Period properties combine class and style with both character and history, but can prove a challenge for security, especially if you are living in a listed building with restrictions or conservation area regulations. One of the main challenges can be home security, as period and heritage properties often have outdated security systems, making them easy targets for criminals. Modern security solutions can be introduced to increase the security of your traditional property and these are worth the investment. It is also possible to install security measures that work with the aesthetics of your property and its setting, without disrupting its visual appeal.
Period properties have older windows such as wooden-frame sash instead of the lockable, double glazed uPVC windows that modern houses often have. You should consider looking at specialist sash-window locks as these will provide higher levels of home security. However, these might be subject to restrictions so you should always check with your local council’s conservation officer first before making any changes. You could also consider installing collapsible grilles for the insides of your windows; these may disrupt the period aesthetics but they do fold away when needed. These retractable security grilles are a good deterrent for burglars and also offer a higher level of security.
Period doors can often be very thin, and therefore can be vulnerable to crime. If you have wooden doors, you could consider turning them around so that they open outwards instead of inwards, as this makes it harder for thieves to kick them in.
Georgian homes were built during the 18th Century and are often very symmetrical with large solid front doors, whereas Victorian properties were built during the 19th Century, identifiable by their red brick, large bay windows and gothic architectural style. Victorian front doors were representative of wealth within the community, presented through colourful, patterned tiling in the artwork on the door. If your door is from the Victorian or Georgian era, it may not be as durable or sturdy as more modern doors to protect from intruders, with an increased risk of age and wear making it vulnerable to break-ins.
There have been advancements in door security for period properties, with improvements supported by the government’s Building Regulations. Doors should meet or exceed the British Standard PAS24 and locks should conform to British Standard 3621 . You should check that your new front door meets the latest minimum British Standards in aspects of glass for security, thermal ability, energy-efficiency and safety qualities. Modern security systems can be installed to your period front door and property, ensuring that its original charm and elegance is sustained to achieve a period aesthetic without compromising security. In order to protect your period property, the main doors should have a door viewer, such as clear glass or a window next to the doorset, a door chain or limiter. A door chain or limiter is not always necessary and there can be alternative ways to identify visitors, such as electronic audio-visual door entry systems.
Furthermore, a good locking system will ensure that your home is secure, by having locks built in with bars, bolts and support structures to strengthen the body of your door. Locks available for timber doors are considered far superior and stronger than those for uPVC, composite or aluminium doors, as these can be worked into the door and provide you with the flexibility to choose from a range of high-quality door locks. If you do not have a timber door, there are options for improving uPVC door security, these can be secured by design accreditation and police approved. Examples of these include: anti-snap locks, uPVC door handles, door chains and sash jammers to improve the security of the door, these prevent the door from opening if the lock is broken or opened. High bolts or dog bolts can also be fitted to an opening door, as when it is closed hinge bolts will prevent the door from being forced open off the hinges.
There are many options to increase security solutions through the use of locks for period doors, such as mortice locks. Mortice locks are fitted inside the edge of the door, these make it difficult to break into as most of the locking mechanism is contained inside the door frame. They are visually pleasing as less of the locking mechanism is visible, and therefore do not compromise the style and aesthetics of your original period home.
You could also consider using deadlocks or deadbolts as a secure locking system, manually operated using a key. When a deadlock is unlocked, it is held in the withdrawn position. These are much easier to unlock in emergency situations, such as fires overall providing higher safety measures.
Modern Security Solutions
You could consider installing modern technology and security solutions into your period property, whilst retaining its grandeur and style. A requirement of home technology is to install alarm systems, alarm bell boxes and CCTV systems, all of these can be hidden if you do not want them to affect your house’s period style. Modern lighting is also ideal for preventing burglaries and you can find specialist security lights in a period style or adapt outdoor lighting with a standard movement sensor.
You could also consider fitting spy holes, door chains and bars to your period front door, carefully designed to retain your door’s style but also to prevent intruders. You could consider replacing the spy-hole with a security camera or smartphone app for peace of mind. Wireless technology can be an asset to period properties and can be easily fitted without damaging its original features. You can also use remote monitoring and viewing from your smartphone to identify visitors without affecting your personal security. It is also possible to automate security functions and control them remotely from your smartphone or computer. Discretely styled monitoring equipment and wireless technology can allow higher levels of security for your home, whilst retaining the period aesthetic and in some instances, you won’t fall under planning legislation.
Top Tips for Ensuring Home Security for your Period Property
- Hide all keys, especially away from the letterbox as a device could be used to hook keys through.
- Install a visual burglar alarm and outside lighting.
- Ensure you have good rear and outside fencing to protect your property.
- Improve natural surveillance at the front of your property, e.g. trim high hedges.
- Mark your property with postcode and house number and register your property for free with Immobilise. The system where you can register your valuable to reduce crime.
- Consider joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.
- Avoid becoming a victim of a distraction burglary, if you’re unsure of who is at your door, don’t open it, check the identity of the caller by calling the company they are claiming to be from.
- Use automatic timer-switches to turn on your lights and radios when it gets dark.
- Use the Royal Mail’s ‘KeepSafe’ service, they keep your mail for up to two months while you’re away to prevent mail sitting on your doorstep as a sign that you’re away.