It’s not a secret that sliding doors are less secure than most other doors. This is because of the way they are constructed.
Sliding-glass doors come in different styles and sizes. They range from patio security doors to French glass entry doors (exterior).
Unfortunately, the majority of outside track sliding glass door locks are not enough to keep these doors locked securely.
And several high-profile home invasions have demonstrated that raiding homes through the sliding glass door is often an easy matter. This article highlights tips on how to secure outside-track sliding-glass doors for guaranteed peace of mind.
Why Outside-Track Sliding Glass-Doors Are Insecure
Outside sliding glass doors are insecure because they swing open when breached instead of being blown off their hinges. A protective device from various companies fixes this problem by automatically engaging when jimmied.
Sliding-glass door security bars are attached to the floor with one end and the top of the sliding door frame with the other. A sliding glass door security bar is placed in front of outside-track doors.
You can reach the bottom track by climbing up on a ladder, which requires no tools. They are fastened to the floor with screws. There are several different types of security bars sold for this type of sliding door.
While outside track sliding-glass door security bars are more secure than the inside track, they still don’t provide the level of protection needed to thwart burglars with tools.
You can use a screwdriver to lift sliding-glass door security bars off the floor, allowing access to the tracks that connect them to the door frame. It is best to use both types of security bars to prevent this from happening.
Sliding-glass door security bars are sold under several brand names and at various prices depending on the type and quality.
Better models will have height and weight requirements engraved on them, while cheaper ones do not. If the bar is too short it won’t be an effective deterrent, and if it is too light it can be lifted by hand. And never buy a sliding-glass door security bar without height and weight requirements.
If the sliding glass door is very heavy, consider adding quick-release clips to both ends of the security bar for easy removal. These are hooked onto the track at one end and the other end is hooked onto the sliding door frame for storage. When it’s time to secure the door, pull on the quick release clip and slide the security bar back into place.
For larger sliding-glass doors like patio doors or double entry doors, make sure you get a strong security bar that will withstand attempted forced entry. The weight of these should be similar to the weight of the door.
Homeowners with large sliding-glass doors should consider adding a second security bar for reinforcement. It’s best to use latches that are reversible, allowing them to be fitted at both sides, ensuring maximum strength.
For sliding glass doors on decks or patios, the decking itself can be used to prevent sliding-glass door security bars from being lifted off the floor. Attach shorter security bars, if needed, to the side rails of the decking. These will be out of reach for all but the most determined thief or ninja cat burglar.
Many homeowners have said that they are not worried about sliding-glass doors at their homes because they don’t have anything to steal. But if a thief has the time and the inclination, he will break into your home and take items of value or sell them for cash.
The price of the security is small compared to the cost of replacing stolen property. Homeowners should not take chances with their safety by depending upon flimsy locks and doorstop alarms for security.
A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Secure Outside-Track Sliding-Glass Doors
Things You’ll Need:
- Utility knife
- Safety glasses
- Work gloves
1. Use the utility knife to cut the carpet away from the door tracks to expose them. Peel back as much carpet as necessary so that you can see both outside and inside tracks. Inspect the tracks for any obstructions such as dirt or pebbles blocking the tracks. Remove obstructions using a wire brush. Also clear away the carpet so it doesn’t interfere with sliding-glass door security bar installation.
2. Once you have inspected and cleared the tracks, open the sliding glass door all the way so that it is resting on top of sliding-glass door security bars when they are in place. If the door is very heavy, get help lifting it so that you don’t strain your back.
3. Measure the height of the sliding glass door security bar to determine which one will fit best on each track. Some sliding-glass door security bars are drilled into place with screws while others snap or latch into place on top of tracks.
4. Remove the sliding door security bar from the packaging and lay it on a soft surface where you can cut it to size with the utility knife. Wear safety glasses, work gloves, and long sleeves because some security bars are sharp at the ends when they are not cut down to fit your tracks.
5. Measure the length of the outside top track carefully and cut the security bar using a straight edge and a utility knife. If you have trouble cutting through metal, use a hacksaw instead of a utility knife.
6. Snap or latch sliding-glass door security bar into place on top of the outside track with the narrow end facing up toward the ceiling. Make sure it is snapped securely in place.
7. Measure the height of the lower track where you will place your sliding-glass door security bar, and cut it down to match using a straight edge and a utility knife. If you have trouble cutting through metal, use a hacksaw instead of a utility knife.
8. Snap or latch sliding-glass door security bar into place on the lower track with the narrow end facing up toward the ceiling. Make sure it is snapped securely in place.
9. Measure and cut your sliding-glass door security bars down to fit between the tracks on both sides of the sliding glass door, using a straight edge and a utility knife if necessary.
10. Snap or latch the sliding-glass door security bar into place in between the tracks on both sides of the sliding glass door. Make sure it is snapped securely in place.
11. Test your sliding-glass door security bars by opening and closing your outside-track sliding glass door several times to make sure they don’t move or come out of their track. If you find that sliding-glass door security bars are not secure in their tracks, reapply the carpet to protect it from damage and readjust your sliding-glass door security bar placement.
12. Once you know that your sliding glass door security bars are firmly in place on both outer tracks, open your outside-track sliding glass door halfway. Cut a piece of carpet or foam rubber to fit between the bottom of your sliding glass door and the top of your sliding glass door security bars.
13. Push carpet or foam rubber firmly in place on each side of your sliding glass door, but do not remove it yet.
14. Position your sliding-glass door security bars with their narrow end facing up so that they will not damage your new carpet or foam rubber padding.
15. Slowly open and close your outside-track sliding glass door several times to make sure your sliding glass door security bars are securely in place on the inside tracks of your sliding glass door. If you find that they are too tight, remove them carefully, readjust their placement and try again.
16. Once you know that your sliding-glass door security bars are firmly in place on both inner tracks, remove your new carpet or foam rubber padding from your sliding glass door by pulling it out slowly. If you find that the carpet or foam rubber is difficult to remove, reapply it until you can successfully pull it from between your sliding glass door and your new sliding-glass door security bars.
17. Open your outside track sliding glass door to test the placement of the new carpet or foam rubber padding. Adjust its position if necessary. If it is too short, pull it out slowly and measure an area that will fit securely on top of the sliding glass door security bars.
18. Once you know your new carpet or foam rubber padding is securely in place on top of the sliding glass door security bars, close and latch your outside-track sliding glass door.
19. Open and close your outside-track sliding glass door a few times to check if it slides easily inside its tracks. If you find it resists sliding, remove the door, readjust your new carpet or foam rubber padding until you are satisfied with its placement.
20. Finally, close and latch your outside-track sliding glass door to test its ease of movement inside its tracks. If it still does not open or closes smoothly, repeat this entire process until you are satisfied with its sliding action.
Sliding glass door security bars can help deter intruders but they are not foolproof. Always keep in mind that the best way to protect your home is by reinforcing all entry points with security systems and locks, alarm systems, and even good lighting.