Even as homeowners focus on securing their doors, they forget about an equally important entry point into their homes, windows! In this guide, we will see why is it so important to know how to secure windows and explore best practices for the same.
Did you know that the word ‘window’ comes from the Old Norse word ‘vindauga’ that means wind eye? In another interesting turn of phrase, the Old English word for windows meant eye-hole or eye-door.
An essential component in your home for proper lighting and ventilation, windows were first used by the Romans. They are also credited with creating the world’s earliest glass windows by adapting glass-blowing techniques from Egypt.
In Asia, the window styles favored lighter wooden frames fitted with greased paper windows.
It’s exciting to learn about the history of windows, isn’t it? While we may take them for granted today, it took a lot of time, effort, and improvement to evolve windows to their current state.
In this article, I will teach you how to secure windows and also explain specific strategies. For instance, we will explore how to secure a broken window, how to secure jalousie windows, and how to secure basement windows, etc.
The Importance of Knowing How to Secure Windows
Wake up in the morning, and the first sight that greets your eyes is the sun shining outside your window.
Windows are one of the key features in a home that help connect it to the outside world, keeping us safe from the external elements while filling our homes with sunshine, warmth, and laughter.
So, while windows let in positivity and productivity, they sometimes also let in unwanted guests.
According to an article in Forbes Advisor, nearly 2.5 million burglaries occur in the United States every year, 66% of which are home break-ins. Approximately 23% of these burglaries involve perps entering homes via windows.
As an experienced home security expert, I have seen several home invasions where the thieves have left the front door intact, finding it much easier to enter a home through an unlatched or open window.
Here are some more facts to show you the importance of implementing home window security:
As you can gather from the above information, it’s crucial to know how to secure windows from break in.
In this article, we will explore various strategies for the same, including how to secure windows without bars and how to secure double hung windows.
How to Secure Windows Against a Break-In
You can secure your home against burglars by locking your windows diligently. You can either dust off your toolkit and make these adjustments yourself or hire professionals to do it for you.
- Install Sturdy Window Locks If you have been looking for how to secure windows without bars, then window locks will be your best friend.
Use high-quality, sturdy locks to fasten your sashes to the main window frame and keep them closed. Given the high number of cases where robbers enter through an unsecured window, I would say that adding locks will reduce your chance of a break-in by at least 75%.
Here are the different types of locks you can use to secure your windows:
- Sash locks use a lever system to secure all types of windows. The lever is attached to the window and fixed into a locking mechanism screwed into the window frame. I would suggest getting a keyed sash lock for extra strength. You can get a sash lock for under $10 on Amazon.
- Pin locks are screwed into the window frames and allow you to open your window to a certain extent for fresh air while still keeping them secure. These are best for sliding windows and are available online.
- Track locks can be fixed into the tracks of sliding windows and can be tightened or loosened to keep them completely shut or partially opened. These are also great for windows with ACs. I would suggest that you buy metal track locks instead of plastic ones.
- A Bar lock consists of a metal bar inserted between the window frame and the sliding or single hung window sash to obstruct the window sash from moving.
The metal bar can stop a window from opening at all or be shortened to open it slightly as required. You can get these bars at your local hardware store or buy them online.
- Stop locks or hinged wedge locks are installed in-between the frames of single and double-hung windows to keep them from opening. These are some of the most user-friendly window locks as they engage automatically when you close your window shut. I would recommend getting these if you tend to forget to lock your windows at night.
- If you are searching for how to secure double hung windows, you can consider using a locking pin that goes through one sash and into the other to prevent burglars from opening it. These locking pins can be drilled into the window frame or operated using special keys.
Apply Anti-Theft Security Film
Just like in the case of French doors, the glass panes in your windows represent the weakest point in your security system.
Many burglars try to avoid smashing the glass as it creates a sound, but it’s also one of the easiest ways to break into your house. I have reviewed multiple break-ins where the perps smashed the window glass or cut it out of the frame using professional tools and undid the latch on the inside to ransack the property.
The solution is clear, either get unbreakable glass for your windows or apply an anti-theft or shatterproof window security film.
The film is almost invisible and is applied to the inside of your glass to keep it from shattering. The burglar will try to smash the glass and even crack it, but the glass will remain intact, denying him entry.
Integrate Window or Glass Break Alarms
Did you know that according to the FBI, 83% of burglars check for an alarm system before attempting a break-in?
Alarms that go off when someone attempts to break open your window or shatter your window glass will not just alarm you (pun intended) to the presence of intruders but also spook the burglars, too. I would say these systems are a must to properly secure your home.
Add Floodlights or Motion-Sensor Lights
Speaking of scaring burglars, most thieves avoid breaking into homes with well-lit doorways and windows.
Adding smart floodlights to your outdoors, especially over your doors and windows is a great way to deter robbers even when you are not there as they can be set up to switch on and off automatically.
