Boarding Up Service: How To Board Up A Property

Are you looking for a boarding up service in the UK?

You've come to the right place.

Call us now

When it comes to boarding up services, here's what you need to know.

  • Boarding up is the process of installing panels over doors and/or windows to maximise security to the property.
  • Boarding up is typically required in response to vandalism or burglary, as an interim security solution, or as a preventative measure to mitigate property damage.
  • Boarding up may also be ideal for preventing damage from severe weather and natural disasters.
  • There are two types of boarding up: emergency boarding up and non-emergency boarding up.
  • Emergency boarding up is required immediately after a burglary or vandalism, while non-emergency boarding up can be done at a later time.
  • The cost of boarding up can vary depending on the size of the property and the extent of the damage.
  • In the UK, boarding up services are provided by specialist security consultants and some locksmiths.
  • It is important to contact a locksmith who provides emergency services, including boarding up, if your property has been damaged.

Has your home or business sustained damage from a burglary, fire, or flood?

Do you intend to close down your business or abandon a home for a period of time (or permanently)?

It is essential that you take all precautions to secure your property, including boarding up as necessary.

Why listen to us?

We are the UK's top online marketplace for locksmith services. We work with over 300 locksmiths who have been vetted and approved by our team. Learn more about our expertise.

Table of contents:

Boarding up

Emergency boarding up service: What is it?

Boarding up simply means to erect boards on your home or business, typically on doors or windows that have either sustained damage or if the property is scheduled for remodelling or abandonment.

We've locksmiths near you provide boarding up services, but not all.

It is important to enquire with your locksmith whether they provide these services if your property has been burglarised, as this can save you the time and effort of having to call both a locksmith to replace the lock and another specialist to board up the doors/windows.

24-hour boarding up service: How does it work?

Locksmiths that provide boarding up services do so by erecting coverings on windows and doors on the property.

Generally, most locksmiths and security consultants opt for plywood as it is a versatile and affordable material.

Property owners may wish to have only the exterior boarded up, but boarding up both sides of a window or door is also possible.

The average cost of boarding up services can vary from around £100 to £150 per window or door and it can take around 1-2 hours to complete, depending on how many windows and/or doors need to be boarded up.

Moreover, locksmiths can provide boarding up for a door or window as an interim solution to burglary repairs.

If your home or business has been burglarised, the locks will often need to be changed. If the locksmith cannot supply a replacement lock immediately, they may instead choose to board up the door/window.

Sometimes, a temporary lock is installed until a permanent replacement lock can be sourced and fitted.

Boarding up a property: Common reasons

There are many reasons why you may wish to board up your property, including:

Burglary repairs

Perhaps the most common reason to board up a home or business is in response to burglaries.

Whether successful or not, burglary can involve the physical destruction of a lock, door, or window in order to gain access to the property.

Locksmiths can board up the affected doors/windows until a more permanent solution can be provided.


Similarly, acts of vandalism can lead to broken glass and/or vulnerable properties that can attract antisocial behaviour or entice burglars.

Boarding up a property can be an effective way to limit and contain the spread of vandalism on the property.

Fire/flood damage remediation

After a building has sustained damage from a fire or from flooding, the structural elements may be weakened, warped, or destroyed, such as door frames and windows.

Boarding up is an essential way of containing the damage whilst remediation work is underway.

Dereliction or abandonment of property

For whatever reason, property owners may decide to abandon a property.

If it's clear that no one inhabits the building any longer or that it's completely unoccupied, it can attract burglars and squatters. Boarding up can reduce the chances of this happening.


Squatting is an increasingly common problem in many cities in the UK, especially in London.

To deter squatters from attempting to enter your property, consider boarding up the windows and doors.

Temporary/permanent closure

For businesses that intend to shut their doors for an extended period or permanently, boarded up doors/windows can facilitate remodelling work whilst deterring any burglars or squatters.

Preventative action

In anticipation of a major event where property crime or other antisocial behaviour may be heightened, property owners may wish to board up their doors and windows.

Forced entry by police

Although there are specific circumstances and justifications whereby police forces must use force to enter a property, the property owner will always be liable to pay for boarding up afterwards.

Police do not carry around lockpicking tools and therefore must use force to break the lock/door, which means that the damaged areas will need to be boarded up.

Emergency boarding up vs non-urgent boarding up

As with many other commercial and domestic locksmith services, it is essential to differentiate between emergency and non-emergency situations as this will be reflected in the price you can be expected to pay for their services.

Below are some key differences between the two:

Emergency boarding up

Perhaps the most common reason for boarding up a property is immediately following a burglary or after noticing vandalism, e.g. the door has been kicked in or a window has been smashed.

For security reasons, it is important that you act immediately in these circumstances.

Pieces of broken glass or splinters of wood can pose a serious health and safety hazard, and the property may be especially prone to burglary if the door or window is left open.

Another important time to contact an emergency locksmith is after forceful entry by police forces.

