Let’s face it. Unless you have a really small shed that only holds a few long-handled yard tools and some hand tools, you have some valuable stuff in your shed. Besides power yard tools such as string trimmers and chainsaws, you probably have a lawnmower of some type, and those aren’t cheap.
You may also store some expensive toys in the off-season, such as a personal watercraft or snowmobile. Even the smaller tools, such as a power drill, circular saw, and the like add up to take a bite out of your pocket once you have to replace them.
You want to keep those things secure. Any would-be thief driving by, scoping out the neighborhood will certainly notice you on that zero-turn mower. If he’s really interested, he may check out what kind of door and locks you have for your shed to see if it might be an easy mark.
Then when you’re not home, he just backs up a trailer to your shed or home, drives that big mower on up, and takes off. If any neighbor asks, he’s just taking it in for service.
How do you keep your shed secure? Even if your shed is solidly built, if you don’t take care to secure the door, you can have a shed built from concrete blocks and it won’t protect your things. Researching the various shed door ideas and how you will secure your door is a good first step.
In this article I’m going to go over 4 shed door ideas and how to make them more secure, they are single doors, double doors, roll up doors and sliding doors.
4 Types of Shed Door Ideas and Security
There are several types of shed door ideas, some of which you may not be aware of. While each type of door presents a different security problem, some forms are more naturally secure and harder to break into. Whatever type of door you’re considering, there’s always a way to make the door even more secure.
Single shed door – One of the best things you can do is to have a solid door to start with. This means considering building one of solid wood rather than plywood over a frame. If you have a door that is at least 44 mm thick, it will be much harder for someone to kick it in.
The hasp itself can be replaced with one that folds over itself, making it impossible for someone to just unscrew the hasp because they can’t access the fasteners. Replacing the hasp fasteners with coach bolts also helps. These bolts have smooth round heads that resist being grabbed by any kind of tool. They are fastened on the inside by nuts and lock washers.
The lock is just as important, of course. Those locks that have a short hoop are harder to pry open. Using a well-known brand name is a good idea as well.
A security bar may be a good option, especially for those with a plastic or thin-walled shed. This has a long metal bar that slides across the door into housing on the other side and is locked with a padlock.
Double shed doors – Any tip to secure a single door can be used on double doors. Many double doors aren’t made with a frame, however. In this case, you might consider a rim latch lock. It can be installed inside or outside the doors. They feature a spring-loaded latch that can be used to latch the door temporarily when going in and out during the day. They also have a deadbolt that locks with a key to secure the shed for the night.
There is also a pad bolt lock, which has both a padlock and bolt housing. A bolt, either circular or flat, moves through a channel to the other half. It’s secured with a padlock, which you will have to purchase separately. Using a combination of two or three different locks often foils intrusion attempts as well.
Roll up shed door – This is a type of door that often comes in metal, but also are available in wood and fiberglass. Unlike garage doors, these usually actually roll up around a big cylinder that is attached to the ceiling just above your shed doorway. That way you don’t have those long tracks common to garage doors that may get in your way when you want to use your shed attic for storage.
These doors come with their own frame that seals every edge of the door to prevent prying. They also come with their own latches built in for use with your padlock. There are additional locks you can purchase, but these are made to lock the door from the inside, so they aren’t much use unless you have a really large shed with both a roll-up door and a regular door. Most burglars aren’t even going to attempt to get into a roll-up door. They are too much trouble and create too much disturbance.
Sliding Shed Doors – Sliding doors aren’t as common a shed door idea as they are on barns, but they do usually provide a much wider doorway space without going to double doors. Of course, you’re going to want to lock your door from the outside. A barrel slide bolt can give you the option of locking the door from either side. You do need to have a frame for the door for the bolt to slide into. It locks with a key. If your not sure if the door should open in or out read my article Should a Shed Door Open In or Out? for more information.
What Can I Use for a Shed Door?
While many people use wood or heavy plywood with a wooden frame for their doors, there are other shed door ideas. Some use wood siding panels leftovers from siding their house or the rest of the shed. Doors on sheds need to be wider than household doors simply because of the large machinery usually stored in them.
Even a walk-behind mower is more easily maneuvered through a wider door. This is why you don’t often see pre-hung doors installed on a shed. Those with large riding mowers often opt for double doors to really provide space.
Of course, if you bought a pre-built shed, you have the door it came with. Rather than replacing it, you can add extra bracing for the hinges and lock hasp. Make sure the hasp is attached to the framework rather than the door body.
You can also replace the fasteners on the hinges with fasteners that require a special tool to remove, such as Torx screws. Another way to discourage thieves is to use a combination of Phillips, slot, and Torx screws. This way the thief will need an assortment of tools to get busy.
