Adding a sliding glass door to your home is the best of both worlds: An extra entry point to your home plus the added natural light that comes with installing a window! You can bring the great outdoors inside without all those pesky bugs and snakes.
There’s just one tiny problem. It’s true a sliding door makes for easy access to your yard, but it also offers easy access to your home both to you … and to potential burglars. Every year, some 3.7 million home invasions occur across the United States, and as much as 70% of burglars forcibly entering a home obtain access via a door, according to United States Department of Justice data.
Home invaders will go to any means necessary to get inside, including busting out the screens, tampering with the door handle, or even removing the door entirely. So how do you keep your home safe and secure?
Sliding glass doors: The problems
Knowing the weaknesses that come with one of the popular home access points is a start to understanding how to amp up your sliding door security.
1. Latches instead of locks
Unlike traditional wooden doors which are installed with a lock and key, most patio door locks are less lock, more flippable latch system. It makes for easy “locking” when you’re a homeowner. Unfortunately, an easy lock is also easily broken by criminals!
2. Door tracks
Has your sliding glass door ever slipped off its tracks? It’s a headache for a homeowner to rock the giant door back into sliding position, but that’s the sort of problem home invaders love. Rocking a sliding door off its tracks makes it easier to get inside a home without a key.
3. All that glass
Windows can break down the separation between the outside and the inside, which is perfect if you’re looking to make your home feel more at one with the natural habitat. But that works both ways. All that glass also makes it easy for would-be home intruders to get a look at all the tempting (and expensive) items that lay on the other side.
Sliding doors: The solutions
Wondering if you need to call a contractor to remove that sliding glass door? Put down the phone! The beauty and convenience of these doors doesn’t have to put you at higher risk of a break-in: Provided you make a few small fixes to your home.
1. Install a security system
Want to cut your risk of robbery in half or more? It could be as simple as installing an alarm system. When it comes to casing a house, researchers at the University of North Carolina’s Charlotte campus found 83% of home invaders will check for an alarm system. If there is one, as much as 60% will be scared off and seek an alternate target to rob. That’s more than half!
Some alarms systems even include sensors that will alert if a burglar shatters the glass of a window or sliding glass door: A bonus layer of security.
Check out our picks for the best home security systems.
2. Add a new locking system
If the lock on your sliding glass door came straight from the factory, it’s probably not going to keep a burglar at bay. But you don’t have to stick with the factory installation. Most home improvement stores stock sturdy locks designed to increase sliding glass door security. Look for one that’s double bolted, as these will be harder for a burglar to tamper with.
Even better? While sliding door locks range in price, you can easily find one in the $30 range — not much more than you’d pay to replace the lock or deadbolt on a traditional door.
3. Slip in a security bar
Want to keep those doors from being forced off their tracks? A security bar that fits right in the track could do the trick. Thin enough to nestle in the track, a security bar provides resistance when someone attempts to pry the door open by bracing agains the door frame. Priced around $20, these bars can be easily removed when you’re home and awake to make opening the door a snap. If you don’t have time to hit the hardware store, look around your home for a short broom handle or long wooden dowel to fill that track until you can make the trip.
4. Close the curtains
You don’t need to advertise your big-screen TV and fancy laptop to the neighborhood thieves. Invest in a set of curtains that can be pulled shut across your sliding doors to limit the temptation. They may even help boost your energy efficiency. Win, win!
Sliding door security: The bottom line
Nobody wants to come home to find their house has been hit by a burglar. But you don’t have to give up on that beautiful light and easy access to your yard to protect your home! Your sliding glass door can easily be made more secure so you can go back to enjoying the view.
This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.
Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.