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The Ultimate Guide to Securing Your Shed

Written by | Updated August 1, 2016
cute shed

A lot of people assume that they don’t need to protect their shed. It’s just a storage area for out-of-season junk, right? But while the lawn mower that’s been sitting in your shed for years may not be worth much on its own, consider the accumulated value of your shed’s other contents — bikes, power tools, gardening gear, and much more. Despite holding such valuable items, sheds are rarely secured properly.

Whether your shed is attached to your home or not, it should receive the same level of security as the rest of your residence and surrounding property.

In this guide, we’ll take you through some common shed vulnerabilities, as well as actionable tips to mitigate those risks without breaking the bank.

Potential Shed Security Vulnerabilities

1. Structural Weaknesses

With obvious patches of rot or loose slats, your old, run-down shed provides little defense against thieves.


How to Minimize the Risk:

First, identify problem areas with the shed itself. Fix loose slats and reinforce the internal structure with new panels. Replace any rotten window frames or doors, and patch up any holes in the roof.

Pro Tip: make it difficult for criminals to access your shed in the first place. Keep fence openings closed and secure, plant thorny bushes around the shed as a deterrent, and, if your shed is surrounded by overgrown shrubs, trim them regularly to ensure that burglars can’t use them for hiding.

For an added layer of security outdoors, check out our guide on how to burglar-proof your backyard.

2: Old Locks

Your shed door has weak locks or clasps that can easily be broken or picked.


How to Minimize the Risk:

If you prefer traditional security, replace the old fastener with a strong hasp and staple that’s secured with coach bolts. Then, add a sturdy padlock (Amazon) — preferably one that’s either weatherproof or rust-resistant — and use it every time you close the shed. Keep in mind that the harder it is for a criminal to break into your shed, the less likely they’ll be to attempt an intrusion in the first place, as it increases the odds of getting caught.

If you’re open to a smarter, more high-tech option, consider investing in an electronic door lock. Our electronic door lock guide can help you find the best one for your needs.

3: Unsecured Window AC Units

The window AC units installed in your shed aren’t secured — they can be quickly removed by burglars looking for access.


How to Minimize the Risk:

A great way to make your AC unit more difficult to remove is by installing a support mechanism (Amazon) that attaches to the shed’s exterior wall. Though it may take more work, make sure you find a support bracket that screws in securely to the wall — this will make it a lot more challenging for a burglar to move the air conditioner.

Once you’ve installed the bracket, invest in a window security bar (Amazon). These inexpensive devices can help you prevent would-be intruders from opening the window above the AC unit.

4: Loose Hinges

Your shed door’s hinges are loose and exposed, making them easy to unscrew.


How to Minimize the Risk:

Replace your door’s old hinges with a set that has a non-removable pin (Amazon). Look for coach bolts or carriage screws (Amazon), to install the hinges, too, as these types of fasteners have smooth heads and can’t be removed from the outside once they’re screwed in.

If you’re still worried about the strength of your shed door, read our six-step door strengthening guide.

5: Unapproved Third-Party Access

Strangers or contractors have had unsupervised access to the shed, giving them ample time to unfasten a window or jam the door clasp.


How to Minimize the Risk:

Install window and door alarms. If you have a monitored home security system in your home, you can extend it to include your shed. If this isn’t an option, you can purchase a basic DIY wireless security system that includes window and door alarms.

Try to find a security system that will either alert a monitoring company or send you a notification if an alarm is triggered. This will help you know if and when an intruder has attempted to enter your shed.

Overwhelmed with too many alarm system options out there? Our security system guide can help you shop for the best security system based on your existing home setup, preferences, and budget.

6: Uncovered Windows

Your uncovered shed windows allow passers-by to easily see what the structure holds and when it’s unoccupied.


How to Minimize Risk:

Avoid advertising the contents of your shed — and tempting thieves in the process — by putting up curtains or other window coverings. The type of covering you install will depend a lot on how you use the shed.

Here are our top recommendations:

  1. Blackout Curtains: If you use your shed exclusively for storage and don’t care much about letting in natural light, blackout curtains are a good fit. Buy them on Amazon.
  2. Privacy Film: Flexible and inexpensive, privacy film is a solid low-maintenance option. It will obscure visibility while still letting light in. Buy it on Amazon.
  3. Solar Shades: In the event that you spend a lot of time in your shed and want to control both temperature and visibility, opt for solar shades. They’ll keep your shed safe from prying eyes and help reduce UV ray penetration. Buy them on Amazon.

If you think window coverings aren’t enough, read through our guide on how to keep your nosey neighbor from seeing the contents of your shed and the rest of your property.

7: Poor Lighting

Your shed is situated in a far corner of your yard where the porch light doesn’t reach, making it hard to see what’s going on during nighttime hours.


How to Minimize Risk:

Install motion detector lighting — after all, no burglar wants to be in the spotlight. Depending on the strength and range of your lighting, you might also deter intruders from the rest of your property, too.

Not sure which motion sensor light to buy? Check out the Safewise motion sensor light buyer’s guide.

Bonus Shed Security Tips

Keep a Serialized Inventory

Whether you’re worried about a break-in or not, it’s a good idea to keep a serialized list of the items in your shed. If an item gets stolen, you may improve the chances of recovery if it’s serialized or has unique identifying marks. Going one step further, register the serialized property with your local police department, as that will also facilitate item recovery in the event of a theft.

Check Your Home Insurance Coverage

If you’ve recently added a shed to your property, check with your insurance agent to find out if your shed and its contents are covered under your homeowners insurance policy. Most policies do cover on-property structures, but it’s best to verify.

Understand How to Handle a Burglar

What should you do if you catch an intruder mid-crime? Stay calm, contact the authorities, and prioritize your safety. You can also check out our home-intrusion safety guide for more in-depth information on handling these types of situations.

Now that you know how to secure your shed without shelling out thousands, look over our home security quiz to find out what other elements of your property may be vulnerable — and what you can do to make those areas safer.

Written by Katherine Torres

Katherine has had several years of experience developing and executing multichannel marketing campaigns, but actually started her career path in journalism. Though she switched gears, she continues to be driven by the need to deliver information that can be helpful for individuals. As an owner of two rescue dogs, she is most interested in technology and products that allow her to keep a close eye on her pets when she’s away. Learn more

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