When you own or manage a property that is going to be vacant for a longer period, one of your first concerns is likely to be how to secure the building’s openings, such as the windows and doors.
When it comes to ‘boarding up’ your vacant property, Steel is the favoured material because of its strength, durability, non-combustibility, and general security qualities. Yet, as we will cover, the quality of steel varies if you don’t carefully select your security provider.
In this blog, you’ll find out how you can maximise vacant property security with steel to keep squatters out.
Continue reading to learn more…
Vacant Property Security: Steel Vs Wood
You have the option of using either wood or steel to ‘board up’ your vacant property. Temporary glazing companies frequently use timber or wooden boarding since its more widely available, simple to install, and acceptable as a short-term solution. However, wood is a temporary fix and isn’t recommended for long-term boarding.
Wood is usually held in place by Phillips-head screws, and anyone with a basic set of tools can simply remove it and gain access to a vacant property.
Boarding Up With Steel
When compared to wood, steel has considerably superior material qualities. Your vacant property will benefit from practically impenetrable seals since they are cut to measure out of a minimum of 1.5mm thick steel. This means it will be significantly less likely to yield to break-in threats.
Steel also gives a strong message that the property’s security has not been compromised – especially when warning signage is also fitted.
Risk Of Arson In Vacant Properties
There are over 9,000 fires in abandoned properties in the United Kingdom each year.
Your insurance company will most likely require the removal of all combustible materials inside the property, as well as within 10 metres of it outside, to decrease vacant property risks. So putting wood on the vulnerable windows isn’t going to help you comply with the insurance obligations…
When all of this is considered, the slightly higher upfront cost of steel screens pales in comparison to the expense of property damage or, more concerning, the cost of squatters targeting your property.
Steel, on the other hand, is the preferred material when the property will be vacant for an extended period due to its strength and durability.
And, of course, steel is a non-combustible material so it will not add fuel to the fire at your vacant property, reducing the risk of fire damage.
No fires = avoid spending money on the damage
Steel Boarding Up: Anti-Tamper Fixtures
Steel screening uses anti-tamper fixtures, this means that the removal of these window screens will require the use of restricted access specialist tools.
These are tools that are not available to the general public and therefore not readily available to petty criminals that may try to break into vacant properties.
Impacts Of Boarding Up Your Vacant Property With Low-Quality Steel or Timber
Low-quality steel security can be described as ‘off-cuts,’ and these offcuts can be significantly thinner than purpose-built steel.
When off-cuts are used to secure your building’s apertures, there’s a chance the steel won’t fit well and may not go all the way to the edge of the windows/doors. This creates areas of weakness where commonly available tools like crowbars may be used to pry it off.
Poor quality steel security and timber plywood boarding, will not be as secure as high-quality steel security, as you can see in the images below, examples of how-to and how not to secure your vacant property.
Timber Boarding Patchwork Steel Screens Steel Security Screens
At the very least, we recommend steel screens that are custom cut to the size of the opening(s) and are 1.5mm thick.
Boarding up with steel is best to increase security for properties that are vacant for a long time.
To summarise steel security screening is:
- Solid and impenetrable.
- Secured with anti-tamper fixings, which cannot be removed by anyone with a screwdriver – once they’re on, they stay on.
- For maximum security, use steel screens that are custom cut to the size of your openings
If you’d like to find out more about boarding up, contact an expert today.