Conservatory Safety Guide
Conservatories can often be overlooked in terms of security. By following some simple tips and tricks you can decrease your risk of burglary of theft, read our guide below to find out more.
How can I make sure that my conservatory is secure?
Conservatories can provide extra living space that opens up your home to your garden. However, it can pose a great security risk for your home as they can provide easy access to any potential intruders. Below is a list of all the areas you should look when considering how to secure each area of a conservatory.
First and foremost all get a conservatory installed by a licensed professional. Poor construction and fit are factors that will contribute to the overall safety of your conservatory, and often the lower the quality of the construction the higher risk you have of being targeted.
Unfortunately, conservatories are not an area where you can save on money as you will get what you pay for; if you are thinking about having one added to your house always take your time to research, gain recommendations and above all always choose a reputable and experienced company that is certified. A good way to research a company is to use independent websites such as Trustpilot or Google.
Another thing to remember is that all conservatories must meet the benchmark security standards, which include British Standard 7950 and 7412, so if you have found a company you trust request evidence that your conservatory will meet these standards before construction starts.
Are conservatories secure?
A well-built conservatory that is up to building regulations should hold as much security as any other point of your home. A common misconception is that because of the vast amount of glass they are likely to be smashed to gain entry, however smashing glass will cause a loud noise which can increase the chance of an intruder being caught. So most likely point of force entry will be through a door or window after manipulating the locking mechanism with force. You should treat the doors and windows of your conservatory the same as you would any other door or window in your home and choose a security lock that suits your need and budget.
As a conservatory is largely glass, it offers potentially easy access for would-be-burglars. Normal glass can be easily smashed or broken so to combat this; an option is to install ultra-secure toughened glass that is harder to break minimising your risk of break in. Not only does it provide an extra security feature but also helps protect your conservatory against the elements.
Euro Cylinder Locks
Conservatory doors often feature Euro Cylinder Locks as standard which are susceptible to a forced entry technique called lock snapping. Lock snapping is when a burglar attempts to snap the lock cylinder in two with force to remove the outer casing which then exposes the lock mechanism. Once the lock mechanism is exposed the door can then be unlocked.
The best way to combat lock snapping is to install an anti-snap lock, which is designed to be harder to break and features a snap off section at the front of the cylinder which if broken will sacrificially come away reducing the amount of cylinder that an intruder can attack.
Sliding patio doors are a lovely feature that open up your home, however old style sliding doors have the opening slide on the outside which means that the door runner is exposed on the outside. This provides an opportunity for intruders as they could force a tool, such as a shovel, under the door and lever the door off.
To combat this, extra locks should be put in place to better secure the door. One option is to install a slide-locking bar which is a thick wood dowel or metal bar that is cut to fit in the bottom track of the sliding door. This keeps the door for being opened, even if the latching lock is damaged or removed.
French doors can be difficult to secure as they open outward, which leaves the hinges exposed on the outside, making it an easier access point for burglars. A way to make French Doors more secure is to install shootbolts in the top and bottom.
Conservatory Windows and Vents
Windows can often be the favourite way for intruders to enter your home, as they are often the easiest point of entry. To secure the windows you can install internal beading, alongside the standard external one. Window beading refers to the wooden, plastic or aluminium strip that sits that the edge of the window pane to hold it in place. When fitted internally it means that a strip is also located behind the glass; meaning it cannot be removed from the outside which increases the security of the window. To be able to access the internal beading and intruder would have to smash through the window pane, which creates noise which is a risk to the intruder.
As potentially the weakest point of a conservatory, the best way to reduce the risk is to ensure that the windows have modern locks which will offer higher security at this weak point. We suggest a mechanism that will drive bolts into the window frame as this is more difficult to force entry into when properly locked thus making your conservatory a more riskier target to intruders.
Similarly to your doors looks, you should look to get windows locks that are compliant to British Standard BS7950/7412.
Vents are another point of access for intruders should they be ill fitting. If your vent is not properly installed, it may provide an intruder the opportunity to forcibly open it and climb through. Within a conservatory, always ensure that your roof vent is properly fitted and is sealed shut. If this is not the case you should contact a trusted professional who can advise you on the security of your conservatory and what steps you may want to take.
What Extra Security Measures Can I Take?
Your conservatory is an extension to your house, and should be treated the same security wise. Many would-be-burglars will use your conservatory to gain access to the rest of your home, installing an extra burglar alarm in your conservatory will add another layer of protection which will potentially deter intruders and give better peace of mind.
Obscuring your home and its contents is a great way to deter intruders, and reduce the risk of breaks ins. This is a less expensive option for adding extra security, as you can buy most blinds from any DIY store and install them with ease. Blinds are a great way to add another layer of security and quickly.
Keep the Internal Door
If you are thinking about building a conservatory, keeping your internal door might be a good idea for extra security as they provide another block against intruders. The existing back doors will often be compliant with insurances policies, and taking them out could potentially invalidate any insurance. When thinking of taking out back doors in favour of a conservatory, always check with your insurance that it is compliant with the terms and conditions.
Motion lighting is a great tool to use for general security within a property, when placed strategically it can illuminate dark corners of your property where people could potentially lurk and the motion lighting can alert you to any movement towards your home.
Protect your valuables
Much like not leaving your valuables in sight of windows, it is advisable that you do not leave any valuables in your conservatory in sight where anyone may see them should they trespass into your garden. It is best practise to take out any valuables, such as a laptop or tablet, out of your conservatory when you leave.
If you have a sliding door, a good way to add security to the door is to install a sliding door lock. They are installed in the top of the door frame at the place where the stationary glass and the sliding glass meet and is used in addition to the door lock. It makes the door impossible to jimmy open when the lock is engaged.
Ensuring that your conservatory is maintained is essential to its security, run down or unmaintained buildings can be seen as lower risk to ill-wishers and therefore become a target. Keeping your conservatory windows and locks well maintained will also allow for them to operate properly ensuring that they provide the highest security they can.
Hinges, Handles and Locks
You should regularly lubricate any handles, locks or hinges to ensure that they are moving smoothly. By lubricating these you may find that they are easier to use and reducing the risk of jamming. You should always use a lightweight machine oil for any moving parts; such as 3 in 1 or WD40, but you should always research your material type for the best product to use.
This material is used to seal any small gaps that surround the edge of any doors and windows. Although some discolouration is normal and cannot be avoided you should ensure that it is not broken or torn in any place.