If your property has been forcefully entered by police, they will provide you with a course of action to remediate the damage at your own expense

Depending where you live, they may leave the task of boarding up to you.

Met Police in Greater London outsource this task to a preferred provider, however, but you'll have to pay the bill for their services.

Non-emergency boarding up

There are some circumstances whereby boarding up is less urgent.

If you're planning on closing your business or abandoning a residential property temporarily or permanently, for example, boarding up can take place at a time that is convenient for you.

If there is an event such as a festival or carnival in the coming weeks or months, you may wish to board up your property to prevent against the likelihood of vandalism or antisocial behaviour.

Taking preventative action in such circumstances can greatly reduce the potential costs of remediating damage afterwards.

Lastly, property owners may wish to board up their property in order to prevent squatting.

The laws regarding squatting in the UK are such that squatting in a non-residential building is not a crime, but the squatters must leave when instructed to do so.

Evicting squatters, on the other hand, can be a real hassle. Better to board up your property and reduce the chances of unauthorised entry in the first place.

The boarding up process for emergency situations

During emergency situations, such as burglary response, the boarding up process normally follows these steps:

  1. Upon discovering damage to the property, you must contact the police without delay. Inform them that your property has sustained damage and wait for their response. Do not attempt to repair any damage yourself.
  2. The police will then likely give you permission to contact a locksmith for boarding up services. Find a local domestic or commercial locksmith through Rated Locksmiths and enquire whether or not they provide these services.
  3. Allow time for your locksmith to arrive and erect the plywood boards to the affected doors/windows of your property.
  4. Consult with your locksmith about replacement door/window locks and arrange to have them replaced as soon as possible. Failure to replace your locks after a burglary can leave your property vulnerable to future attempts whilst also invalidating your property insurance.

It is also important to ensure that all debris such as glass shards is promptly cleaned up and removed. This leaves your property safer for you or your tenants, but also for any passersby (in the case of street-facing retail shops, for example).

Police-approved boarding up services

Many locksmiths are already DBS checked and familiar with the boarding up process and how to liaison with police forces.

In some cases such as forced entry by police, they may have the property boarded up using an approved third-party security consultant.

In other cases, they will instruct the property owner on how to proceed. It is important to follow the guidance of police and to board up your property as required if they have broken a door/window.

Who can board up my property for me?

In the UK, boarding up services are provided by specialist security consultants and some locksmiths.

Since there is quite a bit of overlap, many locksmiths provide this service in addition to emergency lock replacement, such as after a burglary.

Nevertheless, it is important to make sure that the locksmith you contact provides emergency services including boarding up.

Boarding up service: Frequently asked questions

What is boarding up?

To board up a property means to install panels over doors and/or windows in order to maximise security to the property.

Typically, boarding up is either required in response to vandalism or burglary as an interim security solution or as a preventative measure to mitigate property damage.

Boarding up may also be ideal for preventing damage from severe weather and natural disasters.

When should I consider boarding up my home or shop?

Boarding up a home or a shop is commonly required whenever the property has been damaged due to natural disaster, burglary, vandalism, or other property crime.

It may also be beneficial to board up a property in anticipation of a major event, such as a riot or protest, as well as if a property is being left abandoned for a prolonged period of time to deter squatters.

What materials are used for boarding up?

The most common boarding up materials used in the UK are either timber or steel.

Specifically, plywood tends to be the most common boarding up material due to its relatively low cost.

Cardboard also tends to be a common choice for boarding up for property owners on a tight budget, but cardboard is a terrible material in terms of strength and durability and should be avoided.

How long can a property be boarded up?

Generally, properties should only be boarded up temporarily.

Plywood and other timber materials are ideal for temporary boarding up, but not for long periods.

If a property has been boarded up for a noticeably long time, it can signal to squatters and burglars that the property is indeed vacant and it may attract property crime.

Should I hire a professional to board up my property?

It is strongly advised that you leave the task of boarding up a property to a professional such as a locksmith.

In some cases, police may require that you leave this task to a qualified locksmith or security consultant, such as after a burglary or vandalism.

Can boarding up a property be used as a preventative measure?

Yes, boarding up a business is sometimes used in anticipation of a major event such as a severe storm, riot, or protest that could potentially result in property damage.

If you are anticipating the potential for damage to your property, it is recommended that you speak with a security consultant or locksmith to determine the best solution for your specific needs.

Boarding up your property: Closing thoughts

Aside from using a boarding up service, here are some additional tips for protecting your property from burglars:

Here are some additional tips for boarding up your property:

  • Here are some additional tips for boarding up your property:
  • Use plywood or another sturdy material for the boards.
  • Make sure the boards are secure and cannot be easily pried off.
  • Seal any gaps around the boards to prevent pests or rodents from entering the property.
  • If you are boarding up windows, make sure to leave a small opening for ventilation.
  • Notify your neighbours that you are boarding up your property.
  • Get a copy of the boarding up report from the locksmith or security consultant.
  • This report can be helpful if you need to file an insurance claim.

Get quotes from residential or commercial locksmiths local to you.