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The Flimsy Truth About Most Shed Locks & How to Secure Your Shed Doors and Windows

The Flimsy Truth About Most Shed Locks & How to Secure Your Shed Doors and Windows

Old Shed Doors

SO, YOU ARE READY to upgrade your shed's security after watching your neighbors' sheds being broken into over the last few weeks.

The last thing you want is to be the next one in line to lose your bikes and the rest of your gear.

I can totally relate to where you are at, last year several of my neighbors went through the same thing.

They got me to and stole three bikes, my ATV, and hundreds of dollars' worth of tools. My first step was to invest in upgrading the security of my shed. I started out by looking at the various types of shed locks on the market looking to find the best ones for my money.

Typical Problems Associated with Various Shed Locks

No Matter what type of shed lock you are looking at, each different style has its own share of problems.

It is far better for you to know exactly what you are up against before you rush out and invest in a lock that simply isn't going to get the job done. After all, what is the point in spending your hard earned money on a shed lock only to make it easy for a thief to break into your shed and steal your property?

When you start your journey into better shed security, there are a few things you need to consider beyond the lock itself. Only when you fully understand the groundwork will you be ready to set up the best possible shed locking system for your needs.

Here are a few things to consider that can save you time and most importantly of all, money.

1. What Is Your Shed Made Of?

The materials your shed is made from will have a major impact on the type of shed locks you can install and expect a certain amount of security from.

For example, if your shed is made from plastic, you may not be able to install a deadbolt, but a good well-secured hasp and padlock can offer plenty of security.

On the other hand, if you have a wood framed and sided shed, you can go all-out with a deadbolt/ locking door handle combination. The main point here is that no matter what type of lock you install, it will only be as good as the materials it is attached to.

rusty_lock

2. Humidity and Rain

If you live in an area where it rains a lot or suffers from high levels of humidity, you need to keep this in mind as you search for the right shed locks.

Cheap padlocks, door handle locks, and electronic locks can be seriously affected by water and humidity. Rusted lock cylinders can leave you with a lock that is either very hard to open or cannot be opened at all.

These locks also tend to freeze shut if you live where it snows or is extremely cold in the winter months.

3. Poor Quality Locks

If you are going to invest in some form of shed locks to protect your valuables, why would you even consider buying a cheap lock?

The idea behind a lock is not to just look pretty, it is to keep those people who covet what you have but don’t want to pay for it out. Even “top” brand name padlocks like Masterlock brand are only minimally effective if your shed and hasp setup are not up to snuff. In fact, many of these “top” brands are relatively easy to cut with a large pair of bolt cutters.

They might be “bullet proof” as their ads claim, but a determined thief with bolt cutters can slice right through the locking bar. Cheap locks are made with steel internal parts rather than stainless steel or brass, because of this they can and frequently do rust shut.

This renders them practically useless. Do yourself a favor and invest in good quality locks for your own peace of mind.

door_hasps

4. Hasps

A lock is only as good as the materials it is attached to. For example, if you are planning to use a hasp and padlock setup, you must use a top quality hasp.

This means one that cannot be cut with a pair of bolt cutters. It also means you need to use security bolts to firmly attach the hasp to the shed and shed door. You can use security screws, but these can be ripped out of wood door or frame with a pry bar.

By using bolts with a steel plate on the other side of the door will make it much harder to rip the hasp off of your shed.

5. Doors, Door Frames

Hollow core doors are practically useless when it comes to providing security for your shed.

Not only is it virtually impossible to install any form of lock that can’t be ripped out of the door, a dedicated crook can simply break through the door. You can reinforce the door lock area with a brass or steel plate, but again the rest of the door is easily destroyed.

Use a good solid wood door if you want real protection. Never cut corners by drilling the hole for the locking bar in the frame and not installing the metal plate that comes with it. Here again, this makes it much easier for a thief to break open your shed door.

What You Need to Know about the Various Types of Shed Locks

There are essentially six different types of door lock you can use to secure your shed, each of which has their own benefits and issues you should consider.

