Burglars and Intruders
Burglars or other intruders gain entry through sliding glass doors or sliding windows by forcing them open or lifting them off of their tracks. They are also able to break single-pane glass. That is why patio door security is an important part of your home protection plan.
In fact, the visibility of your security measures may be all that is needed to deter a burglar or intruder. Quick and quiet entry is their modus operandi, and a well-secured sliding glass patio door will not be quickly or quietly accessed.
One means of securing your sliding glass door is by installing a security bar. Security bars can be as simple as a piece of pipe or conduit cut to size (1/4 inch shorter than the length of the exposed door track when the door is closed) and placed in the door track so that the door cannot be slid open. Even a broomstick can be used for this purpose.
You can also purchase security bars that have a locking device, which are able to withstand up to 1,000 pounds of force. Another form of security bar is one that is installed on the doorjamb and swings down into a bracket on the edge of the door to lock the bar in place. What is nice about this type of security bar is that it can be adjusted to any width so that you can have the door partially open and still have the security of no one being able to enter. It is also very visible from the outside, which is a deterrent in itself.
Sliding glass patio doors come with a built-in lock. However, most of these locking systems are soft or brittle and can easily snap or break when forced. You can have a locksmith install a better lock for you, thereby increasing the security of your door. If you will need a key to open this lock, make sure that you have a key near the door in case you need to exit quickly (due to an emergency such as a fire).
Sliding screens on patio doors have a very flimsy locking system, and you should not rely on this to keep anyone from entering your home. If you have the glass door open and the screen locked, someone can easily force the screen door open or even cut the screen to gain entry into your home.
If your sliding door has single-pane glass, you may want to consider replacing the glass with polycarbonate or wire-embedded glass. However, it may be less expensive to install a new sliding door than to replace the glass. If you choose to replace the door, look for one that has double-pane glass (thermopane).