Using motion-sensor lights is a step ahead as the lights are triggered the moment any intruders step near your door or window, alerting you to their presence and spooking the burglars, too. Try this one out, especially if you have been at loss about how to secure basement windows.
Position Outdoor Security Cameras
Outdoor security cameras with live feed and reporting immediately capture and flag any suspicious activity at your doors or windows to prevent a burglary in real-time.
In my opinion, having a home security system with both indoor and outdoor cameras is a must for every household. Though you do need to know where are the best places to put security cameras around the house.
Even if it’s not enough to stop a robbery or break-in, it can provide crucial evidence to nail the culprits.
If you are searching for a trustworthy home security system, Ring has one of the most reliable professional monitoring systems out there.
Reinforce Upper-Floor Windows
Upper-floor windows are another major blind spot in home security. Most people will secure their first-floor doors and windows but completely forget about their upper ones.
Yet, upper floor windows are among the top 3 entry points for burglars, especially if there are any climbable trees or structures like a garage or tool shed next to the house.
My advice would be to trim any tree branches near your bathroom and bedroom windows and to install indoor locks on all your windows, particularly on the upper floors.
Install a Window Security Mesh
While adding security bars to your windows is a great way to burglar-proof your windows, most people feel it spoils their aesthetics.
Additionally, adding metal security bars or grills to your windows can be a major fire hazard as they can block your exit in case of an emergency like a fire or earthquake.
I would recommend checking your state, city, and area fire codes before installing any security bars or grills at home.
Coming back to the question of how to secure windows without bars?
A window security screen is a fine mesh of stainless steel that can be installed on either side of your current window openings and protects your homes from swarms of bees, mosquitos, and even two-legged invaders.
High-quality screens come with high tensile strength and allow you to keep your home well-ventilated and secure at the same time.
Subtler in design than your standard security bars, these screens blend into the background without marring the beauty of your home and windows.
How to Secure Jalousie Windows
Jalousie windows are a great feature in any home. Sleek and stylish, they not only enhance the beauty of a space but also connect provide you with an unhindered view of the outdoors, letting in plenty of sunlight and fresh air.
These windows are a great way to keep your washrooms dry and fresh but are also an easy target for burglars as the glass panes can be easily lifted out of their brackets from the outside.
A simple way to resolve this issue is to use transparent epoxy and use it to fix the glass panes in their brackets at both ends.
Or you can get stainless steel Jalousie window security clips that snap onto the glass panes near the brackets and to prevent their removal when the panes are closed. Or you can secure these windows by installing a security mesh.
How to Secure Sliding Windows
Sliding windows, much like sliding doors are a great aesthetic feature in any home, but can also turn into a major security concern. So, it’s important to know how to secure sliding glass windows in your home.
While they do offer picturesque views of your yard and garden, letting in plenty of fresh air and sunlight; their simple structure and rather large sashes also present potential thieves with a window of opportunity straight into your home.
I will discuss sliding windows in detail later; however, for now, let’s see how to make windows more secure:
Use Screws or Washers
You can insert metal screws or washers into the upper track of your sliding window; just make sure to keep them adjustable.
The goal is to still let the sliding sash function while preventing someone from lifting it out of the frame or opening the movable sash from the outside.
Install a Dowel or Charley Bar
I know most of you are searching for how to secure windows without bars, but how about using a movable bar instead?
Inserting a dowel or bar between the window frame and the movable sash is one of the simplest ways to prevent your sliding window from being pried open.
All you need to do is fashion a wooden dowel that fits between the sliding window and the jamb.
If DIY is not your thing, you can also use a commercial product like a Charley Bar Lock. When going for a commercial bar, opt for an adjustable one that allows you to reduce the bar length and crank open the window for ventilation as required.
Opt for Key Track Stops
These locks are great for double-hung sliding windows and are fixed onto the slider tracks. They can be adjusted to close the windows completely or crank them open to a certain extent.
Secure Your Sashes with a Locking Pin
A locking pin can be screwed into the upper and lower sashes of double-hung windows to stop intruders from sliding them open.
Now that we have covered sliding windows, let’s see how to secure basement windows.
Why It’s Important to Secure Basement Windows
Basement windows are notoriously popular among burglars as they are blocked from view by a hedge or shrubs, poorly lit, and often ignored by homeowners.
At the same time, these rather large windows provide an easy entry point for prospective thieves and burglars.
Many basement windows even have window wells that provide ample space for the burglar to hide in; this way they can wait for the family to leave or go to sleep before breaking in.
After seeing why it’s so crucial to properly lock and fasten the windows in your cellar, here are my expert tips on how to secure basement windows:
Install Security Grills and Screens
Adding a security bar grill or even a stainless steel screen to your basement windows can help you sleep much better at night.