Long before you make your final choice, you need to be well-aware of the intended use of each lock and the types of doors and windows they can be used to secure.

Here is what I found out about these six popular forms of door lock to help you find the right one to secure your shed and everything in it.

master_lock_140D

Image Courtesy of Amazon

1. Padlocks

- The most common form of shed lock

People have been using padlocks to secure just about anything, including sheds since time in memorial. This, however, does not mean they are your best bet.

To start with, if you are going to use a padlock, you need to be sure the hasp is secured to the door and frame using security bolts or screws. Secondly, you need to buy a padlock that is virtually impossible to pick or cut through.

This is going to cost you a bit more than the average lock, but you will find your money well spent.

kwikset_deadbolts

Image by Amazon

2. Deadbolts

- A good way to secure your shed if you have the right shed

Deadbolts are typically found being used to secure homes, not sheds. But, they do have their uses if your shed has a solid door and strong frame.

Unlike a hasp and padlock setup, deadbolts do require precision installation and the right tools to install them. Once installed they are a relatively strong way to secure your shed.

Your best bet is to buy a deadbolt that requires a key on either side. The deadbolts with a twist knob can be opened by someone who has broken out a window and crawled inside your shed.

brinks_2706

Image Courtesy of Amazon

3. Door Handles with Built-in Locks

- Not the best way to secure your shed

Door handles that have their own built-in locks are great for bedroom doors or house doors with a deadbolt installed.

So, if you are going to install a door handle with a built-in lock, you should be prepared to install a deadbolt for added security. These locks range in price from cheap and ineffective too expensive and more effective.

Do yourself a favor and buy a double cylinder lock to maximize your security.

baldwin_cylinder_lock

Image Courtesy of Amazon

4. Doors with Built-in Cylinder Locks

- Not much better than door handles with built in locks

You can also install a cylinder type lock directly in your door, if it didn't come with one already installed.

The problem is, that just like door handles with built-in locks, these locks are not very secure and can be easily picked or kicked in. And just like those door handles with locks, you should plan to install a deadbolt for added security.

Many of these types of locks can be opened using a screwdriver or in worst case scenarios with a simple credit card.

sohomill_electronic_lock

Image Courtesy of Amazon

5. Electronic Locks

- What will you do when the battery dies

Electronic locks are becoming increasingly popular in many do-it-yourself storage facilities. But at the same time, they are not always the best choice when you are trying to find a good way to secure your garden shed.

While many of the most expensive ones are fully waterproof, beware of the cheaper ones as they may not be and if they short out, you will have to cut them off.

Also, consider what you are going to do if the batteries die or the power goes out.

master_lock_combination_lock

Image by Amazon

6. Combination Locks

- Decent locks, but only as long as you can remember the combination

Like standard key locks, combination locks are only as good as the money you are willing to invest in them.

You really do get what you pay for when you buy any type of padlock. The biggest problem with any kind of combination lock is that you have to remember the combination. Along with this, you also have to consider whether or not you will be able to cut the lock off if you lose the combination.

Final Thoughts

In the end, it is up to you to decide what type of lock is likely to provide the best possible level of security. Personally, I have a solid wood door on my shed with both a high-end door handle with built-in lock and a deadbolt.

My shed is not only my workshop loaded with expensive tools, but it also houses my motorcycle and several bicycles. Along with good quality locks, I have tinted the windows and added an alarm system.

My goal is to never have to worry about someone breaking in again and to date, I am one of the few homes in my area that has not had their shed broken into.

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Thanks for reading

14 NEAT Shed Windows Ideas and Options For Your Shed (and Where to Find Them)

small shed window to let some light in

Looking for more light?

We’ve been on the lookout for inspirational ideas that will encourage you to haul out your tools and upgrade the old shed windows

When a shed is weatherproof and watertight, you can think about boosting the interior light levels. Why not turn the old shed into a hobby-hut or a comfy spot for tranquil contemplation?

