20 Ways To Secure a Lake House

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These ideas will work for cabins and lake homes. Any vacation property where a little more lock up might be a good move.  Staying for a vacation can take the worry away since your there, but what about times your not?  These 20 ways to secure a lake house will bring in some new concept for added responsibility toward your life.  Fun mixed with some seriousness about property surveillance can make your life better in a big way.  Secure your lake house today with these simple steps almost everyone can do. Both on-season and off-season techniques for piece of mind over your family’s getaway.

Not all of these are possible depending on your method of off season prep work.  If the utilities are disabled then some of these methods will not be a possibility.  Electric power can be replaced with backup battery UPS units for a security system to run for a brief time.  But mainly it comes down to quality doors and windows with high grade locks and some good thinking.  This guide includes ratings for the time and cost involved with each technique and is meant as a stepping stone toward more research of a given topic.  These are not in any order of priority.

20 Things Every Lake House Needs to Stay Secured

Easy Ideas for Securing Your Vacation Home – How to Keep Your Family Safe
Links to Content-

Quality Door Locks
Stop Bars
Multiple Channel CCTV Systems
Trimming Landscaping
A Dog
Standalone IP Camera
A Gun
Temperature Sensors
Trail Cameras
Burglar Proof Glass
Snow Removal
Professional Monitoring
Keep Inside Tidy
Door Chains
Biometrics Locks
Rope Off Driveway
Fake Cameras
Window and Door Sensors
Reinforced Doors
Final Thoughts

How to Secure a Lake House, Cabin, or Vacation Home

#1 Neighbors

The tried and true method since the beginning of time. Good neighbors have the best vantage points to monitor your property. Sometimes not a good thing, but it’s true.  Let them in on your thoughts about overseeing the goings on around your property if they should happen.  Plus this cost has a no real dollar amount.  Unless your neighbor is not so neighborly.  Offer the same to them in return and it should be an easy home security based partnership.  Discussing the ins and outs of your seasonal schedules plus getting acquainted with all the people actively living there, or at least know of them, is a perfect starting point to securing your property from a distance.  A remote distance in fact.

Most people take a lot of ownership in there vacation properties and enjoy them very much.  It’s human nature to keep tabs on what vehicles go by,  who is commonly in the area, and maybe what services are seen regularly.  Stand out vehicles or personnel can get the vigilant neighbors attention rather quickly.  It’s as much a protection of self as it is a protection of the associated neighbors.


#2 Yard Signs/ Cameras On Premises Signs

Lite Simplicity

A super quick and powerful trick to security enhancement is…the posted sign.  For centuries signs have been used to emphasize someones demand for privacy and respect.  It’s nothing new.  Yet not many of us do it.  There is the notion it looks tacky and won’t give the right message to friendly visitors.  Well there are two paths with this.  For starters surveillance warning stickers and the common “No Trespassing” signs cost about the same as a good pizza,$20 or so.  That is easy to swallow.  Along the same fresh air path is the absence of stress from having intruders through your home.  Now the other path is you keep your twenty dollars and endure worry over a violated world if a break in would occur.

A Sign Is Worth A Thousand Words

Simply declaring something can stop would be burglars from going any further.  Simulation of a security system, and we cover fake cameras soon, 24 hour security recording signnicely places the thought in the back of the head of whomever may peruse your property as a target.  Let them decide if things are ‘cool’ or not.  Remember their goal is to get away.  The more red flags you place in the way of their thought processes the better for you.  Also another great one if you don’t like the camera route is the “Beware of Dog” sign.  Dog or no dog, it will pause the bad guys guiding them to avoid things here.

Many signs come in rust resistant aluminum and plastics.  Sticker for windows are possibly the easiest thing on this list of 20 ways to secure a lake house.  Just stick them on, or put the sign on a small wooden post and place in the front flower bed.  Then let the sign do the all the work.


#3 Quality Door Locks

How do you secure a door from being kicked in?  It has to do with the thickness of metal and the physical structure of the hardware internal to the mechanism and the catch hardware on the door jam.  Yes, not all door knobs are alike.  Some are weak and offer little results when pushed to their limit.

Strong Hardware, Strong Door

What has been installed in your lake house?  Basic door latches are not hard at all to kick in.  This is not evident until it happens thou.  It seems secure and strong.   65% of burglaries happen through the front, back or garage service doors.

