In this article we’ll address two main points:
- Best garage doors for security
- Garage door security weaknesses and how to address them
According to TheZebra Statistics, three break-ins occur every minute in the US. That makes a total of 2.5 million break-ins every year. Plus, half of these break-ins occur in homes.
According to the FBI, more than a million burglaries are committed in the US every year. An estimated total of $3.4 billion of personal properties is lost in these events. Average loss from a burglary is approximately $3000.
Taking these numbers into account, all homeowners should be taking the security of their property very seriously.
Most Common Break-In Points
The most common points of entry for home break-ins are as follows:
- Front door — 34% of burglars twist the doorknob and walk right in.
- First-floor windows — 23% use a first-floor open window to break into your home.
- Back door — 22% come in through the back door.
- Garage doors — 85% of the burglars enter the house through garage door if it is attached to the house.
Why Are Garages at Risk of a Break-In
Most people take some security measures for the front door and windows of their home, but they forget completely about the garage door. Walking past your garage on a Saturday afternoon, a burglar can easily eye the power tools you take in and out of your garage. You might be working on a house project, too busy to pay attention to who passes by.
The only way for a burglar to enter the garage is through the door, so securing it is the top priority. Burglars have an eye out for the type of garage door you have. They will notice if your garage door is sturdy and strong enough to sustain a break-in attempt.
They might use brute force to break into a garage that has an older door. More likely however, they will look for an above-door gap that will allow them to access the emergency release mechanism with a wire in order to open the door.
Keep reading for tips on making your garage door safe. But we won’t stop there, we will also give you a list of the best garage doors for security reasons.
Key Security Features in a Garage Door
Older models of garage doors were manufactured with limited locking systems. Thankfully, modern doors are often manufactured with a security-first mindset. Here are the main features to consider:
- The steel garage doors are sturdy and robust. They also aren’t prone to rust like iron doors.
- A garage door with more than one internal lock is more secure. Modern garage doors typically have at least two-point locking systems. Many come with an option of adding even more.
- Many modern garage doors have a “Euro-profile cylindrical lock”. It is an additional lock in case the burglar manages to break the outer lock.
- The garage doors that use inter-locking rods instead of ropes are far more secure.
- Automated/ smart doors are more secure. They can’t be opened without the remote, no matter how hard the intruder tries. (Unless it’s a sci-fi thriller)
- Look for specific accreditations like “Secured By Design (SBD)” accreditation to decide which model is better from a security standpoint.
Best Garage Doors for Security
Let’s break down which garage door types are more secure. The following list mentions the most secure types from top to bottom.
1. Automated Garage Doors
The best garage door, security-wise, is of course an automated garage door. We will talk about the secure design types next.
Automated garage doors are quite common. Using a motorized system, an automated garage door opens and closes at the push of a button. Even more secure when the system uses a security code to operate.
Although they are a popular choice for the convenience of engaging the door while sitting inside the car, they are also a best choice to keep the burglars away.
With no visible lever or system outside the door, an automated garage door creates a “downward pull” on the springs inside. This generates a constant tension when the door is closed. The only way to release the tension is to engage the motorized system using the remote. Which means there is no means for intruders to open the door.
2. Roller Garage Doors
The best design choice for security? Roller garage doors. They fold up neatly overhead like roll-up blinds. Roller garage doors have no leverage points. So, they are one of the most secure types of garage doors. They are strong enough to keep intruders at bay just by looking at them.
Secure Design: Roller garage door comprises of compactly arranged horizontal slats. They roll up or down to open and close with the help of rollers on both sides. There is no space over or below the door where the thieves can insert a tool.
Key Features to Consider: The roller garage doors are secure with compact installation. Their secure design becomes 2x secure with double skin varieties. Quality matters. Be sure, not to compromise on quality. No amount of brute force can break a high quality double skinned roller door. Force is the only way to break in as there are no visible gaps.
Be proactive. Beat the thieves in their own game. Trying to break in a roller garage door, the intruder is most likely to attack the bottom slat. Pay attention to the bottom slats’ durability and strength when buying a roller garage door. Make sure there are no signs of damage on this part.
3. Sectional Garage Door With Pedestrian Access
Sectional garage doors are the most popular garage doors for residential use. They are one of the most secure types of garage doors. A well-installed sectional garage door wins half the battle by scaring a potential intruder away.
The pedestrian access door keeps the valuables in your garage away from the sight of lurking intruders. If they don’t have the eye on the prize, they would skip the house for an easier target, where they know what’s behind the door.
Secure Design: The sectional garage doors have a very secure design. The horizontal slabs form a tight seal of hinges when closed. There are no visible gaps for the burglars to plan an attack from. The hinges separate when the garage door opens. The two “sections” roll or slide up when the door is opened.
Key Features to Consider: The most secure and durable sectional garage door would be a steel framed one. Steel also doesn’t rust easily as iron and isn’t oxidized like aluminum.
When buying a sectional garage door, a simple key factor can help you make the right choice. The tighter the seal hinges form when a sectional door closes, the more secure it is. Again, you don’t want to leave any gaps for the burglars to insert a tool.
