6 Ways to Improve Sliding Door Security

Stop thieves with these simple, low-cost security measures for sliding doors.

If you have a glass sliding door in your home, you probably appreciate how it creates a nearly seamless visual connection between the inside and outside, allows natural light to enter the room and makes a small space appear larger. A glass sliding door, on the other hand, is not as secure as a traditional wood, metal or fiberglass door. After all, glass is easily broken, and a thief who doesn’t want to cause a scene by smashing the pane could probably make quick work of the vulnerable lock that sliding doors typically have. There are simple steps you can take to make glass sliding doors more secure and improve door security.

Create a safe home right at the entrance by following any of these tips. 

Add Alarm Sensor

Deterring unwanted intruders is sometimes the most effective way to stop them, and nothing deters burglars more than an alarm blaring in their ears. You can install door sensors that will alert you if the sliding door is smashed or someone tries to pry it open. Alarm sensors linked to a home security system are an inexpensive way to protect your sliding door. Additional home security cameras can be installed for added security and to record the intruder.

Most alarm systems include door/window sensors (also commonly called entry sensors). These sensors monitor open/close motions when attached to a door frame. When someone tries to force open the door, the alarm goes off and a call for help is placed. Glass break sensors are also included in some alarm systems. These sensors detect the sound of glass breaking. When the system detects broken glass, it will notify you or your monitoring center, depending on your provider and settings.

Block the Tracks

The rollers on sliding screen doors open and close horizontally on both the upper and lower tracks. Naturally, one of the simplest ways to improve the security of your sliding door rollers is to place an obstacle in the track, such as a tracker block, to prevent movement. The tracker block can be made by cutting a wooden broom handle to fit the bottom track. This is a quick and easy method, and while it is not secure proof, it does add a level of security and prevention that you did not have previously. With the blocker in place, an intruder cannot slide the door open from the outside. A blocker would also impede a curious toddler or an elderly family member who is confused and prone to wandering—both scenarios that many families are concerned about.

Reinforce the Glass

The large expanse of glass on your sliding door allows would-be burglars to peer inside to see who—and what—is inside. It’s then just a matter of shattering the glass with a rock or brick, reaching inside, undoing the latch, and sliding the door open. Simply applying a security film to the inside of the glass can significantly improve the strength of the sliding glass door. These ultra-thin vinyl films provide a strong layer of support, making it difficult to break through the glass. This deters burglars while providing extra protection against high-wind events or children getting carried away while playing ball.

There are clear security films, mirrored films, and films that are opaque enough to prevent anyone from seeing inside while still allowing some light to pass through. The last option is the most secure, but few homeowners want to sacrifice unobstructed outdoor views. Also, keep in mind that mirrored films only reflect on the side that is currently the brightest lit, which means that during the day, when it is generally brighter outside than inside, a person outside your home will see their own reflection in the door, whereas you will be able to see right through the glass from the inside.

Rolls of security film range in price from $10 to $30 per roll, depending on the type, brand, and size. Though not difficult, successfully applying a security film to a sliding door is a time-consuming task that we recommend being done by two people, as it is nearly impossible to do on your own. We recommend that you look into hiring a professional to do this for you. 

Lock it Tight

While your front door most likely has a deadbolt and a locking knob, the sliding glass door to your backyard or patio most likely has only a simple latch clamped onto the doorframe to prevent the door from sliding. Unfortunately, a determined burglar can pry that latch open with a screwdriver, so it’s not much of a deterrent. Back up the latch with a steel secondary locking system to increase sliding door security. A standard loop lock is the least expensive and most effective of the various configurations of such devices. A loop lock is made up of a metal casing on each end (one attaches to the sliding portion of the door and the other to the doorjamb) and a steel pin that drops down into the casings to lock the door. Drill screw holes into the doorjamb and the sliding frame of the door before screwing the loop lock into place. Loop locks cost less than $10 at home improvement stores (see Home Depot’s selection), and installing one is a simple 15-minute DIY project. The return on investment in terms of peace of mind will be priceless.

Install a Security Screen

Security screens, not fly screens, are an excellent option for increasing the security of your sliding glass door. If you’re concerned about the appearance of an unsightly and bulky screen door, you can relax. Modern security screens are built to be strong, long-lasting, and not stick out like a sore thumb. Many security screens are designed differently to keep unwanted intruders out, so it’s best to consult with a professional to determine which one is best suited to your needs.

Materials can range from aluminum sheeting and high-tensile stainless steel to PVC coatings to prevent wire rusting. Many security screens are also built to withstand harsh weather conditions such as heavy rain, strong winds, hail, corrosion from UV rays, and more. Aside from adding security, installing a security screen is ideal for summer because it allows natural ventilation to pass through the home while keeping bugs, flies, and intruders at bay. 

Add a Camera

Security cameras aren’t our first choice. They are typically expensive, difficult to install, and require ongoing subscriptions. A security camera, on the other hand, is an excellent solution for a vulnerable area such as a sliding glass door. Burglars and other intruders are less likely to mess with your sliding glass door if you keep an obvious camera trained on it. They don’t want their misbehavior to be documented.

With the right door security upgrades, a sliding door can provide effective protection against would-be burglars while still connecting the inside of your home to the outside. Want to install a new, secure sliding door in your home? Valor Home Services can help! Book your appointment by calling our office team