Security Matters: Essential Features for Safe and Secure Windows

Security Matters: Essential Features for Safe and Secure Windows

November 13, 2023
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door
Tuscany window security feature

According to statistics, 23% of intruders access a home through ground-floor windows. Windows are the weakest part of a home regarding unwanted visitors. They are a weak link that intruders mainly exploit, often very successfully. Those with wooden frames are the most affected by constant exposure to the elements. With temperature changes and water retention along the way, the window frames develop mold, cracks, and even warp. Such a window is a burglar's "good day in the office." They don't need to break it; they can kick it in.

New windows do not come cheap, but they're a worthy investment. Old windows will not only expose your loved ones and possessions to intruders. Still, they will also make your house an uncomfortable place to live in, not to mention the high energy bills that you have to contend with. With constant technological improvements every day, you can be sure that new windows come with sophisticated security features, so unauthorized entry will no longer be on your list of worries.

Common Security Problems with Windows  

When the security of your windows is compromised, it provides an easy entry path for all unwanted visitors. It compromises the safety of your loved ones. Safety extends beyond forced entry, however. Quality windows secure your peace of mind, health, and even finances. Here are the most common problems that go hand in hand with windows that are way past their prime:

Faulty Windows  

These windows do not open or close smoothly, if at all. A properly functioning window should open and stay open. The same applies when closed. The lock could be affected as well. In the case of faulty windows, the issue is that the window does not lock, and anyone can easily open it from outside. If a window slides open after you've closed it, it's nothing more than an open invitation for an intruder. 

Faulty window operation points to faulty hardware, mainly the frame. Wooden frames are especially vulnerable to weather-related damage. They could be swollen or rotting due to water absorption or warping due to temperature changes, compromising their ability to hold the window together.


window condensation

The temperature difference between summer and winter causes condensation on the windows outside and inside. The fog collects on the glass, gathers into water droplets, and trickles onto the frame. If you're dealing with a double/triple pane window, the moisture seeps between the panes, which indicates broken seals. Water damage causes the wooden window frame and sill to rot, weakening the entire window structure. An intruder will target these windows because opening them won't require much effort.

Foggy windows also reduce visibility. A burglar could sneak into your home even when you're indoors, and you'll discover a tad too late because you can't see clearly through the windows. Did you know that up to 80% of burglaries occur during the day? To be precise, between noon and 4:00 PM. The culprits know they will draw less attention walking around during the day than at night. They target homes that seem unoccupied and in the afternoon, when most people are out. Even those who do not have regular jobs are likely to be out in the afternoon running errands. Visibility is essential here. You need to see anybody who may step into your yard.

Milgard replacement windows address the issue of condensation in two ways. First, the double or triple-pane windows prevent condensation by enhancing insulation. By installing high-quality seals to keep the moisture from seeping in between the layers of glass.


Have you experienced that chilly breeze that seeps into the room even when all your windows are closed? This phenomenon is an indicator of damaged seals or poor window installation. Where exactly is the draft coming from? Place your hand near the frame and take it around the window. You will feel the points where a sharp breeze hits your palm. Can you repair the seal on such spots? Yes, you can, but it's only a temporary measure. The windows themselves are old when the seals begin to leak. Remember, a good seal can last for decades. Older windows have experienced wear and tear, so you're better off replacing them. 

Besides the chill it brings, the draft also increases energy bills in the long run. More power is needed to heat the house during winter. In the hotter months, hot air comes in through the gaping seals, and cooling your home requires more energy. You may ignore the draft, but rising power bills are hard to ignore. Remember, we said that security comes in many forms. In this case, your faulty windows are compromising your financial security. With window replacement, your home will become safer, and you'll notice a significant difference in your bills.

What Security Features to Look for in Replacement Windows  

Now that you know the importance of security, you should look for several key features to protect your windows from intrusion or accidents such as natural disasters or weather-related causes.

modern house with secure windows

Window Locks and Security Hardware  

Locks are the most basic security feature on any window. Most windows feature preinstalled primary locks, offering adequate protection in most cases. If you want extra secure windows, you can add secondary locks with multiple locking points, which make forced entry nearly impossible. Milgard offers different types of locks for different types of windows, such as:

  • Sash/hinged wedge locks: Used in double-hung windows, which are typically opened either from the top or from the bottom. Such locks can be regulated so that the window opens partially to allow the fresh air in but still keep out potential intruders.
  • Pin Locks: Mostly used on ground floor windows to keep them from being opened from the outside.
  • Keyed Locks: For open and closed windows exclusively with a key.

