A sliding glass door is one of the most common choices for any home with a deck or patio. It provides plenty of natural light, makes a quick exit point to the outside, and fills the room with fresh air and sunshine when open.
However, this model is also the most vulnerable security point in the house. Since it has the latch instead of a lock, your door can be tempting to the burglars, who can simply raise the door of the tracks. Since you shouldn’t take the security of your home lightly, I will list the best tips to secure a sliding glass door available. Let’s see.
How to Secure a Sliding Glass Door
1. Test the Door Latch
Investing in other security measures doesn’t make a lot of sense if you can’t lock the door firmly. The primary safety your sliding door has to offer is the latch, which is usually in the door lever.
Make sure to keep your door closed and locked when you don’t use them. Check if you can pull the door when the latch holds it to the frame. If the door moves, the latch is probably loose, and you need to replace it as soon as possible.
You also need to ensure that the door frame is leveled correctly. If you have the same sliding door for years, its frame can become twisted and deformed, which will raise security risks. Call the professional door service on time to inspect all the elements of your door.
2. Install Alternative Lock System
Nowadays, you can buy a variety of locks on the internet or in a local hardware store. Most sellers recommend the two-bolt locking system you can quickly install by yourself. Attach it to the closure point of the door and then put the steel bolts into the adequate place. That way, you can lock the sliding door even if the original latch is dysfunctional.
On the other side, you can choose the key-operated lock. Install this model on the top or the bottom of your door. Since this lock has pins, it will prevent the door from sliding. When you use the key, the pins slip into the upper door frame, or the floor, depending on the place on the frame where you installed the lock.
There is one more benefit to this solution. You can adjust the lock to fit almost any height of the door. Moreover, you can find the model connected with a battery-powered audio alarm if you are patient enough and research the market thoroughly.
3. Invest in the Alarm system
These days, most homes have an alarm system. Once you decide to add it, ask the installer to connect the wire to your sliding glass door. As a result, you will get an immediate warning if someone tries to open this door without your permission.
You can also install the glass break sensor if the thief decides to use a brick or a rock as a tool to enter through the broken glass. For a modest $40, you will get the sensor that reacts to the glass snapping, which will improve your home’s security level.
4. Set up a Monitor Camera
A surveillance camera is an ultimate solution for parts of the house that are at a safety risk, such as the sliding glass door. Although a quality camera is not a small investment, it will pay off. Put it in a visible place, and there is a good chance for potential thugs to give up the robbery as soon as they spot it.
If you connect the camera to the smartphone or laptop, you can control it even when you are out of your home. At the same time, you will get notifications if anybody approaches your sliding door.
There is one more advantage of modern types of cameras. Large animals and weather, such as rain or wind, can’t trigger the motion sensors, as was the case with the older models.
5. Chose High-Quality Glass
You will discover significant differences between types available on the market when you decide to pick out the right glass for your sliding door. For example, the tempered glass, which is common in many houses, will break upon impact into small shards.
On the other hand, the laminated glass has multiple layers and remains in place when it suffers damage. That means it won’t shatter and fall out of the frame even when somebody tries to break in or hit it.
So, the potential burglar will need special tools to break in, which reduces the chances of an amateur entering your house. Well done!
6. Use Security Bar
One of the DIY precautions you can use to improve the security of your sliding glass door is a metal bar. Measure the length of the bottom track and insert the metal bar into it. Take care that the bar is at least 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) shorter than the track.
That way, you will disable the door from sliding, even in a case when the lock is broken. Another option to prevent the sliding door from the unwanted opening from the outside is to install a barricade. The best option is to place it on the floor next to the entrance.
The choice between the security bar and the door barricade depends on your personal preferences. Still, remember that you can remove and insert metal rod whenever you want. On the other hand, a door barricade is a permanent solution, and you can’t remove and reinstall it daily.
7. Light up the Area
If your house is in complete darkness at night, there is a higher risk of burglar’s visits. Therefore, you should install motion detectors a few steps from your sliding door. They will react to someone’s presence immediately and illuminate the patio.
When installing these devices, you should define the period of how long the light will stay on. In most cases, it is about a couple of minutes, but you can adjust the light sensitivity and the radius the detectors cover when needed.
Keep in mind that the floodlights are not enough to be the only security device, but they can help you to prevent the break-in. You can purchase them online for less than $20 and plug them on your own.
8. Improve the Privacy of Your Home
One of the primary flaws of the sliding glass doors is that they provide an unobstructed view of what is going on in your room. For example, modern devices in your home will quickly attract possible thieves.
To reduce the risk of breaking in, you should try to increase the privacy of your home. You can do this by setting up so-called blackout curtains. These curtains are thick, heavy, and cover your glass door completely. They will also increase thermal insulation and reduce noise.
Of course, you can always push them away when you need sunlight and pull them on when you want to darken the room. If you are not a fan of the blackout curtains, you have an alternative at your disposal.
Get a one-way film and apply it to the outside of the door. That way, you can still have an outstanding view, while passers-by will see only their reflection while looking at your glass door.
9. Maintain Sliding Door Regularly
Most sliding doors have plastic rollers that enable smooth door sliding. However, accumulated dust and debris can damage these pieces over time. So, you can notice that you have trouble opening and closing the door at some point.
Besides, the dysfunctional rollers make it easier for the burglar to lift the door off the track and bypass the lock. To prevent this from happening, clean the rollers and tracks frequently.
If you still have problems with the door functionality, try to adjust the size of the rollers. Luckily, contemporary sliding doors have adjustment holes that allow you to resize the rollers with the screwdriver.
10. Replace Your Old Sliding Door
Sometimes all the precautions and extra measures you take are not enough to secure your sliding glass door. Over a decade old door will probably start creaking and falling out of the tracks. Plus, plastic rollers may get stuck when you open the door.
When that moment comes, your sliding door won’t be secure anymore, and you should replace it. Don’t forget to take the opportunity to choose better quality glass and heavy-duty tracks secured along the entire length of the door.
The overall costs of the sliding glass door replacement will depend on many factors. In most cases, the average price ranges from $1,500 to $4,000, with labor costs included.
Although it has many positive sides, the sliding glass doors pose a threat to the safety and security of your home. The burglar can break it, overcome the latch, or simply lift the entire door off the tracks.
Fortunately, you can do many things to keep that threat to a minimum, including hanging the blackout curtains or replacing the door completely. Pick out the security measures that suit you and your budget best and protect your home in the long run.