DIY French Door Security: How to Make it Impenetrable to Thieves!

Thief apartment studying security system of a new house

French doors have always been an attractive addition to homes, but they aren’t necessarily the safest, so what can you do to make it safer for you and your family? With family members that have these doors, I wanted to help make sure that they would be watched over.

How do you make French Doors more secure? There are many options that you can choose for securing your French Door, but here’s a list of the most common options:

  • Locks
  • Latches
  • Screen
  • Security bars
  • Impact-resistant glass
  • Indoor hinges

These are just a few things that we’re able to mention, but if you were to continue reading, I plan on going a little more in depth as to what you can specifically do and purchase with this. So keep reading!

Why French Doors?

When you think of French doors, your first thought may be of how much light they let into the room and how pleasing to the eye they are. Little do you know that burglars find them just as appealing.

French doors have a lot of glass, which can be an easy smash-and-grab run for someone looking for some fast cash. The seam at the middle of double French doors is also easily opened. This is exactly the reason that we want to secure them.

Luckily, you can still have these beautiful doors in your home and be secure. That’s the main point of this article is to be able to offer some help in securing your home so you can feel even safer than before.

With all the windows and the flimsy frame around the glass at times, there’s really no choice but to make sure that you secure your French doors. This is just a no-brainer really, in order to make your house even safer than before.

These doors are targeted even by inexperienced burglars. Most of the side and back French doors are targeted as well, simply because people will think that they don’t need any protection if they have doors in the back of their house.

That’s the first place they will look if they know you have the potential for French doors.

The reason that these are such a targeted item is that there’s a weak spot where the doors come together, there’s really no support there. This results in something that can easily be opened by something as simple as a kick to the center, not to mention the glass panels.

What Locks Will Secure My French Door?

When you’re looking at locks for your doors, it’s smart to have a deadbolt, one that has long screws which will help make it a little more difficult to separate. The suggested length is about an inch for the bolt itself.

There are also things that are called Mortise locks that are embedded in the door, rather than being something that is just attached to the door. This type of lock needs to have a space created for it in the door so that the device can be installed correctly.

You can choose between a normal deadbolt, or you can go with a double-cylinder one, which requires a key on both sides of the door. This is a safe option as well, but you need to be sure that you’re aware of all the places the keys are in and who has them.

If someone was to try to break through the window, with a normal deadbolt they would be able to just turn the lock and break inside, but with a double-cylinder, since a key is required for both sides, they wouldn’t be able to do that and get in as easily.

Adding a strike plate to the door is smart as well, one that has long screws, at least 3 inches, and the plate to be about 18 inches thick. That way you can be sure that you have a secure strike plate in place for safety.

For the last suggestion, you can get a three-point locking mechanism that will lock the top and bottom of the doors at the same time, just by locking the actual door. That way you have some added strength to the frame of the door, as well as the meeting place of the doors.

By taking this precaution and adding these locks to your door and your home, you’re taking the actions towards protecting your home, which is something that we all want to do. But you’re still able to have your French doors look elegant.

What Kind of Glass is Best in French Doors?

When you get the doors, it’s important that you take special notice of what kind of glass you’re putting in. The normal and tempered glass is still something that’s obviously easy to break.

One thing that you can do is to get some hurricane-rated or laminated glass. When you’re doing this, you can also add a steel frame, just to add to the strength.

With hurricane-rated glass, they are tested and are able to resist being broken through. The reasoning behind this is the plastic that is within the glass. This is able to take the impact of debris and still keep the window intact.

With the hurricane-rated glass, it has been shown that during such forceful winds, things called ‘missiles’ will come and strike the glass, but it won’t break. This has also been tested with a sledgehammer. Nothing broke, and you’re able to trust that you’ll be safe.

So, in going forward and looking for the best glass, that’s ultimately the hurricane-rated glass. This is something that will really deter the burglars from trying to get into your home. Especially if they get frustrated by not being able to get through the door.

How Can Security Bars Help Keep My French Doors Closed?

We’ve talked about deadbolts, but now it’s time to talk about security bars. These are devices that go either under or above the door handles. They open like a toll road or garage gate, which makes it harder for people to get into your home since they aren’t able to lift it up as necessary.

Since there are other options for locks, there are also other options for security bars. One of those is called a floor bar, this is something that sits diagonally against your door and the floor. The pressure between the door and floor keep the bar in place.

This option isn’t necessarily the best because it takes up a bit of space, and if it’s not perfectly aligned, it’s not going to work as well. Also, if someone was going to break through one of the panels, they could easily move the stick out of the way and get into your home.

Although this last one isn’t considered a security bar, it still helps to secure your door. This one is called a slide bolt. You can find something similar in public restrooms–for instance.