The possibilities are endless, and here are just a few of the neat ideas that we found for a shed window revamp.

1. An Easy to Make Small Square Window

No longer truly square, who can know if the window was built like that by its maker, or if weathering has distorted the frame.

This hand crafted window was lovingly shaped from recycled timber. But what if you don’t have the time, the DIY skills or the funds to fit out your shed with glass windows?

How about recreating the look by building a small, square shed window frame with a bit of character with a shutter to keep the rain out

2. Door Windows

Adding an attractive shed door window to a garden shed or outbuilding instantly creates a more homely, welcoming look.

As well as transforming the exterior appearance, the extra light flooding into your shed makes it more useful as a space for storage, hobbies or relaxation.

For the best effect, make sure that your shed door window is fully coordinated with the other windows and fittings.

You can create your own door (with help of these FREE plans) and just add a piece of glass in, or buy a replacement door

The cheapest place for replacement doors?

3. Shed Windows with Shutters

tool shed with shed windows and shutters

Whether they are fully functional or just added for their decorative effect, simple shed windows with shutters can give any garden shed a more appealing look.

Hinged shutters can help to protect your shed windows from storm damage and rowdy garden ball games.

Paint your shed window shutters in a contrasting color to add low-cost visual appeal. Repeat the high-contrast accents on other woodwork features for maximum impact.

Similar shutters available at: 

4. Double Glazed Shed Windows on a Budget

Small shed windows for cold areas

If you live in an area prone to frost and snow, you may want to think about upgrading your shed windows for cold climates.

This can help to prolong the life of any tools or gardening machinery stored in the shed. The most effective solution is a double glazed shed window.

If this stretches your budget, how about making your own shed window double glazing? See here for a great instructable on DIY double glazing - perfect for a shed window

More home style shed windows

Pretty effective DIY double glazing can be created by fitting transparent polycarbonate glazing sheets on the back of the shed window frames.

Along with improved comfort and an attractive appearance, double glazed shed windows also provide increased security.

New double glazing may be more desirable if you’re planning to create a home-working office or studio outbuilding in your garden.

Thrifty gardeners lead the way when it comes to low-cost, double glazed shed windows.

If new double glazing is beyond your budget, cheaper upcycled double glazing is the environmentally friendly alternative.

The cheapest place for professionally double glazed windows?

5. Shaped Shed Windows

round shed windows on top of barn

Think ‘out of the box’ and go for round and other 'not square' shed windows.

While shaped windows don’t let in as much light as the familiar rectangular panes, the look can be uniquely individual.

You don’t need a Dutch barn to get the most impact from a round window.

How about some fun, porthole style windows for your garden shed?

Increase the diameter of your round shed windows to create visual impact and add ‘wow factor’ to your garden landscape

Shaped shed windows available at: 

6. Aluminum Shed Windows

aluminum shed windows

When practicality is more important than appearance, aluminum shed windows can be a great choice.

While anodized aluminum isn’t the prettiest option for a garden, it’s a long lasting material that won’t rust or rot. Most homeowners tend to opt for ready-made aluminum shed windows. This means that there is a wide range of sizes and styles available online.

If security is an essential feature, you may prefer to go for a fixed, non-opening aluminum shed window.

The cheapest place for aluminum windows?

7. Stylish Shed Windows

When you use stylish shed windows for light and visual appeal the only limits are your own imagination.

Simply increasing the number of windows will dramatically improve the light levels inside any shed. Get creative by stacking large shed windows, one above the other.

Alternatively, try combining small shed windows of different sizes to transform a humble garden shed into a centerpiece outbuilding. The end results can be stunning – inside and out.

The popular choice when looking for character like in the above two sheds are french windows​

French windows available at: 

8. Shed Window Planter Box

Add color to your shed windows with flower boxes

Window flower boxes are easy to install, adding an exciting new dimension to any shed window.

