Exterior of a home featuring Marvin Signature Ultimate awning, casement and picture windows.
23 April 2021

Window and Door Security Tips for Better Home Safety

Handy tips and smart products that will make thieves think twice about targeting your home.

If a thief is going to break into your home, they’re going to get in through a window or door. So, when you start thinking about how to keep your home safe, it makes sense to start thinking about windows and doors first. Here are some useful tips and innovative products to help make your home secure.

Lock ‘Em Up … Automatically

Recommending that you lock your windows and doors might sound like an obvious tip right off the bat, but thieves love the path of least resistant and are going to search for an open window or door every time. Most people get in the habit of locking their doors when they leave their home, but windows are more likely to be left unlocked. Casement, or crank out windows, are nice because even when you forget to lock them, if they’re shut all the way, they’re still difficult to open from the outside. But that’s not the case with all windows. If you shut and forget to lock a glider or double hung window, a would-be burglar will be able to push them open.

Auto locking systems are a great solution for the forgetful window operator. As the name suggests, an auto locking system automatically locks a window when it’s closed. The window shown above features a Marvin Lift Lock hardware. In addition to locking automatically, Lift Lock is installed at the bottom of the lower sash on a double hung window instead of the check rail like on a standard double hung window. Placing the lock at the bottom makes a window much easier to open when it’s located in a hard-to-reach area like behind a bathtub or over a kitchen counter.

Choose Multipoint Locks

The locking mechanism on a door is called a latch. For an extra layer of security, you can, and probably should, install a deadbolt. For even more security, look for doors with a multi-point locking system. In addition to a latch and deadbolt, multi-point locks are equipped with a bolt that comes out of the top of the door panel (head bolt) and another that comes out of the bottom (foot bolt). It would take a formidable offender indeed to break through a door secured in four separate places.

Consider Tougher Glass

Let’s face it, it doesn’t take much to break standard window glass, just ask any parent whose kid loves playing baseball in the back yard. But a window fitted with laminated glass is not so easily penetrated. Laminated glass is made by sandwiching a thin, virtually invisible, vinyl film between two layers of glass. That thin layer won’t prevent the glass from cracking, but if it does get broken the glass will stay in place within the window sash or frame. The windshield in your car is an example of laminated glass. Laminated glass is also installed in the impact-rated windows and doors found in coastal homes threatened by hurricanes and tropical storms. Hurricane resistant windows are tested by blasting them with 2x4s at speeds near 35 mph and small steel balls at speeds near 90 mph. Laminated glass is tough! An additional benefit of laminated glass is that it has better sound reduction qualities, which is a great feature if you live on a noisy street.

Install Smarter Windows and Doors

Home security systems have been around for a long time because they work. There are dozens of legitimate platforms to choose from, but when it comes to windows and doors, there are two basic approaches you can take. You can either set up motion detectors that detect movement within the house or install lock status sensors that will let you know if your doors and windows are locked or if someone unlocks them. Both systems can be built in to a new or existing home. Marvin Lock Status Sensors are integrated into the window itself so you don’t see any unsightly sensors like many of the systems require, and they are hardwired so you don’t have to worry about replacing batteries.

Don’t Let Them See Your Stuff

Out of sight, out of mind. There are several ways to keep your valuables out of sight from those folks who wouldn’t mind stealing them. Installing curtains or blinds can be a simple and effective solution, and there are many different glazing options that allow light inside but obscure the view. Thoughtful fenestration can also improve privacy. If one side of your home faces a particularly public place, you could install windows high up on the wall so you’ll still reap the benefits of natural light but won’t have strangers checking out you and your stuff. Awning windows are a popular choice in this scenario.

Keep Them Inside

Sometimes, it’s not about keeping outlaws out—it’s about keeping the vulnerable in. Window Opening Control Devices (WOCDs) are designed to prevent a small child from opening a window wide enough to climb out. They are intended to prevent fall injuries and to stop little Johnny or Jane from opening a window and making a break for it. In some areas WOCDs are a building code requirement* for windows located near the interior floor and high up from the exterior grade.

*Building codes vary from one region to the next. Contact your local building official to find out the exact code requirements in your area.