That said, you'll also need security hardware to protect your home. If tampering with the locks does not work, a potential intruder's next attempt is smashing the window pane. The average glass breaks easily, a common weak link that burglars often exploit. Metal bars provide an extra layer of security that is hard to penetrate.

The spaces between the bars are usually too small for an adult to squeeze through. Should one decide to attempt anyway, the process will be cumbersome and time-consuming, and time is a luxury that a burglar needs. Suppose the bars do not put off the culprit. In that case, it only increases their chances of getting captured in the process, either physically or via the surveillance system.

Are you worried that the bars or grills will make your windows unsightly? Fortunately, gone are the days when window bars were just plain and dull. Now you can have them beautifully designed, with decorative features that complement the rest of your home's décor and make a beautiful aesthetic addition. Consider leaving one window without a grill for use as an exit in an emergency.

Reinforced Glass and Shatterproof Options  

radius window glass

Regular glass is brittle and easily compromises your security. Milgard offers the option of fortified glass for your window replacement in San Diego. One of the options available is tempered glass, which is up to four times stronger than annealed glass. This glass is difficult to break by normal means, such as hitting it with a stone or metal bar. Even if it breaks, it will not shatter into rough pieces but crumble into smaller fragments.

Plexiglass is another sturdy option that you can utilize in your window installation. This type of glass consists of acrylic. Plexiglass has an impact resistance of up to ten times higher than regular glass and requires specialized equipment to damage.

You can upgrade to double/triple-pane ones if you're using single-pane windows. As the names indicate, they have more than one layer of glass. The multiple layers make the entire structure stronger and harder to tamper with.

The enhanced glass options cost more than regular windows. Still, the security assurance they offer for your home and family is worth the expense. If you're on a budget, consider installing this reinforced glass only on the windows easily accessible by an intruder, primarily those on the ground floor. 

Security vs. Shatterproof Glass  

When it comes to enhancing the safety and security of your windows, one critical decision you'll face is whether to opt for security glass or shatterproof glass. While these terms may seem interchangeable, they refer to distinct types of glass that serve different purposes and offer varying levels of protection.

Security glass primarily aims to prevent forced entry. This type of glass typically consists of multiple layers of glass and a tough, durable interlayer, usually made of materials like polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). These interlayers hold the glass together even when subjected to significant force, such as a hammer or crowbar.

One of the key benefits of security glass is that it resists breaking and, even if shattered, remains largely intact. This characteristic can deter burglars and intruders from attempting to breach your windows because breaking through security glass is time-consuming and noisy. However, it's worth noting that security glass may be partially shatterproof, especially if subjected to sustained and determined efforts.

On the other hand, shatterproof glass primarily minimizes the risk of injury in case of breakage. This type of glass is typically laminated, similar to security glass, emphasizing preventing glass shards from scattering when it breaks.

Suppose an impact or force would shatter ordinary glass. In that case, shatterproof glass holds together, and the broken pieces tend to stay attached to the interlayer. Thus, it greatly reduces the risk of injury from flying glass shards.

The choice between security glass and shatterproof glass depends on your specific security and safety requirements. Security glass may be the better option if you're primarily concerned about security and deterring break-ins. However, you're more worried about the safety of other house members in case of accidents or natural disasters. In that case, shatterproof glass is the way to go. 

Sometimes, a combination of security and shatterproof features may be ideal. It's essential to assess your specific needs and consult with a US Window and Door window expert to determine the most suitable type of glass for your windows.

milgard ultra window hardware

Impact-Resistant Window Materials  

When it comes to fortifying your windows against various threats, including severe weather, accidents, or potential intruders, selecting the right materials is crucial. Impact-resistant window materials offer additional protection, safeguarding your home and its occupants. Let's explore some of the common materials used to enhance window durability and security:

Tempered Glass: Tempered glass is stronger and more impact-resistant than regular annealed glass. It undergoes a unique heating and cooling process that increases its strength. When broken, tempered glass shatters into small, relatively harmless fragments rather than sharp shards, reducing the risk of injury.

While tempered glass enhances safety, it may not be as effective as laminated glass at preventing forced entry. However, it is a cost-effective option for improving window durability.

Laminated Glass: Laminated glass consists of multiple layers of glass bonded together with a tough interlayer, typically made of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). This construction enhances impact resistance and security. The laminated glass retains its structural integrity even when broken, making it difficult for intruders to access a broken window.

Polycarbonate Panels: Polycarbonate panels are highly impact-resistant and virtually shatterproof. These transparent, plastic-like sheets frequently complement traditional windows as an additional layer of protection. They are particularly effective against forced entry attempts, as they can withstand repeated blows without breaking.

