Balcony safety and security are often one of the last things considered when it comes to ensuring your home is secure. The fact that they are generally on the second floor or higher lulls home or apartment owners into a false sense of security, where they believe their property is secure, but the reality can be very different. In fact the sliding patio doors you often find on balconies are one of the door types most often targeted by burglars looking to enter a property. The problem is compounded by the fact that often a balcony door may be the only source of ventilation in that part of the home, so there is a need to find solutions that secure the door, but also allow air to flow through the home.
Understanding balcony safety and associated risks
We have already mentioned security risks in our introduction, and while this is a very pertinent point it is not the only factor one needs to consider when it comes to balcony safety. Often the problem isn’t just keeping potential intruders out, but also making sure the balcony is safe for those living in the home or apartment. Below we will explore these different aspects of balcony safety in more detail.
Balcony safety for children
Children require special care when it comes to balcony safety. As they get older inquisitive children are gripped by the need to explore their surroundings, but do not quite have the ability to realise the dangers these types of spaces may pose. Below we’ve outlined some measures you can take to make your balcony more secure for your little ones.
Making sure your railing is secure is one of the simplest ways to make your balcony safer. This can refer to both stopping falls over the balcony railing as well as stopping children from squeezing through between the rails and injuring themselves in this manner.
Plexiglass or acrylic balcony glazing provide an elegant solution to cover the spaces between balcony rails or to raise the height of your railing. Not only is plexiglass a durable solution, but its transparent quality means that it doesn’t interfere with the view.
A more affordable and temporary solution is to install deck netting along the length of the balcony. This netting is highly effective in stopping children from getting through the rails and there are a number of cost effective solutions available in the uk.
Keep patio furniture distant from railings
Children are great at climbing up things that they shouldn’t so if you have patio furniture on your balcony it is wise to move this away from the railing or remove it from the balcony entirely. This simple safety measure can go a long way towards making your balcony safer for your little ones.
Secure balcony entry with LockLatch
Of course the safest way to secure your balcony for your children is to restrict their access to it. If they aren’t on the balcony, they can’t fall off. As we have mentioned earlier the issue is made more complex by the fact that balcony doors are often essential sources of ventilation in the home so keeping these closed and locked isn’t always possible. This is where a lockable door latch such as LockLatch presents the perfect solution. These devices are designed to let you keep your balcony door locked but also slightly ajar allowing fresh air to circulate in your home. The LockLatch (and MiniLatch) feature an adjustable arm, which means that you can adjust the opening so it is small enough to keep your children in, but large enough to achieve optimum airflow.
Balcony security for home safety
Now that we’ve covered balcony safety for the inhabitants of the home, let’s take a different tack and look at balcony security and how it relates to potential intruders. A balcony is a surprisingly popular entry point for burglars and even apartment blocks aren’t safe as burglars may use public areas or adjacent balconies to gain access. The reasons why intruders like balconies relates to the types of doors and windows often installed. Sliding patio doors pose a risk as they can often be unscrewed from the outside and lifted off their rails. There is also the issue of residents neglecting or forgetting to lock balcony doors as they don’t consider them a risk. Luckily there are a few measures you can take to make your balcony more secure.
Security gates for doors and windows
One simple (albeit slightly expensive) way to secure your balcony is to install a security gate for your door and windows. These are great solutions if your balcony is an important source of ventilation. However, this is not a cost effective solution and will require professional installation as well as some alteration to the opening depending on which solution you pick. An alternative is to install a LockLatch or MiniLatch which can be fitted onto any type of balcony door or window and installs in minutes to allow you to quickly and easily secure these openings without the costly installation.
Another great tip is to ensure that your balcony and the surrounding areas have enough lighting. Burglars love entrances where they can work unseen and a poorly lit balcony provides this type of space. That’s why it is important to ensure that your balcony lights are functioning. If your balcony is still dark, then you can look at installing motion sensor lights that will come on if someone tries to scale the balcony or look at augmenting your existing lighting by installing solar light that won’t increase your electricity bill.
A more high tech solution is to look at installing security cameras around the balcony. While this may sound like an expensive safety measure, there are a range of new low cost camera solutions that connect directly to your mobile phone allowing you to keep an eye on your balcony without breaking the bank.
Additional balcony safety precautions
The third aspect of balcony safety relates to the safety of adults during everyday use of these types of spaces. We may think that adults are mature enough to not fall from a balcony, but accidents do happen and too often they relate to poor balcony maintenance. Below are some measures you can take to ensure everybody who accesses your balcony does so safely.
Install safety handrails
There is no standard for what a balcony handrail needs to be manufactured from, but in the UK a balcony handrail should be at least 1.1 meters high. If your balcony doesn’t meet this basic safety standard then you will need to replace the railing entirely or heighten it to ensure compliance.
While slipping anywhere can have serious consequences, on a balcony a slip can be deadly. That’s why it is essential to ensure that your balcony has adequate non-slip measures installed. This can be done through construction by choosing a non-slip style floor or achieved through non-slip mats placed on the balcony.
Following on from the point above, you should also ensure that your balcony is able to effectively drain water. Water can make a variety of substances slippery and standing water is even more troublesome as any organic growth can make this problem considerably worse. If your balcony has a tendency to collect water you will need to look at having drainage pipes installed.
Repairs on flooring and railings
Always keep your balcony in tip top condition. Railings should be regularly tested and if any structural weakness is discovered they should be secured. If you aren’t the handiest person in the home then you need to look at hiring a professional to make sure your balcony rails and floors are safe for you and your family.
Ensure Balcony Safety with LockLatch
A great way to keep your balcony safe for inhabitants and keep intruders out is with a lockable window or door latch such as LockLatch or MiniLatch. These devices are very cost effective, versatile enough to fit any balcony, and install in minutes so there is no reason not to start making your balcony more secure today.