How Many Hinges Should a Shed Door Have?
Shed doors should always have at least two hinges. The upper one should be located around seven inches from the door top, while the bottom hinge goes around eleven inches from the bottom. If you use a third hinge, it should be situated in the middle between the other two.
Having a third hinge is really not a bad idea. In addition to providing more support for your door, it also can deter thieves. Since most shed doors are designed to swing outward upon opening, the hinges will be located on the outside of the shed. Some thieves will actually bypass trying to undo a sturdy lock and just work on unscrewing the hinges on your door.
If your shed is located in a sheltered part of your yard where a thief can’t easily be seen, he may just think he has plenty of time to do this without making much noise. An extra hinge means extra work and time, and the thief may just think it’s a bit too risky.
Some thieves work by just tapping out the pin on the hinges. With heavy doors, this takes a bit of doing, as the door must be supported once the first hinge is taken apart, but it can be done. There are security stud hinges that will foil such an effort. These feature leaves that lock together if someone tries to remove the pin. There are also hinges that feature pins that cannot be removed. The barrel of the hinge would have to be cut to remove them.
Another choice is what’s called a continuance hinge or piano hinge. These long hinges go the whole height of the door. They are fastened with many screws and would take a really long time to undo. Since the hinge covers the whole length of the gap between the door and frame, a miscreant can’t just try to pry the door off the hinge because there is no space for him to get a crowbar between the door and frame.
Best Shed Door Locks for Increased Security
First of all, make sure that any hasps, hinges or locks you buy are weatherproof. Anything that starts to rust just won’t do the job. Fortunately, many security-designed or heavy-duty hasps and locks are weatherproof.
T-Handle locks are popular among key-operated locks. They are usually heavy-duty and can stand a lot of use. Most models are fairly easy to install and are good at withstanding weather conditions. There are several brands and models to choose from.
A discus padlock is a good choice. It’s a round padlock with the hoop incorporated into the disc shape, preventing anyone from prying open the lock. It also unlocks with a key. Many are waterproof and very pick resistant.
A combination lock is also a good choice, especially if you’re prone to misplacing keys. Of course, you’ll need to remember the code, but many styles only require four numbers. Some feature rotating disks with the numbers printed on them to roll into place instead of the old L42, R13 scenario. With four numbers to the code, that makes for 10,000 possible combinations. You can set your own combination as well.
A bar hasp, especially a heavy-duty type, is a good choice. They resist any attempt at cutting or sawing, and the fasteners are hidden. Check out my article How To Increase Shed Security and Prevent Break-ins for more ways to secure your shed.
What’s the Best Type of Shed Door Security Alarm?
To add to the security of your shed, especially if you have a large shed with some valuable motorized equipment in it, one of the best shed door ideas is to have some type of alarm system as well. There are several types of alarm systems on the market these days. If you already have an alarm system for your home, it’s not hard to integrate a system for the shed that connects directly to the home system.
There are shed alarms featuring an external siren. They work much the same as auto alarms, sounding a loud siren to alert you and the neighbors and to scare off burglars. Motion lighting would also be a good idea along with the alarm. No burglar wants to be seen. Alarm systems for sheds can also call a phone number you designate just as home alarms can.
Security cameras have come a long way and can be added to your shed security. They also can use motion detection to start recording to provide clues for the police. Some will allow you to see what’s going on from your home with a live feed. Check on the video quality of different models. Cameras won’t do much good if you can’t tell what’s going on when you see the video.
There are some fairly inexpensive alarms designed for both windows and doors, so your shed window can be protected as well. Some models install with just double-sided tape. They usually feature on/off switches, and some give you a choice as to the kind of alarm they sound.
Shed alarms can be either wired or work on batteries. Some are triggered when a light beam or magnetic connection is broken. Some include remote controls, so the alarm can be turned off before you enter your shed. Some work by sensing motion. Some come with a monitoring service, but this may be a bit more than you want or need to spend.
Some drawbacks to alarm systems include whether any parts that will be outside are weatherproof. Some alarm systems also require wi-fi to work, so this may be a hindrance in certain areas. Some motion-sensing alarms can be super sensitive, so this is something to ask about when considering this type of alarm.
If you live in a rural area with wild animals routinely traveling through your property, they may set off the alarm. Some are so sensitive that the wind moving tree branches will set them off. That won’t give you the good night’s sleep an alarm should provide. Get more information on shed alarms in my article Are There Home Security Systems for Storage Sheds?
The best type of alarm system for you depends on your area, your budget, and how prevalent burglaries are in your area. Take time to investigate the various types before making a decision and see what will work best for you.