How secure are the windows in your shop?

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Forum topic by JoeinGa posted 03-23-2013 03:27 PM 1994 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7741 posts in 2919 days

03-23-2013 03:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: work shop windows lighting security opaque high

I’ve been looking at a LOT of your workshops lately, because we are going to be moving within the next year and I’m gonna be putting up a new building when we get back to Ga. I’ve been paying attention to things like tool/equipment layouts, electrical drops and especially lighting.

We will be moving to a rural farming area where the “older” folks who have lived there for generations have been used to doing things such as leaving doors unlocked and keys in their cars/trucks parked in the yards. (My father-in-law is terrible about this.) But as times have changed, even the rural farm towns have to face the fact that security of your home/possessions/FAMILY have changed over time. There are thieves and low-life thugs in all areas who will steal you blind, given the chance for an “easy score”. What concerns me as I scan thru your pictures is the number of workshops/garages that I see with windows with either no or limited coverings on them, which may be at a level which would give someone easy access to your shop.

When we moved here eight years ago I built a 30 X 40 pole barn and I at first I was gonna have them put a few opaque fiberglass panels in the roof to allow for some natural lighting. But I decided that if I was gonna insulate that would defeat the purpose. We had gone out shopping and stopped into a place that sells reclaimed and salvage construction supplies where I found some windows that were just what I needed. If I remember correctly I paid about $100 for 5 of these framed panels which are 48” X 12”. The glass is something that would have been used in a bathroom to allow light in, but not be able to see thru. I mounted them high on the walls to allow light in, and yet not block out “too much” wall space inside for shelves and such. The bottom of these panels are about 8’ off the ground and even if someone tried to use a ladder, they CANNOT see in from the outside.

I’m just hoping I can score something similar when I build my new shop. Here a few pictures showing the windows from both the outside and inside.







-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

28 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30576 posts in 3250 days

#1 posted 03-23-2013 03:31 PM

Looks safe and secure. Always nice to move to a trusting community.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Charlie's profile


1101 posts in 3198 days

#2 posted 03-23-2013 03:50 PM

First line of defense is to have LIGHTING! :) I have motion lights all over my yard. And sensors in the shop. If someone wants to get in, they’re going to get in. If it’s a “lazy thief” (as many are) they’re going to look for something that’s not so lit up. One of the sensors turns on a light in my bedroom and sounds a tone, at which point my dogs go running out the door barking and howling. Anyone on the property at that point is fair game. :)

Windows up high give you some light and are too high or too small to get people and/or machinery in and out of, but I also do artwork in my shop, not just woodworking, so I need a lot of daylight. I have french doors.

Lots of lights, sensors on doors and windows (they’re cheap and easy to install) and something that makes noise….. and dogs if you got ‘em. Sneak thieves want to sneak and that’s hard to do if there’s light and noise.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3399 days

#3 posted 03-23-2013 03:52 PM

Since I don’t own my shop I can’t do anything about the windows which were cheap single pane aluminum framed in 1970.
My method is to leave all kinds of stuff laying all over the place that the perp will trip on and wreak mayhem and havoc upon him/herself.

And you all just thought I had a messy shop!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View HorizontalMike's profile


7902 posts in 3826 days

#4 posted 03-23-2013 04:14 PM

I have to take the opposite view with regards to lighting, and especially outdoor lighting in a rural community. Light trespass can be a real issue and besides outdoor lighting just creates shadows for the boo-gyman to hide in. FWIW, I try to keep my property as dark as possible. It is much easier to see someone snooping around with a flashlight, than it is to see someone using outdoor lighting you provide to dash from shadow to shadow.

Adequate shop lighting however, is always appreciated and needed. Those high transom windows look to be very useful.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Elizabeth's profile


821 posts in 4056 days

#5 posted 03-23-2013 04:20 PM

I have two high-ish windows on one wall of my shop, and a small window in the door. I can cover the door window whenever I want to. The wall windows would require a ladder from the outside and the ability not to get hurt when the intruder falls onto my lathe and turning tools on the inside, which are right underneath.