4. Up And Over Garage Doors
Like the name indicates. The up and over garage doors slide up and come to a stationary horizontal position over the garage. Unlike the sectional garage doors, they do not have slabs, rather consist of a single rigid piece.
Design Loophole: The up and over garage doors are an easy target for the burglars. They drill a hole through the door and access the locking mechanism. You have seen in the video above how they only use a coat hanger to pull the cord and open the door.
Key Features to Consider: The older designs of up and over garage doors have been revised and upgraded by garage door manufactures to overcome the loophole. If you’re thinking of buying a new up and over garage door, choose a modern version that has more secure features like multiple locking systems.
Do your research and find reputable garage door manufacturers for peace of mind, and look for the Secure By Design (SBA) Accreditation.
Once again, automated version of this door type may be a better option.
5. Side-Hinged Garage Doors
The side-hinged garage doors are popular for their looks. They are hinged on either sides and open like French doors. But they have been notorious for easy break-ins too.
Key Features to Consider: If the aesthetics of the garage doors are the key factor of your new purchase, you can make a more secure choice: choose side-hinged garage doors with multiple-point locking systems. Consider the materials that can stand brute force attacks. Strong steel frame and double skinned metal doors are the way to go.
Augment your garage door security with alarm systems and outdoor security cameras. Keep an eye out for any signs of damage. A stitch in time saves nine.
Safety Tips to Avoid a Garage Break-In
While it is impossible to guarantee that your garage won’t be broken into, there are some great safety tips to consider:
- Secure the garage door emergency release mechanism – The gap above the garage door can be used by a burglar to excess the opener with a wire, like a straightened coat hanger. The emergency release is often positioned in a way that makes it easy to access that way. You can protect this mechanism by using a zip tie. See how it’s done in this DIY video tutorial.
- Reduce social media posting— or at least posting about yourself. Most of the burglary victims are active on social media. They have reportedly been posting about their daily life or several times a week. Count downs to vacation or live videos from the beach shout out to burglars that no one’s at home. Avoid tagging your posts with your location. Sharing the vacation glamour shots can wait until you are back at home.
- Get insured. It is the best way to mitigate the loss from a break-in. Get your valuables covered. If you put away some irreplaceable items like a bicycle in your garage, consider bolting it down to the floor. Or install a security system too heavy for a burglar to run away with.
- Pay attention to your lawn. It may come to you as a surprise that landscaping can play a role in keeping your garage safe. Keeping the shrubs and trees trimmed can reduce the hiding spots for burglars. Avoid informing thieves that no one’s home by asking someone to mow your lawn when you go on a vacation.
- Install an alarm system on your garage door. Most burglars skip the garages with alarm systems. An alarm system with a 24/7 professional monitoring costs much less than average loss caused by a break-in. Moreover, some DIY systems start at as little as $200 for equipment. They come with professional monitoring plans that start from only $10 a month.
- Install a security camera. Sometimes, the only thing you will need is an outdoor security camera. It can (but not always) be enough to scare off a would-be intruder. The doorbell cameras that capture videos are another good way to keep riff raff off your property. They let the burglars know you’re watching.
- Don’t wait. It is easy to think that break-ins happen to other people. But it’s not true. It can happen to anyone. Protect yourself, your valuables, your pets and your family from emotional trauma and financial loss by acting now.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How likely is it that someone will break into my property?
If you have taken all the security measures, it is much less likely that your property will be broken into. Burglars do not like doing a lot of effort. However, they would not miss the tiniest opportunity.
The projection is that 75% of the homes in the US will be at risk of burglary in the next 20 years. The safety of neighborhood isn’t as important as the actual security measures you implement.
2. What times do most burglaries occur?
The 2019 FBI burglary data indicated that 45% of all reported burglaries occurred in the daytime while 39% did at night. However, this trend significantly changed in 2021. That’s when a survey reported 58% of the burglaries occured in the evening or overnight, whereas only 33% of the reports were from during the day.
The burglaries are more frequent during holidays. When Christmas is near, most burglars would break into houses to get their hands on the expensive items bought as Christmas presents. Another hot time for burglaries is summer. Our understanding is that the summer break-ins are more frequent because people are more out and about.
3. Can you put an alarm on the garage door to make it secure?
Yes. You can always attach an alarm sensor to a garage door. Such devices are known as alarm sensors for garage doors or garage door alarm sensors. They alert the alarm system if the garage door has been opened.
4. How can I scare burglars off?
There are certain deterrence measures that work quite well. These can help scare burglars off your property. They include:
- Secure doors
- Security Cameras
- Alarm Systems
- Well-lit Entrances
- Irregular Routines
- Closed Shutters/ Blinds
Here are 5 more excellent deterrence ideas to consider.
5. Can you upgrade an existing garage door?
Yes, a number of companies like The Garage Door Specialists and Bull Dog Doors and operators not only sell high quality doors but also service existing garage doors.
There are companies like Garage Door Services Inc. that not only have a variety of stylish secure doors but also repair old ones. You can even create your own design according to the overall look of your house exterior.