Compared to regular wooden or metal doors, sliding glass doors let in copious amounts of sunshine. It allows us to enjoy an unobstructed view, and provide a wonderful way to connect the inside of your home to the outside world seamlessly when opened. But on the other hand, they are also a much bigger security risk than any other kind of door. So to keep enjoying your sliding glass doors safely, you must know how to secure them properly.
Why sliding glass doors are a security threat
Before you learn how to upgrade your sliding glass doors, you first have to understand why they’re such a significant security threat in the first place.
We often forget to lock them
As silly as this may sound, sometimes we forget to lock our sliding glass doors. We pay more attention to whether our front door is locked, but overlook what is just as big of a risk – the doors on the back of our home. Before trying anything else, thieves will first try opening the doors to see whether they are locked. So no matter what your locking system is, if you don’t lock your doors, you’re letting would-be intruders waltz into your home.
The locks are easy to break
The standard locking mechanism that most sliding glass doors come equipped with is nothing more than a simple latch and can easily be forced open. While this way of locking is more hassle-free than having a regular lock with a key. It’s also the least safe option, as it provides a weak point in your house’s security.
Their location makes them a good target
Most of the time, sliding glass doors are positioned on the back of the house, facing the yard. While this does provide you with a great view of your lawn and flower garden. It hides you from the eyes of your neighbors. It also gives the perfect cover for thieves to fiddle with your door unseen and undisturbed.
How burglars get through sliding glass doors
Now that you know what the weaknesses of your sliding glass doors are, you will learn how thieves exploit these weak points to gain entry into your home.
Breaking the door lock
If you’ve ever locked yourself out of the house and gotten in by opening your sliding glass doors from the outside by jiggling the door up and down vigorously, just imagine how easily a criminal could get inside the same way. By shaking the door, you’re basically unlatching the locking mechanism and ‘breaking’ the lock, allowing you to open the door easily.
Pulling the door out of the frame
To be able to do their signature slide, your glass doors move back and forth along a rail. They were mounted on this rail by being placed from above. So, logically, if you lift them up again, they come straight out of the rail once again. Burglars use this to their advantage – they can jimmy the door from the outside by inserting a crowbar or other similar tool underneath the door and lifting it up. It takes them just moments to remove your door and enter your home.
Breaking the glass
As a last resort, a burglar could always try to break the glass of your sliding doors. Those big, beautiful glass panes are easily shattered by any heavy and/or sharp object thrown or hit against them. The glass is also tempered, which means it shatters into thousands of tiny pieces to not hurt you (or the intruder in this case). This way of entering does create a lot of ruckus. And most thieves try to enter without doing a lot of damage. Vandals, on the other hand, come with precisely that intent.
How to secure sliding glass doors
So you know all the weaknesses of your sliding glass doors and how unsavory individuals can exploit them. But how do you protect yourself against all this? Should you just remove that glass door and install a regular one? Put up a wall? You can keep your sliding glass doors and rest easily by taking simple precautions.
Install security bars
Security bars are a simple yet effective way to stop sliding glass doors from being opened when you don’t want them to be. All they do is block the tracks in which the door slides in. This can be accomplished by fitting an adequately sized bar into the tracks between the door that moves on them and the doorframe. This simple step physically prevents the door from being opened, even if whatever lock you have gets broken.
Apply one-way window film
Another potential security risk that comes with sliding glass doors is that they are basically a big window into your home, providing a clear view of any potential items of worth for a burglar. This issue is easily solved by adding blinds and curtains or applying a one-way window film over the glass. The film is best if you don’t want to obstruct your view, as it lets you look out but stops anyone from looking in. There are also frosted window films available.
Invest in impact-resistant glass
To stop any criminal from breaking your glass doors, it is best to invest in high-quality, impact-resistant glass for your doors. If you’ve already installed your doors, the next best option is to apply security window film over the glass. Making it much harder to break. And even if it does get broken, the film holds the glass together and stops it from crumbling to the ground and opening the way into your home.
Get a deadbolt lock
As we said before, the standard sliding glass door locks are anything but secure. Many homeowners ultimately decide to replace the original lock or add a secondary lock for better protection. Adding a simple deadbolt will make your door harder to force open and is easy to install. It’s always a good idea to consult with an experienced locksmith about the best type of lock for your specific style of sliding glass door.
Invest in a home security system
Many criminals are easily deterred by even the most simple home security systems. Installing a home security system with various sensors and/or cameras will improve security. Not only of your doors but of your whole house, as well. So even if a master burglar somehow gets past all of your other measures. They will ultimately be met with blaring alarms and security footage of them breaking in.
Sliding glass doors are fantastic. They flood your home with light and let the outside in seamlessly. But on the other hand, they also represent a serious security concern. Now that you know all the different kinds of simple measures you can take to upgrade your doors. You can rest easy knowing that nobody is getting in from your sliding glass doors if you don’t want them to.