Many homeowners make the mistake of not paying proper attention to garage security while spending a fortune on reinforcing other areas of their house.
Securing garage windows will definitely pay off in the long run as it can greatly increase the overall security of the whole property.
Let’s be honest: most garages are pretty easy targets for burglars.
If you want to make your garage more secure, you simply can’t ignore windows. While it’s true that most thieves get into garages through the door, unsecured garage windows provide many excellent opportunities for intruders.
You might think that you only have some garage door windows that are way too small to serve as an entry point. In fact, if those windows are not reinforced, they can be used to gain access to the emergency rope and the release mechanism of the garage door.
Actually, this is a very common method among burglars.
Now, let’s see how you can effectively prevent crooks from breaking into your garage.
1. Make Sure Your Garage Windows Are Non-Transparent
First of all, if you’re keeping valuable stuff inside your garage and anyone can easily peek in through the windows, the chances of being robbed are much higher.
Burglars are not stupid: if you give them an opportunity to find out whether breaking into your garage is worth the risk, they will take advantage of it. And if they are sure that there are precious items inside, they are much more likely to be willing to take greater risks.
Therefore, the first thing you should do is to make sure your garage windows are non-transparent, so nobody can see through them from the outside.
How can you do that?
There are many ways you can make a garage window opaque. Here are some solutions that you can easily implement even if you’re not a big fan of DIY:
- Cover it with a curtain. This is one of the easiest methods to prevent unauthorized persons from peeking into your garage. You can also use a piece of cloth instead of a curtain. To hang the curtain, use a no-drill curtain rod, such as a tension rod or a magnetic rod (so you don’t have to drill). Important: do not use curtains on garage door windows because that could cause a failure while the garage door opener is operating.
- Use a non-adhesive window film. Covering your garage windows with window film is an easy and quick way to make them non-transparent. Most types can also be used on garage door windows, so this solution is more versatile than hanging curtains. Another benefit is that in case you change your mind, the film can be easily removed.
- Use a frosted glass spray. If you don’t really like the above-mentioned solutions, you can get a special spray to frost your garage windows. The special coating lets the light in but keeps prying eyes away. It’s another great way to improve garage security.
FYI – If your garage windows are covered with window security film, do not use another film or frosted glass spray on them.
Usually, detached garages tend to have more (and often bigger) windows than attached ones. However, it’s important to note that you’ll benefit from making your garage windows non-transparent regardless of what kind of garage you have.
2. Install a Sturdy Window Lock
Like you use a good-quality deadbolt to lock your front door, you should also use a reliable lock for your garage windows.
In most cases, you shouldn’t solely rely on the built-in locking system that comes with the window. It’s often of poor quality and won’t give you the level of security you need.
Therefore it’s almost always a good idea to install an additional lock.
Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions on the market when it comes to window locks.
How to choose the right one?
First of all, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. If you have sliding garage windows, you can install a pin lock. When choosing a model, make sure it’s made of heavy-duty metal otherwise it may break under high stress.
The obvious disadvantage of using a pin lock is that you have to drill a hole into the sashes. If you don’t want to do that, check out the next method.
If pin locks are not for you, another option is to use a rail lock that requires no tools for installation. It’s a simple security device that comes with a thumbscrew that you can use to fix the lock on the rail of the window to prevent sliding.
The advantage of this lock is that it’s easy to remove and it also allows you to securely lock the window in a ventilating position.
For a more professional solution, check out Windobully which is probably a more convenient solution to secure sliding windows than the previous methods.
3. Protect the Glass with Window Security Film
If you want to secure your garage windows, having a high-quality locking system is a must. However, that doesn’t prevent an intruder from breaking the glass.
If you think to yourself that most burglars won’t break window glass because that makes too much noise, you’re partly right.
However, that does not mean that they never do it.
Especially, if they can see through the glass and have the opportunity to take a look at the potential reward. Sometimes, it pays to take the risk.
In this article, you’ll find some useful facts on how (and how fast) intruders can break through different types of windows.
Risks are even higher when it comes to garage door windows.
Although a garage door window is usually pretty small, it can be used (after breaking the glass) to gain access to the emergency release cord and the release mechanism of the garage door. For this, all crooks need is a coat hook.
Yes, it’s that simple. Small windows on the top part of the garage door are perfect targets for this kind of attack.
Now that we’ve discussed why it’s so important to protect the glass of your windows, you understand why I promote the use of security film.
What are the main benefits of window security film?
- The obvious advantage is that it holds the glass in place even if a thief tries to break the window. So they can’t get through.
- You can choose from tinted or clear films. If you opt for the tinted version, that will also improve privacy as people won’t be able to see into the garage. This way you can solve two problems at once.