Only As Strong As You Pay For

Quality locks and knobs are not cheap.  That’s the bad news up front and out of the way.  Poor day for the budget, but not the worst day if you stay with exterior doors.  This mod to your security can cost between $30 – $300 depending on how many door you outfit with new hardware.  Cheaper deadbolts and lock set plates may look good in the package with an even better appearance installed on the door, but they perform poorly.  Picking locks is still a profession to some folks.   An inexpensive door knob and lock set can be picked open easily letting unwanted visitors right inside.  Kicking in the door can also be done with less effort on the criminals part.  Strong well built units can not be manipulated through the key slot and they can take hundreds of more pounds of force due to increased lock cam density.  Look for the identifier of Grade1 or Grade2 when choosing  a lock set.  Upgrade the deadbolt strike plate with a four-screw strike box for more strength as well.  The little lip strike plate that catches the knob latch needs improved too.  The hardware screws that go into the door jam should be increase to 3″ #10 or greater wood screws.  This is very important because the added holding power from simply changing to larger screws will prevent most kick-ins.  A small number of manufacturers make most of the top rated lock systems today.  Shop around and enhance your entry doors as a quick upgrade to the cabin or lake house security.



#4 Window and Door Stop Bars

This tip to secure your home is so simple.   Many of us already use the stick in the sliding door channel for extra stopping power when locking up at so use it at the lake house or vacation home too.  This is also darn simple to do and will add a powerful component to your  windows too.  You can do it today.  This costs around $0 – $10 and it comes down to where you get the materials.  Scrap wood has been a good solution. The physics puts extremely large amounts of support in front of the leverage to slide the door open.  It would damage the door handle before the door moves.  This is easily applied to windows also.  Place a vertical bar or dowel and even a 1×2 cut to length can be used with great results.


#5 Multi Channel Security Systems

What is the best security system for a remote cabin or vacation home.  That has many surrounding questions and details before a best solution can be discovered.  This security method can range from $200 – $4,000.  Deciding on a security camera is a lot like picking a TV.  It takes a bit a prep and knowledge building before a purchase can be made.  Locations for an NVR and spots to put cameras require effort to get it right.  This way of securing your lake home is easier than it sounds, but it is one of the most involved task on this list of 20 ways to secure your lake house except for maybe a guard dog.

Security Systems come generally in a form of 4 Channel, 8 Channel, 16 and more and can come with an assortment of styles and number of cameras.  So like the image below it has six cameras and an 8 channel nvr.  Smaller systems can give you just as much performance and function as larger arrays of channels, simply without the added cameras and bigger costs.  Smaller homes deal well with 4 and 8 channel systems while larger 10 rooms or more complexes can use 16 channels of monitoring and still not cover all aspects active places.

DVRs and NVRs need a nice secure place somewhere that can double as a central local. security system dvr It will meet up with all the cameras either Poe or WiFi so arrangement might serve best if all branches going to cameras are near the same run length. The NVR should remain withdrawn from the main rooms or a stereo entertainment shelf.  This keeps intruders from discovering its whereabouts and damaging it.  They may even take it for selling later.

Top rated systems today include Amcrest, Ezviz, and HakvisionZmodo is another well established security camera manufacturer.  They offer easy features such as 1080P HD resolution, PTZ(point tilt zoom) automation, WIFI wireless cameras, recording triggered by motion,  night vision, SD card memory slots, alerts sent to your phone with images showing what triggered the alert, and the list goes on.  Time controls to scan through footage and past recordings is easy with on screen buttons like a dashboard.  The hard drive sizes can vary from 500GB to 6TB, but will accommodate days of recording from even the smallest included drives because of compression and data techniques.  This is one of the best methods to securing your house.  Monitor it when your not around.


#6 Trimming Back Landscaping

This Is a Simple Way To Increase Safety For The Home

It may sound silly but trimming the bushes is a fast a cheap way to get rid of natural outside features that may be cover for someone stalking.  The objective is to bring down the height of taller bushes, and reduce the size of others with the end goal of eliminating hiding spots.  Increased visibility around the property helps your neighbors monitor things easier too.  home security through good landscapingCriminals love to use surprise and unawareness of there victims.  Rows of landscaping with high shrubs give burglars places they can hide.  Disrupting a hiding spot can greatly reduce the risk from someone coming out of nowhere.  This way to secure your lake house might need to be researched some as different plants need trimming at certain times of the year.   Looking into what is the best plant layout design to enhance safety at the lake house.


