Top 5 Easy Ways to Secure a Window With a Broken Lock


A window with a broken lock can be an easy entrance point for criminals. It can seriously jeopardize the security of your home or any place for that matter, especially in case of ground floor windows.

But there’s no reason to panic. There are many security upgrades that can bolster your defenses. Here are 10 effective ways to secure a window with a broken lock.

1. Window bars/grilles

The simplest and most effective security option for windows are tough metal bars/grilles. People sometimes avoid them due to appearance, but there are obviously some very nice choices like the ones shown in the photo above.

Unless the criminal is able to pull the bars off or cut through them, it will be impossible to even reach the window, let alone check if the lock is working or not. Which makes having or not having a lock pretty much irrelevant with a good set of metal grilles on top.

However, in case the bars get removed or cut through you’ll still want some other locking mechanism in place, like a window barricade.

2. Window barricades (for sliding windows)

There are many ways to lock a window without a standard lock. The easiest option is to barricade it from the inside. This is a really effective solution for sliding windows, especially horizontally sliding ones. But it can also work with some vertically sliding windows, depending on the design.

You can use a simple window/door security bar (link to Amazon) to block the sliding window panel from moving.

Or you can use the Burglar Bar (link to Amazon) which is super affordable and works in the same way. Both are simple and effective options that require no installation. They’re also great travel companions that you can use to secure any sliding window.

If you don’t want to spend any money on professional security devices, you can make a security bar of your own. This home-made bar will work well for vertically sliding windows. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Measure the window track the window slides open upon.
  2. Apply this measurement to a 1-inch diameter wooden dowel. Then cut the dowel along this line with a handsaw. It can be slightly shorter but don’t make it any longer because it won’t fit in.
  3. Set the dowel in the window track when the window is closed

For non-sliding windows however, you may want to invest in a new standard lock or just install tough window bars.

3. Secure double-hung windows with nails

Double-hung windows can be a bit more difficult to secure. The barricades mentioned before might also work, but it can depend on the design of the window.

But as far as DIY solutions goes, the best one involves drilling a few holes and securing the panels with nails. This is how you do it:

  1. Mark the top corner of the bottom window sash with a pencil. Do it on each side. The position you’ve marked should be such that the drilled holes penetrate through the window sash and into the lower corners of the top window sash. But they shouldn’t intersect with the glass. That’s highly important.
  2. With marks in place, use a power drill to drill a 3/16-diameter hole through both window sashes. The hole should penetrate both the bottom and top window sash, but they shouldn’t go all the way through to the other side. You don’t want to create a gaping hole on the other side.
  3. Place a 4-inch nail into each hole. The nail will go through the bottom sash and into the top sash. So the window will be secured as long as the nail is there. If you want to open the window, pull out the nails and set them aside. When you want to close the window again, put them back in. Voila! You’ve just created your very own window lock in a few minutes.

4. Window security film

Even if your window is properly secured with a barricade or a lock, criminal can still smash the glass panels. That’s how most window break-ins happen. A glass panel is smashed in order to unlock the window from the inside or climb through the smashed window without even unlocking it.

So if you’re serious about securing your window, the next step involves strengthening the glass panels. Luckily there’s a really easy and affordable way to do it – security film. This is a more or less thick, self adhesive vinyl and plastic material. It’s typically placed on the interior part of the window glass panels (in the room).

If someone tries to break the glass from the outside, the security film keep the shards in place. Some security films are even shatterproof and bullet proof.

The price often reflects the thickness and the quality of the film. But not always. If you’re interested in bolstering your glass panels, check out my full guide on window security film where I break down the best ones (metaphorically). It also features a video installation tutorial with clear instructions.

5. Use an alarm device

There are many cheap but fully effective alarm devices for windows. Regardless of whether your window is unlocked, an alarm will scare away most thieves. If not, at least you and your neighbors will be alerted by it and able to respond quickly to the danger.

If you don’t have any alarm in place, I recommend getting a simple battery-run window alarm (link to Amazon) you can stick onto the window surface. Use the on/off switch to turn it on and off at any time. If any significant vibration occurs on the window, the alarm will get triggered and produce 120 dB of noise.

Final Word: How to Secure a Window Without a Lock

If your window has a broken lock or didn’t have one in the first place, the security of your home is severely jeopardized. Even if you make the best effort to secure all other entry points, a major weakness like that can leave you exposed to intruders and thieves.

As I’ve presented in this article, there are plenty of professional security devices (window grilles, barricades, security film, alarms..) that can greatly enhance the security of a window with a broken lock. Some like a security bar are also fairly easy to make, by using basic items like a piece of wood and a handsaw.

Hope this helps! Check out my 43 home security tips to learn about more ways to secure your home. Or simply browse the website and find the specific answer you’re looking for.

Peter Boné

Chief editor of Security Latest with 5 years of real security work experience. I'm also a family man with wife and two sons. When I'm not turning homes into fortresses, the Boné family is usually on the Nintendo or on California's best hiking trails.

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