How to Properly Secure a Sliding Glass Door

sliding glass door

When it comes to homeowners, their top priority is always ensuring the safety of their property and family. While many, love the look and convenience that a sliding glass door delivers, there are hidden security risks associated with them as well. Even with that being said, many homeowners tend to neglect to secure this point-of-entry within a home.

Since most glass sliding doors are located in the rear of a dwelling, [approximately] 22% of burglars (according to the Chicago Tribune) utilize it when embarking upon a home invasion. This default back entry way for homeowners is quite easy to break into when not properly secured. This is because most sliding doors are equipped with one lock that a professional thief can quickly bypass. According to a report from the Orlando Sentinel, the vast majority of burglars contend that they have bypassed sliding door locks with nothing more than a flat-head screwdriver.

An addition reason that sliding glass doors present a security issue for homeowners is that they are [generally] silent. This is due to the doors being void of hinges while utilizing a track that it slides along. The virtual silence that the sliding feature presents is an aspect that burglars use to their advantage when entering a home illegally.

Keep in mind that a set of sliding glass doors is no more than oversized windows that showcase your home to the world. Burglars enjoy this aspect because it allows them to “case the home” without stepping foot inside. Once a burglar has identified the sliding door as their ideal entry point, they begin to take inventory and compiling their plan of action swiftly.

What is stated above is why it is imperative that all homeowners ensure that the sliding glass doors within their homes are properly secured. This can be done on your own or with the assistance of a professional security company. The following will enlighten you to a variety of things that can be done to ensure properly secure sliding glass doors.

Test the Lock

The vast majority of sliding doors are equipped with a lock on the inside of it relatively close to its handle. Therefore, as a precaution, you will need to lock the door and attempt [firmly] to open the door from the outside. If there is no budge while testing the lock, you and your doors are in good shape. Should you notice a slight give or you note that the door becomes visibly open, you need to have the lock repaired post haste. Additionally, you may want to consider enlisting the services of a professional locksmith to enhance the door frame and the lock.

Install a Slide-Locking Bar/Dowel Rod

This is a relatively simple installation process, and it delivers an increased level of security within minutes. A slide locking bar can be a slab of wood or a metal bar that you may have lying around your garage, etc. Simply, ensure that the item used can fit into the track of the door on the inside of the home. The key to a proper dowel rod is to measure the length of the track and ensure that the rod is no more than a half of an inch shorter than the track. For tracks that are quite narrow, it is best to utilize a triangular rod. Once the door has been locked at the end of the night, simply place the slide-locking bar into the track.

This is a measure that will keep the door from being breach even should someone pick the lock of the sliding glass door. Even if you have an alarm system, this security measure will ensure that no one can or will enter your home as the authorities respond.

Track Maintenance

Most of us are quite familiar with what occurs when the tracks of a sliding door become broken or jammed. There is no longer fluid movement, and it is plausible that the door can come completely off its track. Poor maintenance of the door track can result in injury as well as the compromising of your home’s overall security. Should a burglar be able to remove a door from its track easily, access to your home and belongings would be as easy to them as breathing. Therefore, it is important that you must clean the door’s track routinely as a preventative measure.

A Security Sensor

By definition, a security sensor alerts you when your sliding glass door has been opened without your knowledge/permission. An alarm will sound loudly alerting you to the perimeter breach or an alarm notification is sent directly to your alarm monitoring company. Check here for a list of home security systems with monitoring.

A Shatter Alarm

sliding glass door shatteredThis type of an alarm is an addition that can be added to your current home security system. This alarm will detect both vibrations as well as the breaking of your door’s glass. This is an alarm that will alert you IMMEDIATELY should the glass in your sliding door get broken. This is an alarm that is most beneficial to homeowners who’s sliding glass door as in basements or other low traffic areas of their homes. In instances, such as this, it may be days before you would notice the breach, the alarm eliminates the time lapse.

Use Metal Washers or Sheet Metal Screws

By inserting a metal washer or screw into the track itself or the top of the door frame, you will help to prevent the door (or the window) from being lifted out of the frame. The items act as a “stopper”’ that keeps the glass from being lifted past that height. You will need to ensure that the glass is still able to slide smoothly before securing the screw or washer into place.

Utilize Heavier Locks

The lock that is attached to a sliding glass door consists of a hook-shaped latch that holds onto the door frame. These are locks that tend to be unreliable and easily forced open with nothing more than a screwdriver or hard pull or shake. Granted a dowel rod or a slide-locking bar can help with this security risk, so can a heavy-duty lock. There are heavier locks that are designed [specifically] for sliding glass windows and doors that will actually enhance your home security.

