If you’re a property owner or manager, from time to time it’s fair to expect your property to be vacant for a lengthy period of time at some point, especially if you are redeveloping it and awaiting planning or preparing it for sale.
One of the best ways to protect your vacant property is to physically secure any entry points that vandals, thieves, or squatters could use.
Regardless of your selected material, securing these access locations is usually referred to as ‘boarding up.’
Nowadays, instead of using wood or plywood boards/OSB (Oriented Strand Board), steel security screens are regarded as the best option, as steel security provides several benefits for your vacant property.
In this blog, we compare the two: steel and plywood, to help you opt for the best material for your vacant property…
Steel Vs Plywood: Material Properties
When compared to other materials, steel has considerably superior material qualities. Your property will benefit from a much more robust solution that becomes practically impenetrable. Steel is cut to size similarly to timber, generally from a minimum of 1.5mm galvanised steel, which does not rust!! This means it will be significantly less likely to be vulnerable to attacks.
Not to mention the fact that wood is extremely combustible. There are over 9,000 fires in abandoned properties in the United Kingdom each year, suggesting that wood may not be the greatest material to use for safeguarding your vacant property.
Steel, on the other hand, is a non-combustible material. It will not add to or aid a fire in your vacant property, reducing the risk of fire damage.
No fire damage = Reduced liability
Boarding Up Costs – Steel Vs Plywood
Out of the two, plywood is a marginally cheaper option. Does this mean that plywood is an effective material?
Plywood boards aren’t nearly as strong as steel screens, making your vacant property far more vulnerable to break-ins.
However, you have to ask yourself “What would the cost of a break-in be?”
The additional expense of steel screens may be significantly outweighed by the cost of damage and repairs. Vandalism in the form of arson, loss of use as a result of squatter invasion, copper and metal theft and the subsequent damage to fixed appliances.
When you own a vacant commercial property, such as an office, shop or factory, the risk of damage – and the costs that come with it – increases.
*You might be shocked to learn that steel isn’t all that expensive.
The Fitting Of Steel Vs Plywood
The manner you fasten your ‘boarding up’ method – whether steel or plywood – to a door/window frame will determine how successful it is.
Standard Philips-head screws will most likely be used to secure the plywood to the frame or any number of so-called security fixings that can be purchased at almost any DIY store. As you can expect, this makes it simple for intruders to remove the boards using conventional means.
Steel screens, on the other hand, are secured with anti-tamper screws that are impossible to remove with a standard screwdriver or drill, these anti-tamper fixings are not available to the general public, improving fixing security tenfold, Anti-tamper fixing is a term used to describe this procedure.
A Summary Of Both Material
For a clear comparison, we’ve summarised both materials:
Screens Made Of Steel
- Impenetrable solid and non-combustible.
- Sends a strong message that the building is secure and actively managed – particularly when warning signs are also installed.
- Galvanised steel screens don’t corrode when exposed to the elements.
- Anti-tamper fasteners that can’t be removed with a screwdriver — once installed, they don’t come off.
- Perforated, galvanised steel window security screens keep the property ventilated while letting plenty of light in for inspections and safe viewings.
Combined, this makes for a very happy insurance company.
- Can be harmed, removed, or burned.
- It appears that security is being taken less seriously, which makes it more enticing to criminals — and warning signs only add salt to injury.
- Plywood and OSB deteriorate over time and can warp/weaken in extreme weather – and they don’t look great when they’re new either.
- Philips screws or hex bolts are commonly used to secure wood, allowing anyone with a screwdriver or spanner to remove it!
- There are no perforated choices for safe ventilation or viewing/inspection light sources, despite the fact that criminals can punch holes in the walls with tools or their boots.
Combined, this makes for a very nervous insurance company.
It’s easy to see why boarding up your abandoned property is such an important step. However, depending on the material you use, your results will vary significantly. Steel is the best option for peace of mind, and it might save you hundreds in the long run.
Wireless CCTV, concrete barriers, and licenced security guards are some more possibilities for vacant property security. These supply the responsiveness you require when employed holistically, alleviating the stress of anti-social behaviour, arson, fly-tipping, trespassing, and squatting.
If you’d like to learn more about boarding up, get in touch with a professional right now.