This bolt can be placed at the top, bottom, or center of your door. As it’s latched, it helps to hold the doors sturdier and deter the potential for burglars to make it inside.

Besides the bolt, there is a hinge that’s attached that will go over a post on the device. With this, you can slide in a combination lock or any other lock of your choice.

What Can Changing the Hinges Do for Security?

There are some times when the doors will be installed in a way that the hinges are outside of the home. You want to make sure that the hinges are in your home. That there is no outside access to them.

There are three types of hinges that you can use in order to make your French doors safe from getting the pins of your hinges taken out:

  • Set screw hinges
  • Studded hinges
  • Non-removable pin hinges

A set screw hinge is when there’s a screw that goes into the middle of the hinge. With this, it’s not easy to access when the door is closed. But if you’re to do it yourself, be sure that you make it smooth, because when the door is open, they are able to grab at it and dismantle the pin and hinge.

Studded hinges are when you have a stud that can be placed on the side of leaf (or side of the hinge) and having it lined up with another, so when the door shuts, these meet together and if someone was to undo the hinge pins, they still wouldn’t be able to get the door off because of the stud that is holding the door together.

With non-removable pin hinges, these are typically designed for those instances when your hinges are outside. These are designed so that someone can’t come in and tap out the pin when you’re least suspecting it. This adds another level of security to your home.

There may be more hinges that you can use with your French door, but these are the most recommended if you’re really looking to protect your home as well as your doors.

You want to be sure that your French doors open outward, that way when you’re installing them, the hinges will be on the inside, which in turn will definitely help keep the hinges from being tampered with.

How Does a Screen Add to My French Doors?

When you add a screen to your doors, this adds another layer between you and the outside world. In shopping for something along these lines, you should be sure that you have doors that are welded together because this makes them stronger and more durable.

You can choose how you want to present your screen door, you can have mesh, simple screen, or have it opaque from the street and yet be able to see outside from in your home. This adds another element of privacy as well as security.

Security grills are another thing that you can add onto your door. This is something that can be added, much like a screen, but it’s certainly more durable than a screen. When they aren’t in use, they can be pulled away. This is just another option.

Screens are effective, but not as effective as something like these grills. You can hide a screen with curtains but that may not necessarily deter the burglars. These are a couple of options that you can add to your French doors and add that safety.

Typically when you’re using a screen door for your French doors, it would be when the doors open outside, but you can also use a screen when your doors are opening into your home. Even though the screen is in the open, it still adds another layer to your home.

Adding a Security Camera to French Doors

Another thing that you can do, just in case the other things don’t work as well as you hoped they would, you can install a security camera that is in the direction of the doors, that way you are able to see if someone has attempted to come in or not.

There are a lot of potential burglars that can be deterred by the presence of security systems and cameras. This is something that can just be as minor as having a siren attached to your phone that can go off when someone is attempting to break in.

Even if you were just to have it placed on the wall beside the doors, that would be better than not having any other option of monitoring the door. This is beneficial when you’re out of the house also, just being able to keep an eye on your French doors.

There are systems such as Ring and Nest that provide you with the opportunity to check your home on your mobile device, they also give you the option of sounding a siren or arming the system, these could be very beneficial to you in the long run.

If you’re wanting to add a security system to your home, you can have it so that sensors will get tripped and cause a loud noise if someone is sneaking around your home.

You can also allow your animals to have access to the area where the prowler is without setting off any alarms. This is beneficial if you have a good guard dog, or just a big dog, in general, that’s slightly intimidating.

My friend has a giant rottweiler that’s name is Frodo. He’s about as big as a small black bear and is definitely intimidating.

Be sure to get a system that has night vision so you can check at night if there are some things that feel off. This way when you have the system, you’ll still be able to show the authorities if there is someone that has trespassed and get their face.

Does the Thickness of the Door Help Protect my Home?

Having a thicker door is always a benefit to any household. Usually, French doors are made with wood, so you can invest in a thicker wood, or you can even invest in a type of metal to help with the integrity of your door. You can even get the wooden door reinforced with a steel frame if that idea sounds better to you.

You can still enjoy the beauty of your French doors with the steel frame around the wood, this actually helps to further delay those that are trying to get in.

There are options for getting metal French doors, but if you do this, be sure that there is a good reinforced center in the metal, otherwise, it can be easily compromised.

The thicker the door, the better protected you feel! With this, you’re able to basically make sure that your doors are safe with the thicker wood, as well as being able to replace the glass which will also help prevent those burglars from getting in.

With the combination of the thickness and the impact-resistant glass, your French doors will be more secure than they were when you first purchased them, or when they were installed in your home.

