Your sliding door can be the most vulnerable door of your house. It is essential to make sure that these doors are secure and can withstand attempted break-ins. How to secure them is another issue – and quite a daunting one at that. Being much larger than a standard door means that securing a sliding or patio door can be tricky. And you don’t want something that is bulky and unaesthetic.
Let’s look at some of the options that are available for securing sliding doors and you can decide which one is best for your home.
What Makes Sliding Doors So Unsafe?
First, let’s see what makes a sliding door so vulnerable to burglary. These types of doors most often use latches rather than locks. Burglars can easily get the better of these latches simply by grabbing them and giving them a good strong jiggle or two, or they can merely remove the glass door from its track – a job that doesn’t even necessarily require any special tools except maybe a crowbar! And of course, there is the good ol’ brick-through-the-window trick! A tried and trusted method of many an opportunistic thief.
Another reason glass patio doors can be unsafe is that they are often not in plain sight. Most often they are around the back of the house where they provide entry into the backyard. And because they are at the back of the house, they are often left unlocked.
Sliding doors are made of tempered glass. This type of glass, while making glass stronger and more resistant to being broken, can still be broken using enough force. The glass however does not shatter into sharp shards but breaks into blunt pebbles – thus the burglar can enter your home without causing any injury to himself!
How Do I Make My Sliding Door Secure?
Here are a few tips and tricks that can assist in making your sliding glass door secure.
1. Curtains or Coverings
While this will not stop a burglar from breaking in through your patio door, it can help to deter burglary simply by hiding the contents of your
home that a glass door puts so openly on display. Use blinds or curtains to cover your door when you are out of the house and especially at night.
2. Security Bars (Blocking Bars)
Security bars, also known as blocking bars or door jammers, are adjustable metal bars that can be inserted along the bottom track or set at waist height, running along the full length of the door. This effectively jams the door shut, so even if a burglar manages to break the lock, he is still unable to move the door out of place. Amazon has a wide range of security bars available with prices generally ranging between $20 and $40. Alternatively, you could make your own DIY blocking bar by cutting a wooden broomstick or metal bar just slightly shorter than the length of the door track (when the door is closed) and laying it in the door track.
3. A Security Pin
When your sliding door is closed and secured, drill a small hole through the door frame that slides into the stationary door frame. Insert a steel security pin. This will hold the two doors together preventing an intruder from sliding the door open. These are a cheaper option for security bars and can be purchased on Amazon for about $11.
4. Window Security Film
A shatterproof window film will add extra security to your glass door while still allowing you to see clearly through the glass. These films can be clear or tinted according to your preference. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, these films will even help to repel debris that is blown against your door. Window film also helps to reduce glare, protects your furniture from fading in the sun, blocks 99% of UV rays, and by obscuring direct visibility, as well as offering a greater level of privacy. While not making the glass impenetrable, a window security film does keep the window from shattering on impact. It will take quite some effort for a burglar to break through a sliding door protected in this way. You can purchase security film from many different online stores or by doing a quick web search you should be able to find a supplier near you. They come in a wide range of sizes, colors, and patterns. While some of these films can be quite expensive, there are more budget-friendly options.
5. Alarm System
An excellent way of securing any entry point to your house is to install an alarm system and have it monitored by a local security company. These types of alarm systems should come with glass break sensors that are a great way to secure sliding doors.
6. Impact-Resistant Doors
These types of glass doors are also known as hurricane sliding doors and they are built to withstand the impact of debris and other objects being flung against them. They are thus harder for a criminal to break.
7. Track Maintenance
Keep an eye on the door track and make sure that it is clean, and that the door can open and close easily and without impediment. If your track is broken it will mean that the security of the sliding door is compromised, and it will be easier for burglars to remove it from its track.
8. Good Quality Locks
A good idea would be to remove the original latches and/or locks and replace them with high-quality locks. You can find many of these on Amazon. Take a browse around and see which one suits your needs the best. Prices usually start from around $10. A really good quality lock is a multi-point lock mechanism that allows you to lock the door at multiple points with one turn of the key.
9. Two-Bolt Door Locks
These locks are easy to install, and you can install them at any height. They work by sliding a steel bolt directly into the door frame when the door is closed. A key is required to open the door both from the exterior and the interior. This is a great improvement on the usual latch mechanism that comes standard with a sliding door. A two-bold lock is quite an inexpensive option and you can easily purchase them on Amazon.
10. Smart Locks
These locks are a relatively new technology that is transforming how we secure our houses. There are only a few models on the market at the moment that are suitable for glass sliding doors. These types of locks are strong and more resistant to tampering than your normal sliding door lock. In case of an emergency, these locks are easier to open than the usual key-operated locks. Take a look at some of these locks on Amazon. They are obviously a pricier option but well worth it for those who are serious about their safety.
11. Security Gates
Security gates are an easy and obvious choice when wanting to secure your home’s sliding doors. They can be a little bulky and not particularly pretty, but by providing an additional layer of hardened security, they get the job done! These gates can either be fixed or expandable. The expandable ones save space and when folded up can easily be hidden behind a curtain or window dressing.
Sliding doors are a wonderful entrance option for your home. They allow tons of natural light to flood into your home creating a warm and inviting environment for your family and friends. They provide easy access to your outdoor entertainment areas and when closed they still offer a feeling of space and openness.
Don’t let the worries of security stop you from installing these attractive and useful doors. As you can see, there are many options available to make your glass sliding doors more secure. And you don’t have to spend a fortune doing it! Most of the security options are both easily affordable and easily installed.
So go for it! Install that patio door in your new house or add it to the plans for your renovation. If you already have a sliding door, check that it’s in good nick, and then take your pick from the list of security options above and decide which is best for your home and budget.
Your security is worth it!