suggested at the end of the paragraphs for roller shutter doors above.
Double side-hung doors
These are best secured with a large hasp, staple and padlock. All the fittings should be attached using coach bolts. Each leaf should be fitted with a drop bolt to secure them open when driving in and out of the garage. The second opening leaf should have additional bolts at the top and bottom for extra security before applying the padlock. (See Padlocks)
Other styles of vehicle door
This section only deals with the most common garage doors and it is appreciated that there are many other types. Most of these can be secured in a similar fashion as those above, but if you are in any doubt about how to add some security to your particular vehicle door you should consult the manufacturer/supplier in the first instance or a member of the Master Locksmiths Association.
Improving the security of your garage's pedestrian door
It’s really important to ensure these are well secured as your garage is likely to contain property of value or possibly tools that can be used to break into your house. See Door security for advice on how to secure these doors.
Securing a connecting door from house to garage
If you accidentally forget to close or lock the vehicle door or the door gets forced the thief can close the vehicle door and then work away at the pedestrian door to get into the house. A lot of these doors will be fire doors that have not been designed to be secure. You can make improvements to the existing door using professional services or you can change the door for one that is both fire resistant and secure. (See Fire safety for attached and integral garages above and Door security, Fire doors in a domestic setting)
Securing the garage windows
If you have what my wife terms ‘nice windows’ in your garage (the sort of window you'd have in your house) then please go to Window security to find out the best way to secure them. If the windows are similar to the type that you might find in a garden shed or other garden outbuilding take a look at Preventing theft from the garden, Security for garden outbuildings
Security inside the garage
To add some additional security inside the garage for things like power tools, chemicals and flammable products you can buy steel containers from DIY outlets and fix them onto the floor using expandable bolts. Ground anchors and wall brackets can also be fitted to the floor or wall to use with chains to secure bicycles, motorcycles and perhaps garden tools. (See Bicycles and vehicles)
The house alarm can also be extended to the garage, but you may need an additional entry/exit control panel to remove the possibility of false alarms. Your alarm company will be able to help you with this.