How to Make your Sliding Door Impenetrable

If you’re concerned about home security and you have a sliding door, you have got to get something to barricade it shut.

Sliding doors are one of the most vulnerable entry points into our homes.  The locks they put on sliding doors are barely a deterrent to people looking to break in.  Just check out the video below to see how easy it is to break into a sliding glass door.

But the good news is that they’re also easy to secure.  If you want to secure your sliding door for just a couple bucks, we told you how in our article about Home Security Hacks for Under $20.  But if you want to make your sliding door really secure, check out some of these options that are also really reasonably priced and really do the job right!

Security Bar or Barricade

The idea behind this option is that you actually make it so the door can’t slide open.  So even if someone could jimmy the lock open like you saw in the video, they won’t be able to slide the door open because there is physically something in the way.

One of the most purchased products out there for this is the Master Lock Dual Function Security Bar.  The length of this security bar is adjustable, so you just set it to the right length and lay it in the track of your sliding glass door.  With that in the way, there’s no way that door is sliding open.

My one complaint about this type of product is that the bar can be a nuisance during the day when you’re home and don’t want it blocking the door.  You have to have a place to put that thing.  It’s not that it’s huge, but it’s one more thing to clutter up the entry way.  You also have to remember to put it in the sliding door track when you leave the house or go to bed.

Another great and similar option is the Nightlock Sliding Door Barricade.  It really does the job of preventing people from getting in through your sliding door.  Whether your door is glass or not, there’s no way anyone is jiggling it open if you’ve got this installed.

Nightlock makes a lot of fantastic home security products that don’t just alert you of intruders; they actually stop people from being able to enter your home at all.  This particular product currently has 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com and is very reasonably priced for what it does.  Check out current pricing here.

Here’s the product description from Nightlock

This product works on door wall sliding doors that are mounted on the “inside” track of the door assembly and will not work on the door wall sliding door that is on the “outside” track of the door assembly. Nightlock Patio for Sliding Doors! Helps prevent home invasion & burglary! Barricade all of your doors. “Don’t Stay Home Without It!” Real security to help protect your home and family. The NIGHTLOCK PATIO uses the strength of the floor. It can withstand tremendous force. Anchored securely to the floor, NIGHTLOCK adds extra security to your Sliding Doors! Block your Patio Sliding Door with “Nightlock” to be sure! The NIGHTLOCK uses the strength of the floor.

The downsides of this product are similar to the security bar.  While this product is smaller, less noticeable, and less cumbersome than the security bar, there is still something that has to be removed during the day and then reinstalled when you want to leave the house or go to bed.  The nice thing is, in this case, that object is much smaller than the security bar.

Reinforce the Glass

Security bars and barricades are great for keeping people from opening the door.  But what about those intruders that would just break the glass?

Most modern sliding glass doors use double pane glass that’s pretty strong and really loud if you break it.  So most burglars won’t go that route for fear of being heard by homeowners or neighbors.  But for those who might be bold enough, I recommend that you use reinforced glass, or place a film on the glass that makes it unbreakable.

You can have the glass in your sliding doors changed out with a stronger glass that’s hard to break, but that can be an expensive task.  Another option is to replace your door with one that already has reinforced glass.  That’s also an expensive option.  Option 3 is to add a window film to the glass that holds the glass together, even if it gets broken.

This can increase the time it takes for an intruder to enter through a broken glass door from mere seconds, to several minutes.  They’ll be hacking at that door with a crowbar for so long, the police will probably arrive before they get through.

If you’re considering adding window film to your sliding glass door, or windows for that matter, I recommend this BDF S8MC Window Film.  It’s 8 mils thick and will definitely do the job.  It can be a bit of work to install this but it may be well worth the effort.

Lock it For Real

Let’s face it, you saw in the video above that the locks that come on sliding glass doors are almost useless.  They may work well at first but over time they get easier and easier to open from outside.

But you there are some inexpensive and easy DIY options for locking your sliding door.

You can get a bolt lock to actually hold your door shut.  The first type can go at the top of your sliding door.  You push the bold up and whamo! your door is locked.  There’s no jimmying that one open.

The Patio Guardian PDGO1 is a good options for this.

The second type is one that I really like and would highly recommend.  It’s a double bolt sliding door lock.  This one by Cal-Tech works really well.  Basically, you put the locking portion on the door at any height you want, and the receiver at the same height on the door frame.  When you want the door locked, you slide the two bolts into the receiver and your door is secure.

One of the reasons that I like this double bolt option is that intruders have other options besides breaking the glass and jimmying the lock on the door.  The third option is to actually lift the door out of its tracks.  With a decent crowbar, it’s not as hard to do as you think.  Having this double bolt to physically attach the door to the frame while it’s locked will prevent an intruder from being able to lift the door out of the tracks.

The other great things about these locks is that they don’t have any bulky parts that have to be removed and stored somewhere when you want to open the door.  Just slide the bolts out and you’re free to open and close the door at will.

Cover the Glass

My last tip is much more important than you probably think.

No matter how you decide to secure your door, it’s also important to keep people from being able to look in through your sliding glass door.  These doors give intruders a wide angle view into your house.  From there, they can scope out the living space and plan their approach.  If they can’t see inside, they will be far less likely to take the risk of breaking in and getting caught.

Some basic window coverings won’t cost you much be they’ll be well worth it.  For fantastic window coverings, great customer service, and terrific customization, I highly recommend Blinds.com.  They’re the most affordable window coverings I have found and they have a 100% guarantee that if you get the wrong size or don’t like the color, they’ll replace them for free.

In Summary

Home Invaders really like sliding glass doors.  First of all, they’re usually in the back of the house, which gives them a little more privacy to break in.  And second, they’re one of the easiest entrances to break in through.  So protect yourself.

I highly recommend you cover your sliding glass door with a window covering.  Whether it’s blinds or curtains, it’ll be a great deterrent to breaking in to your home.  Second, I recommend you get a better locking system for your door.  Whether you go with a barricade, commercial lock, or both you’ll actually keep people out much more effectively.  And if you’re really concerned about crime in your area, reinforcing the glass may be a good option for you in addition to the others.

Whatever you do, keep in mind where you live and what risks there are to your home, family, and possessions.  Then, do what you think is best to keep them all safe.

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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