Sliding doors sure are beautiful, but are they the safest thing for your home? If your doors are made of glass especially, a robber needs only a tool like a wrench or a hammer to smash the door and walk right into your home. You’d hate to get rid of your sliding doors entirely. Is there anything you can do to make them safer?
We recommend the following five methods for securer, safer sliding doors:
- Use a dowel or broomstick in addition to the lock
- Upgrade to reinforced glass
- Try self-tapping screws on the upper door track
- Invest in a security alarm system
- Get better locks
In this article, we’ll expand on each of these five methods for keeping criminals away from your sliding door. You’ll feel much more confident that all areas of your home are blockaded so no one can easily get in.
5 Awesome Ideas for a More Secure Sliding Door
Get a Dowel or Broomstick to Block the Track
Are you on a budget? The first solution we have for a secure sliding door is one of the easiest and most inexpensive.
All you need is a long piece of wood or metal. You can use a wooden dowel, an old broomstick, or metal pipe you have from an as-yet-unfinished home repair project. If you do go the broomstick route, make sure it’s a wooden stick and not one made of plastic.
Any blockade should be reasonably thick and quite durable. You also want the blockade to fit along at least one panel of your sliding door snugly. The dowel or pole doesn’t have to sit straight across, as it can lean at an angle.
Here’s how you use your blockade. When your sliding door is closed, slip the dowel or pole into place. Should someone try to open the sliding doors, such as a burglar, the one door panel will collide with the dowel sitting across the track of the second panel. The door will budge maybe ever so slightly, but it certainly won’t open.
All the commotion at your door will surely alert you to the signs of trouble. You can then call the police. Make sure you use your sliding door locks on top of the dowel or pole. The blockade is just a failsafe if the burglar undoes your lock somehow. Even if they smashed your glass sliding doors, unless they could reach the dowel or pole to dislodge it, then they still can’t get in.
Strengthen Glass Sliding Doors
Of course, you don’t want to have to think about anyone or anything shattering your glass sliding doors. Not only would that pose a major risk to your safety, but it would be such a huge home addition to have to replace.
If the glass of your sliding doors makes you nervous because it seems so easily destructible, you can do more than simply hope the worst doesn’t happen. You can also strengthen and reinforce the glass.
Nope, this doesn’t necessarily mean a glass replacement outright. You have plenty of DIY options you can try that work just as well as new glass panels. One of our favorites is security film, especially the mirrored kind.
This is still semi-transparent, so you get plenty of natural sunlight from your sliding doors. However, it’s much harder for outsiders to see in your home. That alone will make you feel safer.
Mirrored film allows you to see outside during the day while someone standing outside cannot glimpse in. At night though, it’s a little easier to see through the film from the outside. That’s because the mirrored film has reflective properties that work best when in bright light like the sun. If you’re worried about nighttime safety, get some blinds for your sliding glass doors if you don’t have these already and pull them closed when it gets dark.
One perk to using mirrored film is that it’s fairly inexpensive. A roll of the stuff costs $10 to $30, and a single roll should be enough to cover your sliding glass doors. You can find mirrored film at most home improvement stores and online.
To apply mirrored film, you want to measure the length and width of your sliding doors. Clean the inside of the doors, wiping away fingerprints, smudges, and other messes on the glass. These will stick under the mirrored film and be very noticeable. You won’t be able to clean the glass at that time unless you take the film off, which we don’t advise. Well, unless you don’t want to use it again.
In your garage or in a large room of your home, place the mirrored film on the floor, roll it out fully, and make markings so you know where to cut. Household scissors should be able to slice through the mirrored film, although it helps if you have especially pointy scissors. Trim one-eighth of an inch extra on any side to make it easier to push out air bubbles.
Spritz the glass with a combination of water and dish soap in a spray bottle, but don’t wipe it down. Water will allow for better adhesion of the film to the glass. Press down firmly yet gently and then remove any air bubbles using a squeegee.
Use Self-Tapping Screws on the Upper Door Track
We’ve discussed security solutions for the bottom track of your sliding doors as well as the door panels themselves. This next trick is for the upper door track. You’ll want to attach self-tapping screws using a drill.
What are self-tapping screws? Sometimes also referred to as tapping screws, when you screw these in with a screwdriver or drill, the screw will bore a hole in. The mating threads fit securely thanks to the friction created by this hole. If you need to disassemble the parts around the screw, you can do so more easily with a self-tapping screw. They also prevent loosening caused by natural vibrations.
Self-tapping screws can be self-piercing or self-drilling. A self-piercing screw goes in at an angle, such as 25 or 30 degrees. A self-drilling screw has a sharpened edge so it can penetrate even harder, heavier materials.
By adding a series of self-tapping screws along the top track of your sliding doors, the doors can no longer move off the frame. This is sometimes a tactic that burly burglars might use to try to break into your home. It’s certainly quieter than smashing the glass, but it will no longer work with self-tapping screws.
Do take time and care in where you place the screws on the top track. If the door can’t slide all the way open or closed, then take the screws out and try again. You need to be able to use your sliding doors too, after all!
Buy a Security Alarm System
Okay, so this next tactic doesn’t really involve your sliding doors specifically, but it’s a good idea nonetheless.
Your whole home will feel safer with a security alarm system. We wrote a great post on our blog for the top DIY home security systems for the year. Some of them were front-door doorbell cameras and alarms, which doesn’t really work for a rear sliding door. The others are totally viable picks.
Here’s a recap of some of your options from that article.
- KERUI Home Security System: This first security solution from KERUI includes a slew of must-have tools and accessories. These are motion sensors, a smart app control host, a live sound host, a Wi-Fi camera, a door contact sensor, and a doorbell button. The motion sensors extend 26 feet and will make a loud sound if tripped.
- PANNOVO Wireless Home Security Alarm System: PANNOVO’s alarm system was another winner on our list. You get eight sensors, with six intended for doors. A PIR motion sensor, SOS alarm button, and remote control are also included with the purchase of this great system. The alarm, when sounded, rings out at a very, very loud 120 decibels.
- SimpliSafe 12-Piece Wireless Home Security System: You can order a kit as involved as 12 pieces if you choose SimpliSafe’s home security system DIY set. Some of the parts included in your order are a 95-decibel siren, a keypad, four entry sensors, a motion sensor, and even customizable sensors.
- SENS8 Home Security Camera System: You also can’t go wrong with SENS8’s security system. It has a camera for catching motion, yet it won’t scare you with false alarms when the wind blows thanks to updated algorithms. The sensors include a sound sensor, a humidity sensor, and a temperature sensor.
- LarmTek Smart Wi-Fi Alarm System: We also have to talk about LarmTek’s home security solution. It includes an alarm host, motion sensor, and IP camera. Driven by Wi-Fi, you can access all the security features included using your smartphone. How handy is that?
Upgrade the Locks
For greater peace of mind, especially at night, it might also be a good idea to consider upgrading your sliding door locks. If your sliding doors are like most, they have a little latch that you either move up or down to lock and unlock the door. This is decently secure, but you could have so much better.
Today’s sliding door locks can require you to use a key or type in a code on a keypad. You’ll still have the large handle that makes opening and closing your sliding door so easy, but with the kinds of advanced security features you’d expect in 2020.
If you want a sliding door like Fort Knox, the five suggestions in this article will help you get there. You can try one or even all five of these methods for the most impenetrable sliding doors ever. Even if your doors are glass, it will be really hard if not impossible for criminals to get in now!