When fitted within easy reach, a shed window box is easy to water and maintain. Your reward is a splash of vibrant color and the intoxicating scent of your favorite summer flowers.

For even less maintenance, plant drought tolerant herbs like rosemary and lavender.

Shed window planter boxes at: 

9. Window Screen / Flywire

In hot, sticky situations you need as much breeze as you can muster.

Adding window screen (aka flywire) insect screens to your shed window frames allows you to enjoy refreshing ventilation without being hassled by the bugs. DIY experts can build their own screens by purchasing frame timber and a roll of flywire online.

Luckily, low-price insect screens can be bought ready-made for those of us who aren’t so handy with a wood saw.

Cheap window screen available from:

10. Transom Windows

everton shed with above door slimline shed window

A transom window is a window that sits above a door. They tend to be more secure than putting glass in your door for two reasons

First, It is less likely that opportunists will be able to look into your shed at that height. Secondly the size of the window is usually smaller than a person can crawl through

The other reason why they are popular is they still let in a lot of light in if it's on the sunny side of your shed. They are great for workshops and people who want light but store expensive items and equipment in their shed

Good selection or Transom windows available here:

11. Window Mesh Security Grilles

corrugated iron covering shed window

Is your shed window on (or going on) a public walkway area? If so, you should take your outbuilding security up a notch by fitting wire mesh security grilles over your shed windows.

These tough wire grilles send a clear message to opportunist thieves and vandals. Window mesh grilles are usually fitted using special bolts which can’t be loosened from outside. Steel framed window grilles are the most effective option.

TIP - As well as securing the windows, ensure that the shed doors, roof and side panels don’t allow easy access for burglars

Find a good place to get security steel mesh for windows? Let us know​

12. Open Steel Mesh Panels

Mesh panels are a popular option for an outdoor storage shed, dog run or kennel.

The mesh provides free airflow, helping to keep the interior fresh and healthy. Wire mesh also makes the enclosure easier to clean. With a wide range of materials, finishes and colors on offer, your outdoor storage shed, kennel or dog run doesn’t have to look industrial.

Optimize your design and materials to make the most of your budget.

Find a good place to get open steel mesh panels? Let us know

13. Polycarbonate Sheeting for Roof Windows

Light-up your shed interior with some shed roof windows.

Whether you’re building a simple potting shed or adding an elegant outbuilding to a landscaped garden, roof windows will vastly improve the interior lighting. As always, the low budget option is to use polycarbonate sheets or recycled glazing.

Polycarbonate sheets are also much tougher than traditional glass panes. If you live in an area prone to hail storms you may have already made the switch to tougher, acrylic or polycarbonate glazing.

With easier shipping, lighter weight and safer handling, polycarbonate is becoming the go-to glazing for greenhouse windows.

Good selection of polycarbonate sheet here:

For a more stylish solution you may prefer to invest in an elegant shed skylight. For comfort, you may need to change the position of an existing shed to increase or reduce incoming sunlight.

14. Greenhouse Windows

greenhouse

Need more light? You can run glass or polycarbonate sheets across your whole roof or an entire wall

A few years of wear and tear will eventually take its toll on greenhouse windows, but you definitely won't be short of light

More Shed Window Ideas?

Sometimes it can be difficult to come up with fresh ideas for your garden or shed window make-over. Checking out sheds and cabins from other cultures can often generate inspiration.

Try Pinterest, ‘The world’s catalogue of ideas’, or a Google image search. Both will return hundreds of inspirational images that you can use for a shed and garden make-over.

Ornamental dormer windows, decking, shingles and shutters were just a few of the ideas that we found with a mouse-click.

Thanks for Reading

We hope that you’ve found a little inspiration among these neat ideas for new shed windows. With their low cost and green credentials, some of those upcycled windows are looking particularly attractive.

We can also see that security doesn’t need to be the ugly option if you choose a narrow, transom style shed window.

Now it’s over to you. We’d love to hear your own advice on upcycling, buying or fitting new shed windows. Please leave a message on our Contact Zac page.