While polycarbonate panels are strong, they may scratch more easily than glass, so they are often used on the exterior of windows or in high-impact areas.

Reinforced Window Frames: Besides impact-resistant glazing materials, reinforced window frames can enhance window security. Frames of durable materials such as fiberglass, aluminum, or steel are more resistant to impact and intrusion attempts than standard wooden frames. 

Window Security Film and Alarms  

Security films for windows are transparent, adhesive films applied to the interior surface of glass windows and doors. One of the primary functions of security films is to hold glass fragments together upon impact. In the event of a breakage, the film prevents the glass from shattering into sharp, dangerous shards. These films also create a barrier that makes it more difficult for burglars or intruders to break through windows and access your home or business. While the glass may still break upon impact, the film holds it together, delaying an intruder's ability to breach the window and providing additional time for a response.

How about receiving an alert whenever there's an attempted forced entry through your windows? You can achieve this by installing a sensor that triggers the alarm when someone forcefully opens the window.

How about receiving an alert whenever there's an attempted forced entry through your windows? You can achieve this by installing a sensor that triggers the alarm when someone forcefully opens the window. The sensor comes in two pieces, one smaller than the other. The entire gadget is pretty tiny, though – it should fit in the palm of your hand. The smaller piece is connected to the windowpane, while the larger one attaches to the frame. A wire between them completes the circuit. Once the window opens, the two pieces separate, and the circuit breaks. The sensor detects this and activates the alarm.

For maximum window security, you can have a sensor on every window. If the circumstances do not allow this, prefer the windows on the ground floor, which are easily accessible to an outsider. Some window sensors are connected to a mobile device and give you an alert in real time.

Even when you're away, you will receive notifications if anyone tries to enter your home through the window. Others store the information, which you can then review at your convenience. Such sensors are part of a more extensive home surveillance system. You can scrutinize the CCTV for details if you notice any suspicious activity.

secure windows in modern house interior

Why Choose Milgard Windows to Boost Your Home's Safety and Security   

Safety is of prime concern regarding your home or office space, and Milgard windows stand out for the protection they offer. Milgard is a leading name among San Diego's home and office owners. The brand stands out for its unmatched blend of aesthetics, quality craftsmanship, and fantastic security features. They offer a lifetime warranty, and US Window & Door matches that with a lifetime warranty on the installation. With a wide variety of options, Milgard has something for every type of San Diego home or office space. They offer a full line of wood, aluminum, vinyl, and fiberglass windows and patio doors. No matter your style and preferences, you can find something that fits your needs while being remarkably safe and secure.

Milgard windows are durable and energy-efficient. They not only enhance the exterior look of your home but also keep the interior peaceful by blocking out unnecessary noise coming from outside. Milgard products can last and withstand varied weather conditions, which makes them one of the smartest investments you can make. The quality of Milgard windows shines through in the multiple awards the brand has received for design and innovation. They excel in several relevant categories: durability, energy efficiency, security, and impact resistance.

Milgard's beautiful windows, such as the Milgard Montecito vinyl windows, are known for being easy to maintain. They offer high strength and durability, ensuring you don't have to worry about your San Diego home's safety and your loved ones' well-being. These windows undergo crafting with the best quality materials and innovative technology that consider the needs of modern home and business owners in San Diego and California. They are the best option if you want to renovate. These windows are custom-designed to match the style and fit of your existing home or office. They are the best option if you want to renovate.

Furthermore, Milgard products boast some great security features that will appeal to your needs. Let's look at some of the top security features of Milgard windows that will help protect your home from intruders.

Milgard Windows Locks and Hardware  

Investing in high-quality locks and hardware is one of the best ways to secure your home or office space. That's why Milgard window locks and hardware provide a reliable multiple-point locking system that is a great option to ward off unwanted visitors. Milgard's automatic-locking window design has received accolades from the Arthritis Foundation for being functional and practical. 

In addition, Milgard was presented with the prestigious IDEA Award in 2008 by the Industrial Designers Society of America. Widely recognized for the exceptional quality of its products, Milgard also won the 2016 Window & Door Crystal Achievement Award for the most innovative window, particularly its radius casement window.

Milgard Opening Control  

Milgard windows safety is further evident in the unique opening control device designed to prevent dangerous falls, especially for children or pets. This opening control device meets the ASTM F2090-10 standard for limiting the window sash opening to less than 4 inches. So when you invest in top-quality Milgard windows, you'll know we actively prioritize your family's safety.