- Another benefit is that it also protects against vandalism, explosions, and natural disasters.
Security film is especially important if your garage has larger windows (large enough to serve as an entry point after breaking the glass).
The main drawback of window security film is that installation can be tricky, so I don’t recommend you try to do it on your own, especially, if you haven’t done anything similar before.
In most cases, it’s best to find a company that offers window film installation services in your area and let them do the job for you.
FYI – In case you also want to secure the windows of your house, here are some great tips on how you can do that without ugly bars.
4. Use Motion Detector and Glass Break Sensor to Deter Burglars
Motion sensors are part of many alarm systems, however, you can also get them as standalone products (in this case you need a motion sensor with an alarm feature).
While a motion detector alarm won’t prevent invasions, it detects motion inside your garage and tries to deter the intruder by emitting a loud sound.
I wouldn’t recommend that you solely rely on a motion detector but it can be a useful security device to further improve security (it also protects against invasion through the garage door or the service door).
Motion detectors work great with glass break sensors. When used in combination, they can multiply each other’s effectiveness.
Glass break sensors are especially useful if your windows are not covered with security film. The alarm will immediately sound once the glass is broken before the thief could enter the garage.
5. Install an Alarm System
Installing a complete security system is probably one of the most costly solutions to protect your garage but if you keep a lot of valuables there, it’s definitely worth the investment.
There are many security systems available on the market and it’s not always easy to find the one that best suits your needs. I suggest that you thoroughly read the offers and take a close look at the equipment packages, and pay only for those features that are really useful to keep your garage safe.
An alarm system is not a replacement for other security measures, such as window locks or security film.
Here are some useful features to consider when choosing a security system for your garage:
- Motion detector spotlights around the garage door and windows can be real deterrents if a thief tries to break in during nighttime.
- If window sensors are included in the package, you will always know when someone opens any of your garage windows.
- Motion sensors, as I’ve already mentioned, are pretty useful when it comes to deterring burglars as they detect motion inside your garage instantly.
- Glass break sensors are must-haves if you don’t use security film.
- Security cameras can serve as both monitoring devices and deterrents.
If you’re on a budget, you can still opt for an affordable magnetic window alarm that will sound whenever someone opens the window (but does nothing else).
+1 Security Tip: Place Motion Detector Lights Around the Garage Windows
Any homeowner can take garage security to the next level simply by installing some outdoor motion sensor lights.
Garage burglaries often happen at nighttime when garages are empty.
This is why motion sensor lights are so important. No burglar likes to be in the spotlight. And I mean that literally.
Motion detector lights are pretty affordable and they have proven their effectiveness in deterring criminals (by the way, here you’ll find ten more ways to deter burglars). If you ask me, installing some lights around your garage windows (and door) is a no-brainer.
If you don’t want to bother with the wiring, opt for a model that works with solar energy. When choosing, keep in mind that floodlights are better than spotlights, but spotlights are much better than no lights at all.
Pro Tip: Make sure you install the motion detector lights at least 10 feet high to prevent burglars from reaching and disabling them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should you put bars on your garage windows?
Bars are, without doubt, highly effective in preventing thieves from getting inside the garage, however, they have some major drawbacks.
In case of fire, windows with bars cannot be used as an emergency exit anymore. Most bars are unsightly, and they may reduce the value of your property as potential buyers might have the impression that the neighborhood is not safe.
Can burglars open locked windows?
As we’ve discussed earlier, most garage windows don’t come with a high-security locking system. In most cases, this is why it’s so important to add a supplementary lock to your windows. So, the answer is yes, burglars can open locked windows, but you can significantly reduce the chance of that scenario by taking some preventative measures.
What is a quick way to make your garage more secure?
First, apply some of the above-mentioned methods, then install a Garage Shield to improve garage door security. It’s a simple device that protects the emergency release cord and prevents opening the garage door from the outside. Important: do not use a zip tie to prevent the emergency release mechanism from functioning because that could trap you inside in case of an emergency.
Putting It All Together: Securing Your Garage Windows
Garages are common targets of burglars who often take advantage of poor window security.
The first thing you should consider is the value of the items you’re storing in your garage. If you have an attached garage, you need a higher level of protection because it’s directly connected to your house.
I highly recommend that you start by making your windows non-transparent. Then make sure the window locking system is secure: if needed, install an additional lock.
Installing window security film is a great way to prevent intrusions by breaking windows. It’s especially useful if you have single-pane windows that are easier to break. Glass break sensors won’t replace security film but they are effective deterrents.
If a crook somehow still gets into your garage, having a motion detector or a security system will likely deter them.
Motion sensor lights around the entry and the windows can successfully prevent nighttime burglaries and they’re also pretty affordable.