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Security Hacks

6 Best Ways to Improve Sliding Door Security (with Photos)

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Sliding door in a kitchen

If you want to keep intruders out of your house, reinforcing your sliding door should definitely be one of the first tasks on your list. In this article, I’ll show you my favorite methods that I have been applying successfully for many years now.

Sliding doors are, without a doubt, one of the weakest points of a house. In most cases, the standard lock on them provides no real protection, even novice burglars can easily bypass them.

Check out this short video to have an idea of what I’m talking about:

YouTube video

It took less than 30 seconds for that guy to bypass the lock and get into the house.

Fortunately, there are quite a few reliable methods you can use to secure your sliding door and prevent home invasions. Below, I’ll show you the most effective ones that will help you take home security to the next level.

Burglars can get into a house through a sliding glass door in three main ways:

  • Exploiting the vulnerabilities of the lock.
  • Breaking the glass.
  • Lifting the door out of its track.

Bypassing the lock is probably the most common way crooks get through a sliding door, so it’s a good idea to start by fixing that issue. You’ll find the most common types of sliding glass door locks in this article. I highly suggest that you have a look at that article and skim it to know exactly what are your options.

1. Use a Security Bar

A sliding door with a security bar attached to itPin

You can easily and effectively reinforce a sliding glass door with a security bar. It’s a simple device (similar to a dowel but easily adjustable) that won’t let the door slide open even if the lock is broken.

There are security bars that require no installation. This security bar from Master Lock is a good example. It works without having to drill any holes in the jamb or wall.

All you have to do is place the security bar into the track of the sliding door (don’t forget to remove the top piece) then adjust its length and you’re done.

If you like simplicity and want to avoid any drilling and screwing I highly recommend you check out the Master Lock Security Door Bar.

Another highly effective option is Ideal Security Patio Door Security Bar (check out current pricing here). Installation is only a few minutes of work.

You just have to fix one end of the security bar to the door jamb and a steel saddle bracket (that will hold the other end of the bar) to the back end of the sliding panel. Altogether you will have to use five screws to install the device.

One of its major benefits is that it can’t be removed by shaking the door since it’s screwed into the jamb and the panel. This feature provides an advantage over pressure mounted security bars.

I really like that it allows me to partially open the door for ventilation without having to worry about security.

Another plus is that it’s childproof. If you don’t mind a little DIY, I definitely recommend you get this model.

Pro Tip: If you’re on a budget but still want to improve sliding door security, you can use a simple dowel instead of a security bar. Usually, a wood dowel is your best bet because it’s more durable than a plastic one but still easy to cut to size.

To secure your sliding patio door all you have to do is to place the dowel into the track between the door jamb and the sliding panel. If you cut it to the right size, it can be nearly as effective as pressure mounted security bars.

Did you know that most intruders use the front door to get into a house? You can find all the best methods to make yours burglar-proof in this article. Make sure you check it out!

2. Install a Security Barricade

Nightlock sliding door barricadePin

Installing security bars (especially if you use the screwed ones) is a reliable way to keep your sliding door securely closed.

But what if you want to secure your patio door in a less obtrusive way? This is where security barricades come in.

They’re quite small and discrete devices that can be installed within a few minutes. Note that security barricades work only on sliding doors that operate on the interior side of the fixed panel.

Nightlock Patio Sliding Door Barricade is a patented product sold at an affordable price. You can find some really convincing reviews on Amazon (check them out here), so I’m definitely not the only one who finds this device exceptionally useful.

It’s made of solid, extruded aluminum and can be mounted on most types of floors (including concrete, ceramic tile, and marble). It consists of two pieces: you have to anchor the base to the floor and when you want to secure your sliding door you just have to slide in the barrier itself with a single motion.

The Nightlock barricade uses the strength of the floor so it provides reliable protection.

Keep in mind that door barricades are installed on the floor so you’ll have to bend each time you want to activate or deactivate them. This might be a concern for those who suffer from severe back pain or mobility issues.

FYI – If you like DIY stuff, we’ve collected some simple home security hacks in this article.

3. Secure Your Sliding Door with an Armor Latch

Armor Concepts AML-SDD-10000 Series Armor Latch Sliding Glass Door Deadbolt-105707

It’s one of my favorite methods to burglar-proof a sliding patio door because it’s so convenient to use and also because it’s an unobtrusive yet professional solution. An Armor Latch is pretty easy to install. It consists of a fixed piece and another one that screws onto the door.

You can install the device at a height that is comfortable for you. If you want to secure your door, you can do it with a single motion. There’s no need to use any key.