View MrRon's profile


5954 posts in 4156 days

#6 posted 03-23-2013 08:04 PM

My first line of defense is door locks followed by motion sensor floodlights, a dog and S&W as my backup. I live 1/4 mile off the road in the suburbs, so don’t expect much in break-ins. If you live in a populated area, break-ins are a very big concern. When I lived in a family community, I had a canoe stolen from my back yard. Security is your responsibility. Don’t depend on the police to keep you secure; there is only so much they can do.

View patcollins's profile


1687 posts in 3777 days

#7 posted 03-23-2013 08:18 PM

My windows are so painted shut nobody could open them, still I drove a couple 3 inch screws into the panes to the frames to be sure.

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 3776 days

#8 posted 03-23-2013 08:57 PM

I too have had those concerns with windows. They do sell bars you can attach on the insides to keep a would be burglar from coming in a window. The other concern for me is the wall space windows will hog as I have a small shed. I am leaning toward something similar posted in the original post. Something high up and narrow to let some ambient light come in.

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 3030 days

#9 posted 03-23-2013 09:00 PM

I don’t have windows, but would really like some to get some natural light. I would also like to do what you have so people can’t get into them. We have an alarm on the door(magnet type) that is really loud if the door is opened. We also have a motion sensor we got when we only had the shed. It has an alarm we can put in our room that way we can hear it if we are inside. We haven’t used it since we built the shop though because when it was in the shed the mice would set it off lol. After a few false alarms I turned it off. It was really cheap from HF but works great. It is sad that you have to worry so much now. We lived on a gravel rd when I was growing up and we never locked our house or cars and never worried about having anything stolen. My parents still live there and someone broke into the garage a few years ago and took a bunch of stuff and ripped all the valuable stuff off their bass boat. I think the dog scared them away bc they ended up dropping everything in the ditch by the road.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 3022 days

#10 posted 03-23-2013 09:02 PM

If I had windows, I’d be sure to secure them… ;^)

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 3030 days

#11 posted 03-23-2013 09:03 PM

We also have the yard well lit, a dog who is growing into a good gaurd dog, and plenty of guns just incase we should catch someone. We live on a dead end gravel rd, so I just feel like any car that goes past is up to no good unless it is one of the other 2 ppl that live on our rd.

View wlkjr's profile


10 posts in 2814 days

#12 posted 03-23-2013 09:11 PM

I have 8 windows in my 20×40 shop with mini-blinds covering the windows so no one can look in. I have a window fan that can be reversed for exhaust or pulling in air from the opposite side. Those might be the only two I’d install if I had it to do over again. A truck could pull up to mine and clean it out in the middle of the night and we wouldn’t hear them. Matter of fact, this week a car wrecked about 60’ from our bedroom window and we didn’t hear it. Kept wondering why a truck idling sound was in front of the house. Looked out the window to see a State Trooper in the driveway, Deputy, firetruck, wrecker, first responders, and about 10 other people standing around. This about 8 in the morning.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6590 posts in 3321 days

#13 posted 03-23-2013 09:29 PM

If they want in they will get in, then of course the alarm goes off and I have to get up. As I am a cranky Marine with a serious attitude concerning stealing when I come out expect to be shot. If you run you will just die tired. You had plenty of warning like say the Marine Corps flag on the pole out front, or the sign that says I shoot first, shoot again, empty the clip and then ask the questions.

Like Dallas wrote I keep things that are not healthy to land on or jump into blind when coming through the window. This makes the idiots escape much harder and less work for me as you just cannot jump and run. You must make alot of noise, fall, trip, maybe turn the saw on by mistake grabbing for a hand hold and cut your arm off, etc etc (laughing) In either event expect no mercy, you want that see a Priest, and I will sleep well knowing I have helped the gene pool. (laughing)

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2919 days

#14 posted 03-23-2013 11:43 PM

Some good ideas and responses here.
One thing I was trying to point out is not just that windows aren’t secure, but they’re not even covered so that the thieves can “scope out” your stuff then come back later when no one is at home. Most break-ins occur during week days when everybody is at work.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2858 posts in 3834 days

#15 posted 03-24-2013 12:13 AM

My house alarm system also covers my seperate workshop.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

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