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Can Garage Doors Be Broken Into? A Garage Door Security Guide

Whether your garage is attached to your main home or not, it’s vital that your fundamental security needs are met. In order to protect the contents of your garage and to protect the rest of your property, the rudimentary structure of your garage should be sound but most importantly, your garage door should have a good basic level of security. You may think that what you currently have is adequate, but if your garage door is more than 10 years old, or if you are becoming more aware of property crime in your area, a review of your garage security will be needed.

You may think that it’s difficult to break into a garage, particularly those with motorised opening and no handles. Whilst this is true of more modern garage doors; those which are of a certain age, those which have not been professionally or properly installed and those with damaged or dented frames are likely to be more at risk. In some cases, a garage can be broken into in as little as 10 seconds.

How are garage doors forced open?

There are a number of ways in which a potential burglar can break into a garage. Older garage doors tend to be targeted due to the ease in which many of them can be overcome. However, this does not mean that those with a new garage door are immune to break-ins. Modern security features certainly make it much more difficult, but it’s still very important to ensure you’re as well covered as you can be.

Older doors are more at risk from having their locks drilled or cut out completely. This has been made much more difficult in newer doors. Some older garage door designs by Henderson (who are no longer in business), Garador and Cardale only had one lock and this is where a thief can gain entry in just 10 seconds – therefore the more locks the better.

Older garage doors also may be at risk where the top of the door meets the frame. These days, garage doors are fitted with a special bar which protects this weak spot, where a crowbar is all that’s needed to compromise the locking mechanism at the top of the door, and therefore gain easy entry.

Roller and sectional doors are more protected than up-and-over garage doors simply due to the way they open. One of the only ways into a garage door like this would be to cut a hole in the door itself, which is obviously labour intensive and noisy. Those with roller or sectional doors (as long as they’re in good working order) are unlikely to be targeted by opportunists for this reason. They may still, however, be targeted by more professional burglars if it is known that there are valuables inside.

Here at VPS247 we have attended garage door replacement jobs where burglars have, using power tools, actually cut into the door panel and right through the bracing at each side. They’ve then simply folded the door in half to create a large opening, perfect for getting in and moving items out. This is obviously an extreme method, but it comes with a lesson in keeping the contents of your garage as private as possible. If it is known that you have valuables in your home, and particularly if it is known exactly where they are kept, you may be more at risk.

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Garage door security features

These days, garage doors can and should have a number of security features which come as standard in all door styles and designs. Here at Evander we supply our doors from tried and tested manufacturers who make the best quality garage doors on the market. In most cases, they’ve been making, testing and improving garage doors for decades. As methods of gaining entry are noted and reported by police, insurers and individuals, modifications which protect known weak-points have been implemented into all new doors.

You’re likely to find the following security features on any new manual garage door bought from a reputable manufacturer today:

  • Two locks – one on each side
  • The capacity for two further locks should this be chosen as an upgrade
  • Strong bars which protect the locks from being pried open from the outside
  • The main lock (which you put your key into) is an anti-snap Euro-cylinder lock, which means that – even if snapped or drilled, it still won’t allow access.

Automatic doors have extremely secure locking mechanisms which are powered by the door motor, which in turn is designed to constantly push the door downwards until it is activated by the remote control to be opened.

While these features certainly go a long way in protecting your garage and your wider property from opportunist thieves, it’s also worth remembering that no garage can be 100% secure where the right tools and force can be used. It is for this reason that it’s advised to have a security light fitted to your home, and also an alarm system if you feel you may be at risk.

At risk homes are those which are cut off from the road or are on very quiet streets. Properties situated in urban areas may be more at risk if their fences or hedging obscures the home from the street and from neighbours.

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Which garage door is the most secure?

All brand new garage doors sold and fitted by Evander have a high basic level of security and would certainly pose a challenge to anyone trying to force their way in. However, as mentioned above, some garage types are more secure than others. The most secure garage door we offer at present is the SWS automatic roller garage door.

Constructed from insulated aluminium and coming automated as standard, this door has been designed with security in mind from the very beginning. SWS have put years of research and development into this door range, and haveachieved Secured by Design status.

Secured by Design is a UK police initiative which awards the Secured by Design accreditation only to products that have a level of security which is over and above the norm. At every stage of development, features have been considered and added to ensure it’s as difficult at possible for a thief to gain entry. With the affect this has, the scheme hopes to ‘design out’ property crime in the UK.

Security accessories – do garage defenders work?

For up-and-over garage doors, you can get a garage door defender to provide additional heavy-duty and visible security. These are common and you may have seen them before, however not all are made equal. A garage door defender should be anchored into the ground properly in order to get the most out of it.

It prevents entry by blocking the outward swing of the door when someone attempts to open it. This means that, even if the locks are compromised, the door will not open. Garage door defenders work on the same principle as the Patlock for French patio doors, or as a steering lock would on a vehicle.

When buying a garage door defender, make sure that it can be fixed properly into the substrate just outside the garage door. This could be concrete, paving, tarmac or any number of other surfaces. You may need to seek advice on how best to fix it to your particular garage area.

The defender should be placed just in front of the middle of the door. This is most effective with single garage doors – double garages may need more than one defender to protect against those who may bend up the corners of the door itself (assuming it’s made from steel rather than solid timber) in order to gain entry.

Do garage door defenders work? If they are quality made, brand new at the time of fitting and suitable for the type of ground you have, then yes. If you can, go for a model which is fitted with a padlock which would resist bolt cutters. Our garage door defender master has a padlock like this, and is a good example of how heavy-duty these accessories should be.

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Additional garage security considerations

If you are concerned about criminal activity in your area, and if there is evidence that steel garage doors are being cut, a solid timber garage door may protect you from this.

For those with a garage which is attached to their main home, security should be your number one priority. If someone can gain easy entry to your garage, then they will be able to gain entry to your home and therefore all of your valuables, your car keys etc. If you have an old garage door on your attached garage and no additional security features, it’s certainly worth thinking about updating your garage door. Security lights, as mentioned above, are a relatively inexpensive and effective deterrent.

A household alarm system can provide good cover for a garage whether it’s attached to your main property or not. Most new alarm systems these days are wireless, so even if your garage is a small distance away, it can be covered by additional movement sensors and or image/video capture. The addition of a dummy alarm box with most new system packs can allow you to affix an alarm box to your garage building, creating an effective deterrent.

Often, the best security considerations for your garage and your home will depend on a number of factors, and no two homes are the same. Where a garage door defender may be an essential accessory for one property, it may not be as relevant for another. As part of our free measuring survey, VPS247 engineers are happy to advise on any additional security considerations you may want to address.

Of course, it’s always extremely important to ensure your home insurance policy covers your garage contents and your garage door, just in case of damage. Check with your insurance provider and notify them of any additional security features you have in place, as this may affect your premiums.

For more information on garage security, call 0345 145 0130 or use our contact form to get in touch with our team. We’re always happy to talk to you about your needs. We don’t use sales tactics – we’re just happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about your garage, your home security, and even your doors, windows, conservatories, locks and glazing.


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