If you’re a property owner or manager, it’s realistic to think that, at some point, your property will become vacant for an extended period of time.
And one of the best ways to safeguard your vacant property is by blocking off any entry points that may be accessed by vandals, thieves and squatters.
Blocking these entry points is commonly referred to as ‘boarding up’, regardless of whether your chosen material is, in fact, wooden board. Nowadays, you also have the option of utilising steel security screens instead of timber or plywood boards/OSB (Oriented Strand Board) – which can present numerous security benefits for your vacant property.
In this post, we compare the two: steel and plywood, to help aid your decision process for selecting the appropriate security provision for your empty property.
Read on to find out more…
Steel Vs Plywood For Your Empty Property: The Question Of Cost
Yes, plywood may have a cheaper upfront cost*.
But does it mean that plywood is the most cost-effective option?
You won’t be surprised to hear that plywood boards just aren’t as strong as steel screens, obviously making your property much more vulnerable to break-ins.
At this point, you should question,
How much would a break-in cost me?
The cost of damage and repairs may far outweigh the additional cost of steel screens. Vandalism in the way of arson, wastage through continued squatter usage, damage to fixed appliances, the list goes on.
If you own a vacant commercial property such as a shop, for example, the potential for damage – and costs associated with this – increases.
*You may be surprised to know that steel isn’t much more expensive than plywood. Talk to us about pricing.
Steel Vs Plywood For Your Void Property: Fixing Methods
The effectiveness of your ‘boarding up’ method – whether steel or plywood – will rely largely on the way in which it’s fixed to a door/window frame.
Plywood will most-likely be screwed into the frame using standard Philips-head screws. As you can imagine, this makes it easy for intruders to remove the boarding via standard methods.
In contrast, steel screens are fixed in place with anti-tamper screws – making it impossible to unscrew via an ‘off-the-shelf’ screwdriver or drill. This method is commonly referred to as ‘anti-tamper fixings’.
Steel Vs Plywood For Your Vacant Property: Material Properties
When you pit them against each other, steel possesses far stronger material properties. Constructed with 1.5mm thick steel – and made to measure – your property will benefit from virtually impenetrable seals, meaning it is far less likely to be subjected to the risks highlighted above.
Let’s not forget that wood is also highly combustible. Each year in the UK, there are around 9,000 fires in unoccupied buildings, which suggests that wood may not be the best material to utilise when securing your vacant property.
In contrast, steel is a non-combustible material. It won’t add or aid a fire in your vacant property – making the chances of damage by fire far less likely.
No fire damage = increased savings.
Empty Property Security: Steel Vs Plywood/OSB At A Glance
To give you a clear comparison, we’ve highlighted some key points to consider when deciding between steel and plywood/OSB.
1. Solid and impenetrable.
2. Gives the strong message that the building’s security has not been compromised – especially when warning signage is also fitted.
3. Galvanised steel screens do not degrade or discolour in adverse weather conditions.
4. Anti-tamper fixings, which cannot be removed by anyone with a screwdriver – once they’re on, they stay on.
5. Perforated, galvanised steel window security screens maintain ventilation throughout the property and allow plenty of light in to aid inspections and safe viewings.
Combined, this makes for a very happy insurance company.
1. Can be damaged, removed or set on fire
2. Looks like security has been taken less seriously and is more appealing to criminals as a result – and warning signs just add insult to injury.
3. Plywood and OSB degrades over time and can warp/weaken in adverse weather conditions – and it doesn’t look great when it’s brand new either.
4. Wood is usually fitted with Philips screws or hex bolts – enabling anyone with a screwdriver or spanner to remove it!
5. No perforated options for safe ventilation or viewing/inspection light sources – although criminals can make holes with tools or their boots.
Combined, this makes for a very nervous insurance company.
You’ve probably noticed that this post is a little biased – but we make no apologies for this. When it comes to security for your vacant property, steel wins every time.
Steel wins, criminals (and plywood) lose.
If you’d like to discuss your vacant property with a trusted advisor here at Secure Site UK, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.