We all want our place of residence to be the one safe place, our sanctuary, where we can always relax. Therefore, to maintain peace of mind, it’s important to keep an eye on your locks, points of entry, and the premises of your property. A glass sliding door, although a desirable addition to any house ~ since it commonly allows in sunlight from your welcoming patio area ~ is unfortunately also a security weakness, for a number of reasons.
Glass Door Weaknesses
Sliding glass doors are primary targets for burglars, because of the following vulnerabilities:
The glass itself is susceptible, because obviously, with enough force, any reckless thief can break right through the glass.
The whole door itself can be lifted out of its tracks by a professional criminal with some basic tools.
The brackets holding the stationary panel in place have screws that can be unscrewed from the outside, making entry easy for a prowler.
The lock is actually the weakest part of your sliding glass door. The single-locking mechanism isn’t difficult to breach. A knowledgeable burglar can pry open the lock, or cut it with a hacksaw. With some glass doors, if you shake it hard enough, it will come unlatched.
The door’s location doesn’t help, since a potential intruder knows they’re commonly found at the back of the house, where tampering can be carried out probably without any neighbors seeing.
What You Can Do to Better Secure Your Sliding Glass Door
What can you do to discourage a potential intruder? If you want to effectively secure your patio door, first, discourage a robber from even thinking about breaking in. Worst-case scenario: delay anyone who has any success whatsoever, and detect that person immediately for a quick arrest.
Discourage & Delay
Put in an extra lock. There are superior locking devices to complement a basic lock. Most are easily operated from the inside. The best locks are those that fasten your sliding door to the wooden or metal frame. The advantage of these locks is that they prevent the door from moving horizontally or vertically. That means that even if a burglar breaks the regular lock, it will still be hard to open the door. You may also want to consider a type of battery-powered lock with an audible alarm attached.
A safety bar keeps a robber from moving the door horizontally across the exposed track. All you have to do is put in a piece of wood, dowel, or pipe of the correct length. Some safety bars are extremely strong, able to withstand up to 1,000 pounds of force. You can also install a security bar attached to the doorjamb and the bracket at the door’s edge. This type of bar will be immediately seen by a potential intruder, making it a good deterrent. It also lets you keep the door slightly open for ventilation, still preventing someone from entering.
Replace the glass with stronger glass. Choose premium-quality glass, double-paned glass, or glass with embedded wire.
Install window film to help secure the glass door. You can do this easily yourself. The film holds the glass together even if it’s shattered ~ basically making the door shatter-proof, because all the shards will be held in place ~ preventing, or at least delaying, entry.
Stick a decal on the glass door, near the latch mechanism. You’ll warn any potential prowler that a neighborhood watch system, or that your alarm system, is in place.
Keep the door locked! Many people forget to lock their patio doors when they’re away, or leave them open at night. Burglars look for this.
Use sensors or cameras to identify a break-in the moment it begins. Surveillance cameras, motion sensors, and glass-shatter sensors will add an extra layer of security. If you have a video surveillance system as part of your security system, the camera can record any activity so you’ll have video footage as evidence for the police.
If you have an in-home alarm system, be sure it’s wired to a contact on your sliding glass door, so that it can alert you or your security company if any breach occurs.
Keep in touch with your neighbors and be a good neighbor yourself. Communicate periodically, establishing trust. A good neighbor watches out for your home while you’re gone. Always look out for each other, and keep an eye out for any suspicious activity. Let next-door neighbors know if you’ll be gone on vacation.
Keeping door tracks and rollers in good shape is important. If these are damaged and don’t move smoothly, the door might be more easily lifted right out from its tracks. Keep out any dirt and debris, because they can cause eventual breakdown. If, even after you clean it, the door still won’t move properly, adjust the size of the rollers. Some doors have little adjustment holes on the bottom, and top edges that will fit a Phillips screwdriver, so you can expand or compress the rollers.
Do It Yourself
Overall, you can do a lot yourself to make your home safer and more secure. No property is impervious, but there are numerous ways you can protect your home and family from criminal trespass. The same strategies that apply to your sliding glass doors also go for your sliding glass windows. You can easily put a wooden dowel on each of these windows, for instance, to keep someone from sliding it open from the outside. To comply with your local fire code, be sure any window-blocking devices you use can be quickly removed from the inside. You can also install screws half-way into the upper track of a window’s movable glass panel, to keep it from being lifted out in the closed position.
Hire a Professional
Right from the start, when you want to install a sliding glass door, simply ask an expert to do it. Why take any risks? Improper installation will cancel out any security measures you’ll take.
When it comes to considering any issues regarding security at your home, it’s best to hire a dependable professional. If you observe any holes in your home’s security, take all your questions to a trustworthy residential locksmith specialist, and you’ll learn how best to remedy each problem. If you’re located in Renton, Washington, you may want to request a free consultation from a reputable local company such as 24 Hour Renton WA Locksmith.