Keeping your home and everyone inside safe and secure is a major priority for homeowners. Old windows can make your home vulnerable to intruders, inclement weather, and can be integral during emergencies. New windows not only boost your home’s curb appeal, but also increase security, and make it easier to get to safety in the case of a fire or other emergencies.
The Most Secure Window Styles
The style of window you choose can affect how easy they are for an intruder to open. The majority of intruders don’t want to risk breaking glass because it will cause a lot of noise and unwanted attention. So for the best in security, choose windows that are difficult to break as a last resort and have secure locks that can’t be manipulated from outside. What style windows are most secure?
Casement windows are those that open in the same direction as a door and must be opened using a crank. This mechanism isn’t able to be used from outside, making it the most secure type of window. The amount that they open is usually very narrow, making it difficult for someone to fit through the opening.
Awning windows are like casement windows but open from the bottom instead of the side. There is still a crank on the interior and a lock to secure it when it’s closed. Awning windows also offer the added benefit of being used while it’s raining because the window itself offers a covering for the opening.
Picture windows are single-pane windows that don’t open, so an intruder would have to break the glass to enter. However, the downside of a picture window is also that it can’t be opened. If you need to escape a fire, for example, you will also need to break the glass if another escape route isn’t available.
What are the Characteristics of a Safe and Secure Window?
In addition to the style, there are many characteristics of windows that increase their safety and security. When you’re replacing your windows in Northern Virginia, consider windows with the following qualities.
Impact-resistant window frames are made of either fiberglass or aluminum. Wood and vinyl are secure enough, and modern mechanisms and technologies improve this, but they’re not the very best on the market. Although fiberglass and aluminum are both incredibly lightweight, they are incredibly strong. They’re also most resistant to dents, rust, rot, and corrosion, increasing their strength for years down the line.
Types of Glass
Older windows don’t have glazed glass and will break easily into large sharp pieces. While modern windows are typically treated, there are different levels and types of glazing and treatments that can increase the window pane’s security.
Polyvinyl butyral (PVB) is a layer that’s fused between two panes, so when the glass breaks, it’s adhered to the layer and will stay in place. Most windows today will feature two or three layers of glass, making it much more difficult to break through every layer.
Tempered glass, or safety glass, is glass that’s gone through an extreme heating and cooling process that makes it 4x harder than regular glass. The process creates an outer layer and inner core that’s in a state of tension which is why it’s so much stronger. Also, if the glass is broken, it breaks into small, dull pieces that will prevent injury. This is useful in making clean-up safer in cases where a fallen tree branch or baseball goes through the window, especially if someone is just inside.
Window coverings go a long way to keep prying eyes from seeing inside your home. However, not all windows are in a good location for curtains or blinds. Special coatings that tint or reflect are useful in these cases, as is etched, textured, or frosted glass. You’ll still get the benefits of natural light, but with added privacy.
Older windows tend to have hardware that is easy to manipulate from the outside. Or, the old hardware may be rusted and could break if enough pressure is applied. Hardware on newer windows comes in the latest designs that are intended to stay locked when in place, and are difficult or impossible to be unlocked by someone outside. Some manufacturers even sell additional locks to add to your windows for greater peace of mind. The benefit is that the additional lock will be made to fit your specific window, making it the most secure and dependable option.
Even with new hardware and locks, it’s important to remember to keep them locked. This may seem like a no-brainer, but research shows that 23% of home break-ins are through an unlocked window.
Although some may think that mesh screens on your windows are unsightly, they do offer a bit of security. They don’t make up for an unlocked window, but they do offer an added barrier an intruder would have to deal with if they want to get inside your home. If aesthetics are a concern, metal mesh security screens are great for windows on the backside of your home. The windows that are hidden from street view could be more vulnerable, making an added layer of security more important.
Other Ways New Replacement Windows Keep Your Family Safe
Besides the concern for increasing your home’s security, new windows will also keep your family safe in other ways.
New Windows are Easier to Open and Close
You don’t want to make it easy for intruders to get into your home, and this is why strong glass and new locks are important. But what about when you and your family need a quick route to escape your home, such as in the case of a fire?
Older windows can be stubborn to open, which most of us have experienced. New windows, on the other hand, glide open easily. New windows can be the difference between making it out on time or not.
Windows that are difficult to close completely are also a risk. Corrosion and splintering are usually the culprits and can keep you from operating your window lock properly, creating an easy in for an intruder. A window that doesn’t close all the way will also let in moisture, which can cause mold and mildew, creating unsafe indoor air. You’ll also be perceptible to insects and other pests.
Older windows that aren’t able to be secured shut or having a style of window that can too easily be opened by a child could be a risk factor in keeping your family safe. Double-hung windows are a great option for this reason. The top sash can be opened for fresh air while the opened half is well out of reach for a little one. You will be able to secure the bottom sash with childproofing while still having an operable top sash.
Increase Your Home’s Security With Replacement Windows
It’s clear that new replacement windows offer more security than older windows. By looking at a new window’s characteristics you can feel certain that you’re taking every precaution in keeping your family and your home safe.
Window and Door Showplace is dedicated to your family’s safety. That’s why we stand behind the lines of windows and doors we offer our clients. Contact Window and Door Showplace today for an in-home or virtual assessment and consultation about improving your home’s security.