Besides securely locking the door, the Armor Latch sliding door deadbolt also prevents burglars from lifting the door out of its track (similarly to a hinge bolt in the case of a front door). So you can kill two birds with one stone.

The same can’t be said about the previously mentioned security solutions. This security device usually costs a few bucks more than the other solutions out there but I still think it’s reasonably priced for what it does.

If I could choose only one device to reinforce my sliding door, I would opt for the Armor Latch.

Check out the current price on the official website here.

If you need to lock a sliding door without a lock, check out these simple methods.

4. Add a Security Window Film

An open sliding patio door with a balcony and two chairsPin

As we’ve previously discussed, sliding glass doors have several weak points. Although burglars usually don’t prefer breaking glass to get into a house because that makes a lot of noise, sometimes they will do it.

Unfortunately, you can’t reinforce the glass panel of your sliding door with latches, barricades, or security bars. You can switch to safety glass, such as laminated glass, which is very hard to break through but it would be a pretty costly solution.

A more budget-friendly option would be to add a security window film to the glass. It works by preventing the glass from shattering and it also holds the broken parts together.

A good-quality and thick enough security film can make it really exhausting and hard to break through the glass panel. In the vast majority of cases, crooks will simply give up before they get into the house (or they get noticed).

It’s important to note that not all window security films are created equal. Avoid poor-quality ones because those will simply give you a false sense of security.

3M products are usually pretty reliable and widely available. Installation can be a little tricky and if you don’t have any experience, it might not be the best idea to do it without any professional help (it’s not easy to do it yourself so you will probably need an assistant anyway).

Many people forget that windows are often as easy to bypass as sliding doors. You’ll find our best tips on how you can improve window security effectively in this article.

5. Improve Privacy

Sliding door with vertical blindsPin

I really enjoy having a sliding glass door because it lets so much light into the living room. However, it has its drawbacks: it provides a great view for anyone into the house and that could be a real security concern.

Criminals can easily look in through a sliding glass door and see all the stuff inside, including TV, smartphones, antique items, and other valuables. Unfortunately, that often can be very inviting.

By improving privacy, you can easily prevent burglars from seeing inside your home. There are many types of window covering you can use: blinds, draperies, shades, verticals, etc. If you’re on a budget, you can put a privacy window film on your sliding glass door, such as this non-adhesive one.

6. Install a Door Alarm and a Glass Break Sensor

Glass break sensorPin

This one shouldn’t be your first step to secure your sliding door, however, it can be a useful addition if you’ve already reinforced the door itself.

There are many models on the market but if you want to get one on the cheap, a magnetic door alarm and a simple peel and stick glass break sensor can be one of your best bets. Of course, if you have a home alarm system, you’ll be fine without this step.

A magnetic door alarm is a simple device powered by batteries (so no need for wiring) that consists of two pieces: a magnet and a sensor. You have to install them in a way so that when someone opens the sliding door, the two pieces are getting farther apart which activates the alarm.

It’s a great and inexpensive burglar deterrent. I think it’s worth considering getting one because installation is pretty straightforward and it adds another layer of security to your patio door.

A glass break sensor comes in handy when intruders want to break through the glass panel of the door without opening it (so the door alarm won’t be activated). It’s inexpensive, runs on batteries and it’s very easy to install: you just have to peel and stick it to the glass.

It detects vibration and if that exceeds the threshold limit, the alarm gets activated. If you don’t have a security film installed, using a glass break alarm can help you keep the bad guys out because it also works as a deterrent (there’s a warning sticker on the back of it).

Prevention has a huge role in making your home more secure. Check out our article on how you can successfully deter burglars on the cheap.

In Summary

Securing your sliding door is a very important element of home security. It’s usually quite easy to break through a standard sliding glass door and burglars have several possibilities if they want to get into your home: bypassing the lock, lifting the door out of its track, or breaking the glass. The good news is that you can prepare for each scenario by installing the right security device without breaking the bank.

We’ve discussed quite a few methods to reinforce your sliding door and they’re all very effective against criminals. That’s why they’re on this list. Usually, you’ll get the best result if you use two or three of them in combination with each other.

If you decide to install only one security device, I suggest that you choose the Armor Latch. Here’s why: it’s a durable device that besides securely locking your door, also prevents attacks aimed at lifting the sliding door out of its track. It’s usually more than enough for crooks to give up trying and take to their heels.

Photos: Wikimedia (Mx. Granger, Echoray)

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About the Author

James Mora is the founder of DailyHomeSafety. He is a home improvement expert, contractor, avid DIYer, and security manager. He is passionate about home repairs, remodeling, and teaching. Read More

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