#7 A Dog

Of all the ways to secure your home, this is the cuddliest.  Getting a dog for protection and affection is a life commitment.  This isn’t a off the shelf buy from the hardware.  It’s a new family member for years to come.  This is the most time consuming and expensive option on our list of 20 security tips.

Different family arrangements suit different breeds of dogs.  Training can make your new pet friendly or serious.  Most dogs will bark when they see something new.  A few will take action against any serious threat.  The best dog is the one you are comfortable with thou.

Be prepared to include this ‘security measure’ heavily into your budget.  Repeat purchases of daily food and periodic vet visits add up to a substantial amount.  Because this is more of a family expansion than a security device costs really settle into priorities rather than maintenance.    Learn what’s available and seek experts.  Don’t forget treats and toys will be left in the yard to ward off would be intruders too.



#8 Security IP Cameras

Standalone IP Cameras are the latest sweeping trend these days.  Its easy to see why.  Quick set up times using web browser connectivity, and 1080p HD video without extensive cable routing throughout the house.  Many have WiFi transmission to even eliminate the cable to the router!   With functionality just like full size systems, IPs have taken residential security monitoring by storm.  Prices for a good quality IP network camera range from $60 – $200 depending on features and brand.

Compact sizing let’s you place the camera on a bookshelf, TV stand, or maybe even above kitchen cabinets.  Weighing just a few pounds, IP cameras can sit almost anywhere too.  Useful features like Pan and Tilt give you the ability to aim the camera for the best viable coverage area.

Smartphone Apps put you is the driver seat as you can control recording modes, change panning, tilt, and zooming directions, communicate via 2-way audio with built in speakers and microphones, and so much more its incredible.   Cloud backup is a common addition to many IP cameras when purchased.  This keeps your recordings safe from deletion if things happen to have a glitch.  This is an easy way to bring security monitoring into your cabin or vacation home without the routing of wires and placing sensors everywhere.



#9 A Gun

Nothing Stop Burglars Faster!

It might rise to a funny level when talking about arming up against an intruder, but in reality, nothing has protected more, and nothing has prevented more crimes than a gun.  A firearm is another way to secure your lake house and it takes more time and money than some of the other suggestions thou. State and federal laws may or may not let you protect yourself this way so study up and call local ranges for more information.

Training is a key part in operating a gun.  Classes covering basic safety concepts and protocols are a must for anyone interested in using a gun for protection.  Even if guns have been a part of life in your family since you were young, a safety class can still teach you something important you may not know.  Isn’t the point to protect your family and not add risk to daily life.

Many styles and brands of guns are available for purchase and knowing your needs and skill level are the most important things that will guide your decisions.  When buying a gun for the home, take into account how the style will affect use in the home. A long gun or rifle has incredible range and might be too long of an object to quickly maneuver inside a home with walls and corners to move around. Most common is the pistol style gun. Small and powerful for simpler and safer use if needed indoors to stop an invasion. Learn from local experts and professionals on this one.



#10 Temperature Sensors

How can a thermometer keep your house secure? Well it can’t, but intelligent monitoring can. A great way to know how things are going at the lake house is a smart sensor with temperature monitoring. Alerts sent straight to your phone will get your attention. The sensor will sense a sudden change in room temp and send you info about what it is sensing.

For smart phone access you will need Wi-Fi at the home for it to use an internet address for monitoring. Whats great about these little smart sensors is no big system of cameras or wires are needed. No hub, no subscription, just connect to WiFi like a printer or router. Extra features such as motion detection, light sensors, sound and even humidity sensing can all be sent right to your phone in your hand in the off or on season.



#11 Game/Trail Camera

An interesting way to secure your lake home is the use of a trail camera. Now here me out. The trail cameras today have some interesting features that would make them ideal for a makeshift security system.

Not Just for Bambi!