These are locks that tend to be harder to tamper with and double-bolted as compared to standard sliding door locks.

Eliminate Shrubbery

Homeowners love to ensure that their home is aesthetically pleasing and appealing both inside and out. With that being said, they tend to often become their own worst enemy and an ally to burglars. It is fervently imperative not to obscure your home’s sliding glass doors or windows with trees, bushes, shrubs or more. Shrubbery around the doors will do nothing more than allow a burglar to lie in wait for their ideal opportunity to enter your home.

Remember the Door Frame

When it comes to the security of any entry point, it is important to not forget about its frame. With a single swift kick, a weak or compromised door frame will give way allowing a burglar to enter your home. More often than not, homeowners tend to overlook cracks and more within door frames, leaving their home vulnerable to invasion. It is best to install (or have installed) a box strike. This is a steel pocket that holds the bolt aspect of a deadbolt lock.

Additionally, you will want to reinforce the doorjamb with steel that is galvanized. This combination will be a formidable barrier against kicks, shoulder thrusts and more.

Install Security Cameras

According to recent statistics, only an average of 17% of homes are outfitted with security systems within the United States. Additionally, it has been reported that homes void of such systems find themselves burglarized 300% more times than those attached to systems. It does also need to be noted that most break-ins occur during the day when most homeowners are away at work. This is where a security camera system will serve as an ideal security option.

Light it Up

Every 13 seconds within the United States, a home is burglarized. Due to this, you will certainly want to properly and efficiently secure your home’s sliding glass door. The simplest manner to secure the door and deter potential intruders is to illuminate the area around the door itself. Timed interior lighting is also an effective deterrent. This is due to burglars using interior lighting as a sign of activity inside.

When using lighting as a security measure, do note that it must be utilized daily. Many homeowners make the mistake of only using this method when on vacation, which does little to prevent a burglary once you have returned to your daily routines.

Incorporate Full Coverage Curtains

Full coverage curtains are essential. They prevent potential intruders from having the ability to “case” your home and plan their entry. Additionally, it keeps anyone from actually knowing when someone is home and when they are not. It is that uncertainty that keeps robber at bay.

Reinforce the Glass with Film

It is quite simple to transform a sliding glass door into an invisible barrier against burglary with a clear film. The film is comprised of a polyester material that is transparent while able to strengthen the glass within your sliding door. With such a film, the glass within the door become [virtually] shatter resistant. This film can sustain violent and repeated blows to the glass causing headache and destroying hopes for potential intruders.

Replace Slider

If your sliding glass door is no longer secure in itself, your best option may be to replace the slider. The best defense against a compromised entryway is for it to be tightly fit within its frame. When replacing the slider, be certain to utilize a frame that is heavy-duty. Utilize a professional for this as a guarantee that all aspects are done properly and under warranty.


Chain-linking the handles of your sliding glass door works best when incorporating a rather short and taut chain link through each handle then locking them together. This method will ensure that parting the door will be impossible. For sliding glass doors that only open to a single side only, you will need to enlist the assistance of a professional.

Also Note

None of these additional security methods are 100% burglar proof. Make sure that your home security is one of your greatest priorities. It helps to constantly be on the lookout for security issues that need to be rectified and updated.

You can employ the same methods above on many windows within your home. Just be careful to scale them down to size because the same bar you use for your sliding doors will probably not fit in your window.

Some of the more conventional ways of securing your doors are to improve the locks on the door and also to integrate the door into your monitored home alarm system if you have one.

In attempting to make your sliding doors more secure make sure that you still have ease of access to and from your home in case of an emergency. It will help to work on a home safety plan that incorporates these new additions (if you use them) just to make sure everyone is on the same page. The goal is to keep them out, not you, and we also don’t want to have you trapped in your home. That would be horrible.

In Conclusion

It is true that sliding glass doors can present a greater security risk when compared to traditional windows and doors, but it does not have to. With the proper amount of knowledge, due diligence, and tools, you will be able to secure your sliding doors with ease properly. Regardless of the measures that you use to secure the entry way, it is imperative to check the door each night to ensure all measures are in place and working properly. There are some that may want to nothing more than remove their doors or board them up due to fear of it becoming breached. This is fervently unnecessary due to the array of security measures that are available.