The aesthetics do not matter so much with your basement windows as they are not a prominent feature of your home. However, this does not mean that you cannot go for designer versions that elevate your exteriors while protecting your windows.
If you are adamant about finding out how to secure windows without bars, keep reading.
Apply Shatterproof Security Film
Whether you are a glass-half-full or half-empty kind of a person, you need to protect the glass panes in your basement windows from being shattered by robbers.
All you need to do to achieve this is apply a layer of shatterproof security film on the inner surface of your windows. Alternatively, you can also use tempered or laminated glass in your windows to prevent burglars from getting in.
Use Sliding Bolt Latches
One of the simplest ways to keep your basement windows secure is to screw in a good, old sliding latch on the inside and latch them firmly to the window frame and even wall. You can easily get a pair of these latches on Amazon for under $10.
Be Vigilant with Landscaping
Most basement windows are below ground level and offer a great hiding spot for burglars and thieves.
The best way to combat this is to be vigilant with your landscaping and clear out or trim any nearby shrubs and bushes. The principle is simple, the more visible your basement window is, the less appealing it is to potential burglars. It’s a smart and affordable solution to the problem of how to secure basement windows.
Add Outdoor Lights with Motion-Sensor Technology
I strongly recommend placing powerful spotlights or motion-sensor lights over your basement windows to deter any invasion attempts. Once the lights go on, they alert you to the presence of an intruder while also scaring him away.
So, now that we have explored how to secure basement windows, here are some extra security tips from a pro.
Pro-Tips On How to Burglar Proof Windows
Secure Window ACs
Throughout my career, I have seen several instances where robbers have removed the window air-conditioner to enter homes. Securing your window AC in place should be a part of your game plan on how to burglar proof windows.
The trick is to secure your window AC firmly in place by using brackets and braces during installation. You can also add metal or plastic flaps to cover up any extra space between the air-conditioning unit and the window frame.
Plant Thorny Shrubs Outside Your Windows
It may sound silly, but you can prepare an unpleasant surprise for your unwanted guest by planting prickly hedges, dense evergreens, evergreen shrubs, and thorny climbers outside your windows. The thorns will not just surprise any intruders but may also alert you to their presence as they shout out in surprise or pain.
Apply a Home Security Decal
Taking another leaf out of the book on how to burglar proof windows, you can apply a home security decal on your window glass.
This warns the burglars that you have a robust security system and discourages intruders from attempting a burglary.
Install a Smart Home Security System:
As a home security expert, I cannot stress enough the importance of getting an updated home security system for your house.
People will spend thousands of dollars on interior design, and getting fancy furnishings for their home, but often turn stingy when it comes to spending on security. The same goes for buying the latest smart home control devices and yet failing to sync them with a smart surveillance and security system for your home.
A comprehensive home security system with a doorbell alarm, motion-sensor outdoor lights, and well-placed security cameras is a must for any home in my opinion.
Now, let’s look at some commonly asked questions on how to make windows secure:
Q1. What is the safest window?
While there are multiple windows that you can install in your home, casement windows are the most secure in terms of design. There are two main types:
- Type A casement windows are hinged on the side and crank open outwards.
- Type B windows are hinged at the top and crank open upwards.
As their hinges lie on the inside, these windows can only be opened from the inside and cannot be pried open using a crowbar. If properly latched and locked, these are the most reliable windows to keep your home secure as they cannot be cranked from the outside.
Q2. How to secure windows from the inside?
Answer – The best way to secure windows from the inside is to make sure to latch and lock them properly on the inside before going to bed or in the morning before you head out for the day.
I cannot tell you how many break-ins I have investigated that happened just because the homeowner had forgotten to close a window or to lock it properly.
Q3. How to secure a broken window?
Answer – You should ideally replace or repair a broken window as soon as possible. However, if you are unable to get to it immediately, here are a few tips to help you secure it in the meantime.
You can use glue, nail paint, or epoxy to fill up any small cracks. The aim is to seal any exposed portions that may make it easier for an intruder to open the window or break the glass further.
In case of a larger crack, apply clear packing tape to secure the full length of the crack. Just keep in mind that the length of the applied tape should be longer than the crack at both ends to keep it from widening.
These are temporary fixes for how to secure a broken window, I would recommend carrying out permanent repairs at the earliest.
Pro-Tip: Use a toothbrush to brush away any tiny glass splinters before starting your repair work to avoid cutting yourself
When it comes to home security, a sound strategy combines vigilance with smart technology and sturdy locks. I hope that this article will help you protect your home and family.
I hope I was able to satisfy most of your doubts on how to secure windows from break in.
If you have any more questions about how to secure windows or need more tips, feel free to post your questions below.
I have been a security guy throughout my life. For the last 30 years, I have been making homes safer and hence, putting people at ease. Even on the other side of age, I get fascinated by how technology and simple hacks can make a whole lot of difference to the overall security of the house.