06 Dec

How secure are garden rooms and orangeries?

Most people assume that glazed extensions prove to be attractive targets to potential burglars. On the contrary, if constructed well, then their toughened glazing and strong joinery can make them exceptionally safe and secure. We look at just how secure garden rooms and orangeries can be…

Over half of all burglaries and break-ins occur in the evening when it is easy for burglars to see whether the lights are off and the driveway is empty. As the night draws on, the likelihood of a break in decline because, to a burglar, a house with no lights on could simply mean that everyone is just asleep. At this time of year, domestic burglary rates peak from September through to December when the evenings get darker earlier. 

With break-ins happening so regularly, homeowners are fully aware of protecting their properties. Thanks to smart technology, and it has never been easier to create a safe and secure home with cameras, sensors and security lights to ward off intruders. You can even deter unwanted visitors from your home through the design of your garden! Capel Manor Collect and The Metropolitan Police featured ‘Secured by Design’ at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show in 2018. Its design helps to keep the home secure with gravelled footpaths, low-voltage lighting, and prickly planting and columnar trees which are difficult to climb or hide behind. 

Why do people worry about garden room break-ins? 

It is no surprise that one of the questions clients ask the most is ‘how safe is a garden room?’ Unfortunately, it is a common misconception that with so much glazing, orangeries and garden rooms draw the attention of potential burglars and are easy to break. 

A well-designed orangery or garden room should provide you with a bright and spacious place for you and your family to enjoy together. The last thing you want is to worry about someone breaking into your glazed extension and stealing your jewellery, electronics, wallets and other personal possessions. 

In days gone by, uPVC conservatories were a highly popular way for homeowners to extend their properties with a new room that made them feel connected to their gardens more than ever before. These glazed structures certainly did the job, and throughout the 1980s and 90s, we were building them in huge numbers. Most excitingly, they incorporated double-glazing which was a relatively unknown innovation in the UK at the time. 

Unfortunately, these early-day conservatories were not always safe and secure, and ultimately it was easy to break into these affordable extensions. Their sliding doors tended to jam together in the heat, and the locks would stiffen over time. The uPVC would yellow and age, and glazing from this period managed to collect condensation on the inside or fade to an unattractive grey colour due to the lead-based colour stabilisers. They did not exactly give the impression of a robust and secure part of the home. 

Modern orangeries and garden rooms are perfectly secure

If you are thinking about transforming your home with an orangery or garden room, the best thing you can do is choose a premium product. When it comes to home security, a finely crafted extension will outperform affordable options every time. A manufacturer who designs and constructs cheaper structures is far more likely to cut corners, resulting in a product that falls short of being secure. 

Choosing to invest in a building project is a big decision, so it is essential to find a designer that you can trust. Search for a reputable company to carry out the design and construction so that you benefit from a high-grade installation that not only looks beautiful; it also performs on security. 

What makes a quality extension so special? 

Quality is about designing beautifully balanced structures, and using carefully selected products and high-performing materials to build them. Expert craftsmen will build a quality garden room to the highest of standards on every level, right down to the hidden details. Quite simply, everything should be the best; from the paint to the door handles. 

Unlike uPVC, which can look tacky and clunky, timber allows for flush joints, sharp edges, and traditional mouldings. With the right material, like Accoya©, you can end up with an elegant, superior orangery or garden room.  Accoya© is a revolutionary, sustainable material made from Radiata pine. This material will not move, meaning that your garden room’s joints, doors and windows have a 50-year guarantee above ground. We use Accoya® for the outward-facing part of our engineered timber, and particularly vulnerable elements of our projects such as the ridge cap of a roof lantern or the external window cill. We also use Tricoya® (a version of MDF made from Accoya®) to manufacture our door panels. We then use Teknos, a water-based paint explicitly formulated for external use on timber, to create a smart-looking and protective layer over the wood. This high-quality paint system is resistant to bacteria, mould, and UV attack. 

The proof is in the testing

At Westbury, we want to make sure that your home is as secure as possible, so we design and manufacture our products with superior security in mind. We pride ourselves on the fact that we test all our windows and doors and they are all PAS24 compliant. 

PAS24 is an element of Part Q building regulations that stipulates a minimum security standard for new builds. 

We get all of our products tested in an independent, UKAS approved laboratory. Testing is not something that we are required to do, as our garden rooms do not classify as being new-build homes. Still, we invest in this process because we understand that our customers want to have peace of mind. We subject every part of the door or window to nine stages of human and mechanical attacks to see how they will hold up against a real break-in. 

All our garden rooms and orangery extensions consist of toughened or reinforced glazing. Not only is it extremely challenging to smash the glass; if it does break, it will produce fragments that are very small and relatively harmless. If desired, you can combine toughened glazing with other properties to increase comfort by providing thermal insulation, acoustic insulation, and solar reflection reduction.

Multi-point locks should be installed to all the windows and doors to give the garden room the maximum level of security and protection. For safety and insurance purposes, it is essential to make sure that all locking systems comply with the relevant British or European standards. Locks, door handles, and other ironmongery fittings should be strong and durable. Ironmongery should feel secure, robust and functional while still looking visually attractive and in keeping with the style of the house. We source all our locks and hardware from a carefully selected, family-run manufacturer in the West Midlands who have been making products for 150 years. They combine traditional handcrafted techniques with modern, state-of-the-art CNC manufacturing methods, producing the absolute best on the