Maintaining vacant properties is vital to ensure they do not become an eyesore in the neighborhood. Unkempt lawns and overgrown shrubs can attract pests and rodents. Additionally, a vacant property can become a target for vandalism and theft, so security is also a challenge for vacant properties. Without anyone living on the property, it is easy for burglars to break in and steal valuable items. For this reason, one must secure the property to prevent this from happening. One of the most effective ways to secure a vacant property is by boarding up all entry points. Boarding up involves using plywood to cover all windows and doors. This prevents burglars from being able to break in and also helps to deter them from even trying. Boarding up is a relatively simple process that anyone can do with basic carpentry skills. It involves measuring the dimensions of the windows and doors and cutting the plywood to fit. The plywood is then secured in place using nails. However, few people know how it works, so we will discuss the details in this article.

What Should Be Boarded Up?

When boarding up a property, you must ensure that all entry points are covered. These include:


All doors, whether front, back, garage, or any other type, should be boarded up to prevent unauthorised access. Burglars can easily break the locks or kick down the doors, so boarding them up with plywood is essential. To board up doors, measure the height and width of the door and cut a piece of plywood that is slightly larger than the dimensions. This will ensure that the entire door is covered. Place the plywood against the door and use a pencil to mark where the hinges and doorknob are located. Cut out these areas using a jigsaw or circular saw. This will allow the door to be opened if needed. Secure the plywood to the door frame using nails. Ensure the nails are long enough to go through the plywood and into the door frame.

Windows and Window Frames

Windows are relatively easier to board up because they are usually smaller than most doors. However, the problem lies in the window frames, which often have gaps and spaces that must be filled to prevent unauthorised entry. To board up windows, measure the height and width of the window and cut a piece of plywood that is slightly larger than the dimensions. Place the plywood against the window and use a pencil to mark where the window frame is located. Cut out these areas using a jigsaw or circular saw. Use foam insulation if gaps are between the plywood and the window frame. This will prevent burglars from using tools to pry the plywood off. If multiple windows need to be boarded up, using a sheet of plywood that covers all the windows is recommended. This will make it harder for burglars to enter through the windows.


Skylights are often overlooked when it comes to securing a property. However, they can be an easy way for burglars to gain entry, especially if they are located on a flat roof or accessible area. While standard screws are often enough, using bolts is recommended to prevent the boards from being lifted off. Additionally, a security bar or grill over the skylight is recommended for added protection.

Basement Doors

Basement doors are often a weak point in a property’s security. They are typically made of flimsy materials and are not always secured properly. Again, bolts for securing the plywood to the door frame are recommended, but they must be boarded from within to ensure they cannot be easily accessed outside.

Things to Remember When Boarding up Your Property:

You must avoid several things when boarding up a property to ensure the boarding is effective. These include:

Avoid Boarding up Ground Floor Entrances Alone

Boarding up ground floor entrances alone can create a perception of vacancy, attracting criminal activity. Boarding up all entrances and at least one window on the upper floors is recommended to make the impression that the property is being renovated or secured.

Avoid Using Thin or Flimsy Materials

Thin or flimsy materials can be easily broken or removed, making them ineffective in securing the property. Using materials like plywood that are thick and durable enough to withstand attempts to break through them is recommended. As for your nails and bolts, they must be strong enough to hold the boards in place. Use screws or bolts that are at least two inches long and made of strong metal, such as stainless steel. Use at least two nails or bolts on each corner of the board and space them evenly along its length.

Consider How Long Your Property Will Be Boarded Up

Most property owners board up their vacant properties to sell them later. Because of this, the problem lies in removing the board later on and ensuring that the property is not damaged. To avoid damage, use materials that are easy to remove and won’t damage the walls or windows. The best material to use is cut plywood to ensure it is removed when it’s time to sell the property. Another option is to use temporary coverings made of plastic that can be easily removed without damaging the property.

Is It Possible to Board Up with Steel?

Yes, it is possible to board up with steel, but it is not recommended for temporary boarding. Steel is a durable and sturdy material, but it can be difficult to remove without causing damage to the property. Plus, steel is more expensive and time-consuming to install compared to other materials. For this reason, steel is better suited for permanent boarding for high-security areas, such as commercial establishments, rather than temporary boarding for vacant properties.


Boarding up a property is one of the best ways to ensure a vacant property is well-protected. Even if the work involved will be extensive, the benefits are worth the effort, especially if you plan to sell the property later. This way, you can prevent damages or break-ins while the property is unoccupied.

If you’re looking for an emergency board up service, Heatley Security can help! Our professional security experts will protect your property, whether through window repair, boarding up, or locksmithing, all for fair prices. Call us today at 07525 013 088 for a consultation!