Home Improvement

Boarding up a window: Here’s why, when and how to boost your safety and security

Image source: Nic Crilly Hargrave / Shutterstock.com

Boarding up your windows is a great way of keeping them intact during a storm or a hurricane especially if they aren’t impact-resistant. However, for those who have never done this before, such a task may seem pretty daunting. But, it really isn’t that hard and is actually quite straightforward.

So, if you’re one such person who’s never had to board their windows before, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we will go over everything you’ll need to know about boarding your windows, from how to when and why to do it.

Table of Contents:

Why and when should you have your windows boarded up?

Whether it’s for your residential or commercial property, boarding up your windows can help prevent some unfortunate incidents, be they security or safety-oriented.

Secure windows that have already been tampered with

Windows are the most popular points of entry for burglars, so it should come as no surprise that if a broken or tampered with window is left unattended, chances are the person who did the tampering will use it as their access point. Acts of burglary are more common than you think, in London alone, there are more than six thousand cases or burglary a month.

Criminals often tend to target properties they’ve previously, easily broken into in the past. This is especially true if their old point of entry is still somewhat available to them. So, forgetting to secure a window that has already been tampered with in the past, can make things easy for burglars planning to rob you.

Even if a break-in has already occurred, boarding up a broken window right after it, isn’t meaningless as it prevents things from getting worse. Leaving the window unattended is just asking for vandals, burglars and even squatters to enter your property.

Protect the property in extreme weather

Each year sees dozens of storms throughout the UK, some light ones, of course, while others are a bit more frightening. And it’s these stronger storms that you should be on the lookout for. Extreme weather can be particularly destructive on more vulnerable properties such as:

  • Broken down properties awaiting refurbishment.
  • Properties located in a high-wind area or near a floodplain.
  • Vacant properties where a storm can cause all sorts of damage that is only seen later down the line.

By boarding up your windows, you can secure your property from weather damage and even flooding. So, if you hear of very extreme winds coming your way on the weather forecast, go and buy some solid steel barriers. These are particularly effective against strong wind and can be used to even secure garage doors.

What are the best materials for boarding up windows and doors?

You’re now probably wondering which type of boarding material will be most suitable for your particular property. While timber and steel screens are both very helpful in most situations, it’s still good to know which materials work to use when boarding for a given occasion. 

  • Timber is the best wood when it comes to boarding up windows. It’s easy and quick to install, so it’s perfect for emergencies. So, if your property has been broken into and you need the window used as an entrance boarded up on the spot, timber panels are your best bet. It can also help keep your property safe from mild storms. Overall timber is ideal for temporary and short-term use.
  • Solid steel is particularly effective in preventing arson attacks and thanks to its not so attractive look, it can make your property less appealing to squatters. Boarding up a property with solid steel screens is ideal when you’re planning on closing up a property indefinitely.
  • Sitex steel screens are also arson-resistant, however, unlike the solid steel ones, they allow for light and air to pass through. Sitex screens can be fitted on the inside of the property to protect it from external damage. These are great for both long and short-term use.
  • Storage box cardboard is not the best material (might even be the worst) for boarding up windows, however, it’s a free one. So, only go for this if you have no other choice or are on a very tight budget.

How to board up windows?

When planning to board up your windows, in order to protect your property from bad weather, it’s good to always start as early as you hear about the storm. Since it’s possible that if you go to buy supplies at the last minute, they might prove a bit tougher to find.

For boarding up windows you’ll need the following tools and materials:

Tools for boarding up a window

  • Circular saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Drill

Materials for boarding up windows

  • Plywood
  • Nails
  • Screws

If by any chance you’re missing something from the list, remember that all of these can be bought at your local convenience store.

The window boarding process

The boarding up guide below covers the simplest way to board up one’s windows. So, be sure to follow it down to a T.

Step 1: Measure the plywood

The recommended thickness of plywood, used for boarding up windows, is 5/8 of an inch. When it comes to the plywood’s size, start by measuring the size of your windows. Then, when it’s time to cut the plywood, make it so that it’s 4 inches bigger than the window on all sides. This is especially important if you have vinyl siding and want to protect your windows from being blown out from the storm. When cutting the plywood to the desired size, be sure to do it outside and use a circular saw.

Step 2: Drill the Plywood

Make holes in your plywood using a drill, make sure they’re the same size as the screws that you’ll be using. The drilled holes should be 2 inches away from the edge of each corner of the plywood and in 12-inch intervals around each panel.

Step 3: Mark the spots for the mounting screws

Hold up the plywood against the window you want to board up and mark the spots where the mounting screws will go in. On every plywood panel, write down for which window or door it is for.

Step 4: Secure the boards

Board up your property by using the marked panels on each designated window. Screw-in each panel carefully while making sure that each board is secured tightly.

Can you board up windows from the inside?

Boarding up your windows only on the inside with plywood is an alternative boarding method, but not a great one.

If your windows are boarded up only on the inside and there’s a raging storm outside, there’s a chance that it will shatter the windows and loosen up the plywood to the point that it falls inside along with all the glass.

So, strive away from this method of boarding.

You may also like:
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The Different Types of Burglar Alarm Systems and How They Work

Get prepared today – entrust your emergency home or storefront boarding up service to Fantastic Services

If boarding up windows isn’t really up your alley, you can always have a professional to take care of the job. Contact Fantastic Services to easily book a specialist who will come over and board your windows for you.

Note: Currently, we provide this service within London only, however, we’re constantly expanding our coverage so, double check the service availability via our online booking feature.

Need your domestic or commercial property boarded up?

Call Fantastic Services and have a professional take care of that for you!

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  • Boarding up your windows can protect you from burglars and bad weather.
  • The most popular materials for window boarding are timber and solid steel.
  • Never board up your windows only on the inside, especially when there’s a storm coming.


Did you find this post helpful? Have you ever boarded up your windows yourself? Do share with us how you did it in the comments below!

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