Game cameras as they are sometimes called have exceptionally high quality light sensors mated with HD pixel resolutions. 6MP up to a huge 14MP image capture can give you stunningly clear proof if a break in should occur. Settings can include single shots, multiple shots for things moving about, and even a video mode is built in to some cameras.
Media storage is also a convenient aspect to trail cameras. Most top cameras allow the use of SD cards to record footage. This makes your job incredibly easy by eliminating any need for apps or cloud storage. Simply remove the SD card and insert it into a laptop for viewing and editing.trail camera
Possibly the greatest thing trail cameras have is the motion detection to trigger the camera. The camera can sit idle for weeks, and once something is detected in its IR beam, it wakes up and starts recording. Costs range from the low end of $80 to high featured models getting up to $300 or more.




#12 Burglar Proof Glass Doors And Windows

How do you prevent a break in through windows?  What about the little decor windows built in to doors for light inclusion.   There are several methods of reinforcing your glass windows with secure materials.security glass

There is tempered glass.  This glass has been heat treated for added strength throughout.   Safety glass is a type where vinyl is made to sit in between two glass panes.  This kind of glass is wildly difficult to break thru.  It needs lots of time and effort to effectively move it out of a burglar’s way.

If you have a healthy budget think bullet proof.  This is the ultimate in glass toughness and there are some serious glass makers out there.  Not much can be done to security glass except maybe a tank.   This will require a custom installation with custom prices.


#13 Snow Removal

Something that can give would-be burglars a clue to your whereabouts is the snow on the driveway without any tire tracks. Secure your lake house when you’re away for the winter and have the driveway and walkways cleared of snow. This might not be possible if you are located in regions that don’t get decent snowfall. It may sound simple and worthless, but just like a posted sign or a fake camera, it will redirect the thoughts of criminals and give them pause. They will need figure out if someone is present or not and the snow removed from the pavement will give them a handful of doubt.

Paying for snow removal can add up if it is a busy snow year, but generally it’s not a large investment. $10 or $20 per clearing is a small price to pay compared to a break-in with loss of property and mental stress.

#14 Professional Monitoring Services

A professional security service can offer a range of services from basic sensors, to full home monitoring and emergency dispatch all done 24/7.  Many people have had great success with this way to secure your lake house.   Paid monitoring can contact and dispatch the proper emergency responder for the fastest help for your family possible.  Depending on the options agreed to, just one triggered sensor and the professional service will contact you to verify the cause of the trigger and they can alert the police or fire department if needed.

Within the cost of many services, the provider will install sensors and monitoring devices for you.  They will configure everything for your system and give you training in the new devices.



#15 Keep Inside Showroom Clean

Less Stuff, Less Problems

Possibly the least expensive way to help secure your property is to tidy up around the house. Yes just cleaning up can reduce crime. How? It is the same concept law enforcement suggests you do for your car when out shopping. Keep it showroom clean and there is nothing to entice burglars through the windows. Even electronic cords and chargers can tip off a would-be criminal as to what may be inside the car that needs such a cord. Show off nothing. Try to arrange items in a fashion so as not to show them off through windows. A thief may see something they like.

Another point related to keeping thing neat and uncluttered is the fact a clean property has a stronger presence. A more confident presence and one that seems to have its bases covered.  A major part of security is the mental game, and this can be a mental road block for criminals as they don’t know just how prepared you really are and they will most likely move on to somewhere else.



#16 Door Chains and Dead Bolts

We have all seen them. We have probably all used one if you’ve ever stayed at a hotel. The tried and true door chain. security door chainThis is a basic tool for home security as it’s just a chain. But its practical use is extremely useful. Imaging opening the door and someone forces their way into the house. Now run the same scenario only put a chain lock on the door. The door opens a few inches to address the visitor, but the visitor can’t force the door open. Installation just takes a few minutes and the costs are less than $20 for a quality item and maybe a needed drill bit or two. This is a great security measure for kids or younger adults if they answer the door from time to time.  This can also be obtained at the local hardware store.



#17 Biometric Door Locks

Biometrics are making waves in the technology world and at home too.  Even facial recognition cameras are being made for home use.  Smart door entry has never been simpler.  Biometric security door latches enable you to use your fingerprint, a pin code, or the old fashioned metal key. Using a fingerprint scanner at the front door means you don’t have to dig and find your key anymore. Swipe your approved finger,(clean jokes here please) and you will be granted access to the home. Many different users can be programmed into the unit so the whole family can work it. Costs range from $150 – $400 depending on features and brand.biometric reader door lock

There is even wireless cameras for the door bell if a complete system is beyond your needs.  It works very much like an IP camera.


