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            DIY Message Boards  Hop To Forum Categories  Home Improvement  Hop To Forums  General Home Improvement    Securing an attic access from intruders
        Securing an attic access from intruders Sign In/Join 
        Picture of GardenSprite
        Any suggestions on what to put across an attic door to prevent someone from coming in through the attic into the house?

        There is access to the attic from a ladder in the garage so someone could easily break the glass uppor portion of the garage door, enter the garage, climb the ladder and push out the attic door, even though it's latched from the inside. A quick stomp might just take it out.

        I was thinking of wooden cross braces, but they could be broken if someone stomped had on them (or carried a saw). I can't think of an easy way to put rebars in without something locking them in place at either end - otherwise they could just be slid out.

        Maybe barbed wire across the opening would help? Maybe a steel plate would be better?

        This was a source of unauthorized entry in the past and is a concern given a recent rash of B & E's in the neighborhood.

        Thanks for any tips.
        Posts: 1896 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        Well, there's some good news and some bad news with this.

        The good: Easy enough to get a slide bolt type latch to secure the hatch from the bottom. This will keep it from being opened from inside the attic. Only costs a few dollars and easy to install. To make it extra strong, you can use larger screws than what comes with it or even bolts.

        The bad: If someone is in the attic and wants to stomp on your now newly latched and secured attic hatch, they will be able to break it open with just a few well-placed kicks.

        The really bad: If someone gets into your attic, they can punch a hole through anywhere with just one kick. Ceilings are just 1/2" or 5/8' thick drywall. It's actually even easier to get in by a hole in the ceiling compared to the attic hatch.

        Far better to address the attic access from outside. Seal up the area that gives access. If it's an outside hatch, then install a hasp with a lock on it. Even better: Get a long security cable and lock your ladders up. There may be a fairly large amount of 'bad' people walking by your house who may be tempted to break in. Safe bet that very few of those bad guys are walking around with a ladder.

        The reality of home security is that the best thing you can do it so make your house less attractive to thieves than somebody else's house. Security signs, visible security systems (cameras, obvious sensors on doors and windows) or a barking dog are all good deterrents. Even leaving a radio or TV on can be enough to have them pass your house by. At that though, the best you can do is to keep out the casual opportunist thief. If a pro targets your house, he is going to get in.

        As most of you know, I build and remodel houses. I can guarantee that for 99.9% of you reading this that I could be inside your house in under 20 seconds if I wanted to. Fortunately most thieves are looking for easy access via unlocked doors or windows.

        Posts: 10289 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Conrad
        posted Hide Post
        Once a burglar has entered your garage, they can take their time (make noise if needed) to get into your home through the house access door (many of us do not lock/dead bolt it during the day, (we only do at night), but our garage doors are shut/secure all the time. I think that most thieves would not bother with the attic access as too much effort and extra steps. Pros are in and out within 5-10 minutes.

        Consider? For 25-30 dollars you can often purchase official ADT signs and stickers off EBay.
        No way a would be, average thief can know for sure if you have a security system or not, as the controls are inside the house itself. We have these and so do several of our neighbors. Anything that makes them think twice and continue down the street for an easier mark can be a good deterrent/protection.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: Conrad,
        Posts: 6884 | Location: Plains and Mountains | Registered: Sep 26, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of joecaption
        posted Hide Post
        Have actual replacement cost insurance, or move to a better area.
        If they want to get in there coming in.
        I just leave my doors unlocked. Last thing I need is more work fixing things.

        Posts: 18021 | Location: Hartfield VA | Registered: Jan 31, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        locks are to keep the casual thieves out.

        crew-served weapons and mines inside may slow down professionals, but if they come in teams, in waves, the pros will always get what they want.

        them's the facts, Jack.

        to keep the high school dropout dopers out, there are half-door access metal door/frame assemblies availiable from full-line millwork companies. ask at a real lumber yard, they can set you up. several hundreds of dollars, easily. but we had 'em in various places in the hospital, they are a few days away by truck at most. understand, doors mounted in drywall... are not doors for security. you can kick out drywall anyplace, as by now the TV shows have taught you.

        also consider securing that garage door. put wind braces on each panel of the door. you could use a two-layer defense on the opener with a power-cutting controller or keyswitch on the outside that shuts off the opener completely, and then use the opener. if you're going to be on an extended absence, bend a 3/8 rebar chunk into a U, and slip it into the door track over a roller so iceheads can't push the door up against the brake in the opener.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: swschrad,

        sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
        Posts: 5710 | Location: North Burbs, MN | Registered: Mar 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        Thanks for all the suggestions. I've been mulling them over and have decided to incorporate them in various ways.

        Jaybee, it makes sense to focus on preventing access to the attic in the first place, so I'm going to (a) check out Swschrad's suggestion for a metal door as well as an alternate of (b) security bars for the garage windows and will also (c) upgrade the locks on the garage door.

        I also like the idea of making the ladder inaccessible with a security cable and will probably find other uses for such a cable as well.

        There are a couple of windows in obscure places that could benefit from security bars without detracting from the appearance of the house.

        Some of my neighbors have doors with security bars on them. It's always easy to tell which neighbors have just moved from Detroit because the bars go up shortly after they move in.

        I'm pretty sure I already have some security stickers picked up from one of the many senior expos which I've attended. Guardian is almost always represented there and has literature (and if I remember correctly) some stickers. I would think they might even be scannable and printed out so I can make more of them.

        Conrad, the house and garage are configured in such a way that there's no direct access from the garage into the house except through the attic. It's not like most garages which have a door into a utility room, family room or breezeway, so a would-be invader actually does have plenty of time to leisurely mosey around the garage and attic before breaking in (if he gets past the wasp deterrent on the way to the back garage door).

        And given the way the house, garage and yard are configured, this is the least likely way to be observed by neighbors.

        Joe, I wish I could take your suggestions, but I'm afraid they're not appropriate. I already have replacement cost insurance, but actually the most valuable item in the house is my father, and he's not replaceable Wink . Moving is not an option; some houses in this area have lost over 50% of their value since the real estate crash. And at his age, moving would be too traumatic.

        Swschrad, if I understand your comments correctly, you're suggesting replacing the wooden door frames with metal ones? Now, guess what? This house has 5 doors (a sixth one was closed off and converted to a window). Seriously, 5 doors, and it's not a huge house.

        The original owner was a quadriplegic and the house was configured with bathing facilities in the bathroom, ramps, and a room for the man's nurse, plus doors on rooms at the other end of the house. Lots of doors.

        I am actually still studying the last paragraph of your post and trying to figure out how to incorporate your suggestions.

        The would-be thieves, according to various reports, are "just kids", teens, dopeheads, but not pros. One neighbor had a surveillance system which recorded a would-be thief turning a doorknob, then leaving when he found it locked.

        But just because they're not pros doesn't mean that we want them snooping around.

        I appreciate the time and thought put into your responses. And thanks to each of you for your suggestions.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
        Posts: 1896 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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