In case of an emergency, you can regain the full functionality of Milgard Windows by manually disengaging the opening control when required. It resets when the window is closed again to keep your family protected.

Milgard SecurityMax Package  

Given the need for window fixtures that are easy to operate and equally easy to maintain, Milgard created the SmartTouch lock for windows and the SmartTouch door handle. The SmartTouch lock is the company's most advanced security lock yet, and it is available on Milgard's Tuscany Series and Montecito Series patio doors today.

The SmartTouch bolt is a secondary lock that secures your patio door without any apparent fastening mechanism. To activate the multi-point lock, all it takes is a single flip of the SmartTouch handle. Thus, it enables four different locking points to secure the door. Experience the brilliance of this technology for yourself and maximize your protection with the Milgard SecurityMax package. This offering includes a unique multi-point locking system paired with the innovative SmartTouch bolt. The SecurityMax package is available for the Milgard Tuscany and Montecito Series sliding patio doors.

SmartTouch hardware is at the forefront of a significant new trend in home design known as 'aging in place.

smarttouch lock milgard window harware

This unique technology enables older people to live independently in their homes with easy-to-use security features on windows and doors. Such innovation showcases how Milgard is committed to developing inclusive products and solutions.

The touch bolt has the added benefit of acting as a vent stop to keep the patio door slightly open for fresh air and ventilation while the door remains locked. The SmartTouch bolt serves as a robust secondary lock on sliding patio doors. Some of the key benefits of this technology are listed below:

  • Streamlined and intuitive: SmartTouch offers peace of mind to every user. You can easily see when the window is locked or unlocked. Putting the handle down locks the window while raising it opens it. This design means that SmartTouch is effortless to use for people of all ages with varying physical abilities, making it a fantastic choice for individuals living on their own and families.
  • Provides optimum security at a glance: You can rest assured of the superior quality and durability of the SmartTouch lock, as engineers have assessed the technology based on AAMA certification testing guidelines and determined that it exceeds California forced-entry codes by no less than 25%. This lock originates from die-cast zinc.
  • Stronger and 25% Better: With such great features, the Milgard SecurityMax package is a fantastic deal for ultimate window security.

Hassle-Free Installation and Full Lifetime Warranty  

US Window & Door takes pride in providing high-quality products at the best prices. We've joined forces with Milgard, a brand with similar values. Together, we ensure that we professionally and hassle-free complete the installation of all San Diego windows.

The lifetime limited warranty offered by Milgard stands out in the market, assuring repair or replacement of defective materials and covering the costs of labor and parts. For some products, such as the Ultra and Tuscany Series, Milgard offers coverage for glass breakage. Again, this applies provided that the buyer of the product is also the homeowner.

Moreover, if you sell your house, your full warranty extends to the new owner for ten years from the effective installation date. Plus, this is entirely free! With such unparalleled benefits, we do our best to provide you with peace of mind and solve all your problems regarding repairs of window replacements we installed.

US Window & Door is a top-rated installer of Milgard windows with hundreds of customer reviews to support this claim. As an independent family business, you can trust that we focus on understanding your needs. Our employees receive the highest levels of training and education to ensure a seamless installation process while prioritizing the safety and tidiness of your space. We double-check all measurements for accuracy and thoroughly inspect all jobs for quality before declaring them complete.

If we need to correct our measurements, we will cover the costs to bring in the right products and adjust our installation schedule accordingly. Moreover, we'll protect your home and floors from debris during window installation and ensure we complete the installation process as quickly as possible. US Window & Door has 30 years of expertise, and we're committed to using only the best materials for all our San Diego windows installations.

Upgrade Your Home's Security with US Window and Door  

There you have it: the security features that you stand to benefit from once you acquire a new set of Milgard windows. If you cannot replace all the windows at once, at least plan to have those on the bottom floor replaced at once, as we have already established that they're the most vulnerable to illegal entry. Again, assume that window replacement is affordable. Did you know you can have a replacement plan crafted just for you with your budget in mind? You're definitely in the right hands.

Seeing that you found your way here, you must be concerned about the security of your windows or the lack of it. Have you been experiencing one or many window security problems listed above? Well, Milgard windows incorporate the security features mentioned above to ensure that your home and loved ones are safe at all times.

US Windows & Doors is your expert partner for all window installation needs. Join the list of satisfied customers whose homes have transformed with Milgard windows, which come with a lifetime limited guarantee. Contact us at any time if you have questions. Feel free to request an online quote to get started or call for a free in-home evaluation and estimate for your project.