#18 Rope Off Driveway

Block vehicle access

Another way to secure your vacation home when your in the off season is to block access to the residence. Use a rope or cable and rope-off the entrance of the drive when locking up the property for the time you will be away.security rope across drive entrance 

This serves two purposes:

  • Makes greater distance from your property and any vehicles that may want to pull up beside it. Deters fast loading and moving of items from the home to a waiting truck or van.
  • Makes visitors more visible due to more travel distance between their vehicle and the home. This eliminates quick entry and exits by putting some walking time into their path.

Basic metal posts or some decoratively shaped 4×4 posts can be placed in the ground as the tie down points. Visually pleasing rope can be used to give it a pier like feel to the surrounding lake setting.  This can also be obtained at the local hardware store.



#19 Fake Cameras

Simulated security devices are also known as “decoys”. Another way to secure a vacation home or cabin is to use a “decoy camera” or “fake” camera. fake dome security cameraThis is very similar in respect to posting “camera recording” warning signs. When you remove the high tech circuitry from a camera chassis it brings down the costs significantly. This fact makes simulated cameras an appealing option. If a burglar has to deal with the issues related to being caught on camera, they will think twice. Well, that would be the first time they actually used their brain in this situation.
Fake security cameras are cost effective and are as easy to install as a picture on the wall. No wires, just batteries to power any decoy lights the camera may have.



#20 Window and Door Sensors

Window sensors and door sensors are an easy solution to add extra security to each room of the home. The costs are anywhere from $30 for a single sensor up to $500 or more for complete kits with several sensors and base station to monitor all parts of the system. They are typically easier to address installation issues than a larger camera based system.
The sensor itself will consist of a magnetic trigger or a vibration sensor. The magnetic type works by sensing the magnetic field in the door mounted module, and triggering an output signal when the modules distance from the sensor is great enough it can not be sensed. The output may activate an alarm, or silent signal to authorities according to your set up.



#21 Reinforced Doors

The final listing for the 20 ways to secure a lake house begins at the entrance point is installing a completely steel door. Lock sets are important to lock the door to the rest of the door frame, but the door itself can be enhanced to increase safety. Can your door be drilled through? A steel door will withstand drilling, sledge hammers, and flat out heavy impacts. Regular wood core doors can’t do this.

Features of a Reinforced Door:

  • Steel Door Leaf Segments
  • Steel Perimeter Frame
  • Strengthened Strike Side
  • Grade 8 Hardware
  • Heavy Duty Hinges w/Bolts
  • Drill Resistant Plates Surrounding Locks Area


Final Words

As you can see there is a lot to cover in this guide to lake home security and yes there are actually 21 ways here.  A freebie.  It’s recommended you have sturdy window and doors as the solid foundation for security.  It a door can be kicked in or a window busted with little work and noise it could be an easy soft target for burglars.

If you haven’t already go say hello to your neighbors in the neighborhood.  Even just a walk and saying hello let’s them see who lives in the area.  You get to know them too.  If it’s a concern enough to you talk to them about pondering longer anything that might be out of the ordinary.  Turn on their awareness a little bit.

Locks can stop honest people but only well built High Grade locks can frustrate professional pickers.  Multiple lock points such as deadbolts and chains help with forced entries as well.  Also the outside of the residence can be trimmed down for less obstructive monitoring.  This may be difficult as some lake editions can place homes very close together and once everyone has their stuff near by it may seem a little cluttered at times.   We all try our best.

Dedicated security devices like a multiple channel security system will cost money and time and learning time.  It can also have big rewards with easy full house monitoring.   IP network cameras put your captured camera feed into a web address for viewing anytime.  Plus they cost less then the large full scale systems.  There is a small learning cure with these too.  Sensors are even more simple to operate and still can offer anytime feedback right to your phone.  The less complicated devices have a friendlier cost too.

Animals are not the impulse purchase as other things on this list may be.   It’s a family decision and that one takes time to get right for your needs.  Guns also require hours of training practice to have the skills sink in to your brain as second nature.

Thanks for reading if your still here.  It is the goal of this article “20 Ways To Secure a Lake House” to promote safety for families and good times on vacation.  Play safe.