So when you’re looking for some new additions to your home, especially when it comes to French doors, be sure that you’re getting something that will not only just look beautiful, but that will help protect your home as well.

Secure the Inactive Door

Another thing that would add to your security is to make sure that the inactive door is locked and secured. Typically, there is one door that you would use more than the other, and by doing this, you still have access outside.

A mistake that people make is not securing the inactive door, which in turn can make it easy for a prowler to finagle their way into your home. You can secure this door with slide bolts or barrel bolts at the top and bottom of the door. Be sure that you get a good strike plate as well.

With these bolts, you’re going to have to drill into the floor and the frame in order to be able to secure your door. These bolts will slide up vertically instead of being placed horizontally on your door. Which secures the door into the home.

Patio doors are very similar to French doors, although they have one door that is forever stationary, compared to the French doors that have the option to open both sides. So, be sure that you’re looking at the right kind of door when going to secure the inactive door.

By doing this, you’re definitely going to make it harder for someone to break into your home. Especially if they were to think that all they had to do was go through the middle of the doors, and if you have impact-resistant glass, they will surely have another thing coming.

Feeling Extra?

There’s another thing that you can add to your French doors, but this is simply something that is for those who are wanting to be extra careful, and that is installing an exterior roller shutter.

By installing this, it will prevent the burglar from even approaching the door, which in turn will help with you feeling safe. It’s almost like those home systems that are seen in the movie The Purge where they slide over the doors and keep those inside safe.

But for this to actually be beneficial, it’s important that the shutter isn’t able to be opened from the outside, so it should be automatic as well as made from thick sturdy material. That’s something that’s important. You can’t just assume that wood or plastic is going to be something that will stop prowlers.

By having the sturdy material, you’re ensuring that it would be harder for the burglar to get inside, which is really the goal. Being able to protect your backyard is definitely something that is a good goal, and by having this shutter, you are certainly protecting it.

With this recommendation, as I said earlier, this is something for those that want to be extra careful. These can be a bit pricey, especially if you have to get it custom fit to your home. You have to be sure that it’s a perfect fit as well, that way there are no openings for the burglar to reach through and get in.

In order to get to your door, they would have to cut through the shutter or damage it in whatever way possible. This would take quite a while for them to do if you have the thick material, but it would also create noise, which can help alert you or your neighbors of the situation.

This option isn’t for everyone, but there is a certain feeling of protection that I feel just by looking at something like this. The other options are definitely more budget-friendly than purchasing a solid gate to keep people away.

Simple Things of Safety

If you don’t have the time to get all of these things right away, or don’t know what you will be able to do, that’s okay. There are things that you can do now that will help you gain the habits that are going to help.

The biggest one is to lock the door. That may seem like a no-brainer, but that’s something that people may not think of doing when the doors are in the back of the house.

One of the things that my family and I do before we go to sleep at night is to make sure that everything is locked up and that nothing is left open just in case. This really helps us to be able to create that feeling of safety. We have a set of French doors as well. That’s one of the things that we always double check.

Be sure that you’re locking the doors even if you’re home. A lot of burglaries surprisingly happen in daylight, as well as when the residents are home.

By doing this, you are starting to create those habits that will help in the long run. If you can, get a double cylinder deadbolt as soon as possible. That would be one of the best things if you don’t necessarily have the money for all the other things.

When it comes to the deadbolt, it’s important that you are aware of where the keys are. In case of an emergency, you want to be able to get out quick so you can get to safety.

Putting lights out by your doors that are set off by motion could be another thing that would help in preventing burglars from coming around. When the light flicks on, they could be completely caught by surprise and you could have saved your home!

It’s by doing the things that you would normally think to do that you start to really be able to feel safe in your home, and that’s the goal in the end. We want to be able to help you feel safer in your home while enjoying the beauty of your French doors.

Related Questions:

How do I protect my patio door from burglars? When you’re looking to protect your home, especially from the back, you want to be sure that you have strong glass and a strong frame. Those are the most important things that you can have when you’re worried about burglars. Get reinforced glass to help prevent breakage.

Are sliding glass doors safer than French doors? Since the invention of the French doors, patios have been safer! There were a lot of instances where people would have their sliding doors broken in, but with French doors, things have definitely become safer with this addition. So, in answer to this, French doors are actually safer than sliding glass.

Can you replace sliding glass doors with French doors? You can definitely replace your sliding glass door, but be sure that you know what you are wanting to replace it with and how you’re going to accomplish that. Installing these doors won’t be easy, so you should definitely look for help from a professional if this the way you’re going to go.

Ricky Kesler

Ricky Kesler has been an avid DIYer for years. Recently he's really taken to home security, but he has a lot of experience with all sorts of projects from Plumbing to Electrical and Framing to Tiling.

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