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Home Theft Protection: Secure Your Garage

Most garage burglaries can be prevented by taking a few simple steps to secure and reinforce service doors, overhead doors and windows. All the strategies in this article are fast and cheap, and will really enhance your security.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Home Theft Protection: Secure Your Garage

Most garage burglaries can be prevented by taking a few simple steps to secure and reinforce service doors, overhead doors and windows. All the strategies in this article are fast and cheap, and will really enhance your security.

Don't leave your remote in the car

Fortify the service door

For a service door, the solution is to install a good-quality dead bolt and reinforce the doorjamb and hinges to resist a brute-force attack. The best dead bolts have an ANSI Grade 1 rating, but even a Grade 2 lock will provide above-average security. Look for the rating on the package. But even the best dead bolt won’t help if the doorjamb and door aren’t reinforced. Before installing the dead bolt, strengthen the lock area of the door with a metal sleeve (Photo 1). Then install a strong strike plate that’s securely attached to the wall framing with long screws (Photo 2). Heavy-duty strike plates are available at home centers and hardware stores.

Hinges that are installed with the usual wimpy 3/4-in. screws are nearly as easy to kick in as a wimpy door latch. So while you’ve got the drill and screws handy, remove one of the short screws nearest the weather stripping from each hinge and replace it with a 3-in. screw (Photo 3). If you have an attached garage, use these same methods to reinforce the door from the garage into your house. Also make sure to keep this door locked; otherwise, a burglar who gains access to the garage can walk right in.

Scare away thieves with motion detector lights

Cover windows to stop prying eyes

Bar the windows to prevent break-ins

If they can’t simply enter through an open door, burglars will often try to come through windows because most are relatively easy to pry open or break. Breaking a window is their last choice because of the noise. Luckily it’s not difficult to eliminate this chink in the man-cave armor. First, make sure to lock windows if possible. If you have windows that you don’t open, screw them shut. But for the ultimate window security, add strong bars across the window so that thieves can’t get in even if they pry open the window or break the glass.

Ready-made bars are available, but it’s easier and cheaper to use a few lengths of 1/2-in. steel pipe. Use either precut and threaded pieces of 1/2-in. steel pipe or measure for the lengths you need and have the pipe cut and threaded at the hardware store. Space bars every 6 to 8 in. Get two tees, two 3/8-in. washers and two 3-1/2-in. x 3/8-in. lag screws for each bar. Thread a tee onto each end of the pipes. Then attach the pipes to the framing by running a lag screw through a washer, then through the tee and into the framing.

Disable the overhead door

Keep the garage door closed

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Cordless drill
    • Socket/ratchet set
    • 4-in-1 screwdriver
    • Drill bit set
    • Safety glasses
    • Non-contact voltage tester
    • Wire stripper/cutter

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Keychain remote
    • Lock reinforcer
    • Heavy-duty strike plate
    • 3-in. screws
    • Motion detector lights
    • Window film
    • 1/2-in. steel pipe and Tee fittings
    • Padlock
    • Garage door timer

Comments from DIY Community Members

Share what's on your mind and see what other DIYers are thinking about.

1 - 5 of 5 comments
Show per page: 20   All

August 21, 8:18 PM [GMT -5]

I installed my entry doors backward. Anyone trying to kick them in just kicks them closed.

To deal with the exposed hinges, just leave two screws out of each hinge [at the same place on both the frame and door portion of the hinge]. Install a large nail in the frame, with about a half inch sticking out, in place of the screw. Drill a hole into the wood where the nail would meet (go into) the door.

When the door is closed, the nails prevent the door from being taken off, even if the hinge pins are removed.

August 21, 8:10 PM [GMT -5]

The grid wire used for concrete pours works better than the bars shown. Its holes are too small for even the smallest dirt bag to fit through. It's heavy gauge would require a lot of work to get through.

July 20, 2:08 PM [GMT -5]

These are all really great tips. I'm definitely going to be reinforcing my locks. Another tip, though, is to have a security system installed. If a burglar really wants to enter a home, they will find ways around these contraptions, as great as they are and as much as they provide peace of mind. I'm from Michigan, and these home alarm systems Michigan (http://watchdogmi.com/home-security/) are a really good way to add that extra layer of security and have authorities intervene in the instance anything does occur.

July 20, 2:08 PM [GMT -5]

These are all really great tips. I'm definitely going to be reinforcing my locks. Another tip, though, is to have a security system installed. If a burglar really wants to enter a home, they will find ways around these contraptions, as great as they are and as much as they provide peace of mind. I'm from Michigan, and these home alarm systems Michigan (http://watchdogmi.com/home-security/) are a really good way to add that extra layer of security and have authorities intervene in the instance anything does occur.

January 22, 11:10 AM [GMT -5]

if you have pull down stairs in the garage that lead to the attic it's also a good idea
to put a pair of padlocks (and the hasp) to secure those. Otherwise there's
no point to having a locked door, most theieve go up the stairs and just drop
through the ceiling causing more damage than what they might steal

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