Home remodels on any scale are always exciting. When finished, you come away not only with a new look and new functionality, but a room or home that was designed specifically with your hopes and dreams in mind. What’s not to love?
But while fantasizing about skylights and heated floors, it’s easy to lose sight of another key part of a remodeling project: security. Remodeling can be an opportunity to make your house safer and more secure. When the point is forgotten, it can leave major gaps in the security of your home. Of course, there’s also the fact that security takes a huge hit during the remodel process itself.
Before you undertake that home remodeling project, here are some things to think about to ensure your own peace of mind.
Remodeling with future security in mind.
Remodeling is a great opportunity to improve the security of your home, but this usually only happens if you move forward with that specific intention. Here are some aspects of security to think about when planning a remodeling project.
Make sure new doors enhance security, rather than detract from it.
Secure doors should be built from a strong material, and either be without windows or have windows that are small and more than an arm’s length from the locks and doorknobs. Installing additional storm doors can also improve security.
The lack of eye-level windows means that a peephole is an essential security feature, allowing you to quickly see outside and tell whether any people on your doorstep are familiar faces stopping by to say hello or someone trying to break in. If there are people in your home who are smaller or use a wheelchair, make sure that you have a peephole installed that is usable from their level.
A mail slot is also an often-overlooked security feature, as it hides the accumulation of mail if you go away for a few days. And of course, a good lock and deadbolt are key features when it comes to home security. Don’t forget them in your excitement to think about colors and ornamental features!
Take care to ensure that new windows are also secure
Not all windows are equal when it comes to home security. Double and single-hung windows, while providing a classic look, also tend to be less secure. Sliding windows, if properly maintained, are less easy to open from the outside. Even safer are casement windows, the type that open using a crank from the inside of the home.
Of course, homeowner associations, historical districts, and other organizations may have restrictions on the type of windows you can choose. Luckily, any type of window can be made more secure with the judicious use of locks. There are different kinds of locks that work best with certain kinds of windows, including swivel locks for hung windows and cam locks on sliding windows. Locks requiring a key to open them are the most secure. And of course, the classic latch works on almost any type of window.
If you live in an area where break-ins are a regular concern, it’s worth looking into metal window bars. There are options that are quite decorative so that they don’t look quite as prisonlike as the image many people imagine when they think about barred windows. If appearances are an issue, it can still sometimes make sense to bar basement windows, which can be disguised with a little creative landscaping. (Roses and other thorny plants double as both attractive cover and discouragement to thieves.) Glass block is also an option for improving basement window security.
Make sure your new features are integrated with your existing security system.
If you have alarms, make sure that your new windows or doors are wired for them. Check to make sure that you’re not blocking the line of sight of any security cameras. If you use motion-activated lighting, make sure that it works at any new entrances. Don’t let an addition subtract from all the hard work you’ve put towards keeping your home secure.
Thinking about security while you’re remodeling is ongoing.
Remodels also mean a period of time where much of your standard security goes right out the window. Strangers coming and going? Systems on and off again? Giant holes in the wall? Here are some ideas for keeping trouble out even as your new look comes in.
Know who is coming into your home.
This doesn’t just mean that you know your plumber’s name is Tim. It means you know Tim’s background, his professional memberships, how long he’s been working in the area, and who else he’s worked for in the past. It means you know who Tim’s assistant is and how long they’ve been working together. Referrals from trusted friends are one of the safest ways to choose a contractor or business to come into your home.
If you have one person you’ve used before and trust, you can always ask them for advice. Tradespeople with different areas of expertise often work together and know right away who they would recommend for a particular job.
Control how and when people come into your space.
Simply leaving your house unlocked all day while people come and go is definitely not a smart decision, from a security perspective. There are a few safer alternatives. One is to make copies of your keys for those who need them for the duration of the remodel, then to change the locks as soon as the project is over. Another option is to use a lock system with a key code. You can give the code to the pertinent individuals, and change it once they no longer need access. (This is especially easy if your home has an attached garage with a keypad system already installed.) If you would prefer to know exactly who is in your house at any time, you can install a remote locking system. In this case, people phone you when they need access to the home, and you unlock it via your mobile device, then lock it again once they have finished work for the day. Of course, this is only a viable option if you are reachable at all times. Surgeons, for example, might want to spring for a more low-tech version.
Use cameras to keep an eye on your surroundings.
Unfortunately, there are some aspects of a home remodeling project that is inherently less secure. Going for a period of time without all your doors, windows, or even walls puts your home at risk. While it’s a good idea to keep valuables locked up or in a storage facility during this time, there is no substitute for security cameras. Cameras can keep an eye on things not only while people are working on your home, but also when you run errands in the evening or at night when you’re asleep. They can also be invaluable if someone becomes injured on your property while it’s in a state of disarray.
Ultimately, the goal of a remodeling project is a better house.
And the best house is one that is beautiful, functional, and does all it can to protect the people you love.
Contact Lakeside Renovation & Design Today
Contact Lakeside Renovation & Design today for a free consultation.