Recently a neighbor’s house was broken into through their back door. As we watched the video from the Ring doorbell, the intruder went to the front door and rang the doorbell, once realizing no one was home, he then went to the back door and busted the door in.

Because we always welcome friends and family into our homes through the front door we tend to think that is the way intruders will enter as well. Most security and safety websites focus on the front door and mention the back door as an afterthought, if at all.

Fact is, almost a quarter of break-ins occur at the back door. The problem is most people can use deadbolts, doorbell camera, a security bar or single-sided deadbolt, jamb and hinge reinforcement on their front door. But the back door, especially when we’re discussing a glass sliding door, because it is not thought of as a point of entry for an intruder, only has a standard sliding glass door lock. 

The best type of door to protect against break-ins is a solid door, either solid wood, metal or a fiberglass door. But that does not always fit in to your lifestyle or design, especially on back door. Many people like to have a sliding glass door for their back door especially if they have a pool or large patio where they like to entertain. 

The old sliding glass door (1454063839)

Sliding Glass Door

Usually these type of doors lead to a patio or balcony. Sliding doors have a fixed, stationary glass panel and a operable panel that slides horizontally across the stationary panel. 

These doors are good for letting in large amounts of natural light and gives you a large, unobstructed view of your surroundings. 

First thing I would mention about sliding glass doors is – make sure it is installed correctly. My mother has a sliding glass door and it was installed backwards so that the sliding panel was on the exterior. We had to remove the sliding panel and the fixed panel and put 

For security reasons this is a problem. Having the sliding panel on the outside makes it easier for the sliding panel to be removed. Even if the lock is engaged it will be harder to remove the sliding panel but it is still possible. As you can see from the video below, this homeowner was able to bypass the sliding door lock in seconds by pushing the lock end up and away from where the hook of the lock was engaged in the frame. 

Some people with sliding doors like to put a security bar between the door and the jamb preventing sliding the door even with the door unlocked. Having the sliding glass door installed on the exterior prevents this from being possible. 

Also, having the sliding panel on the outside will allow debris, leaves, bugs and water to collect in the track, gradually making it harder to slide the door. This will require periodic maintenance

Now that we’ve got the sliding panel on the inside how do you protect sliding glass doors from burglars?

How To Secure Sliding Glass Doors

1. Use a window film that keeps the glass intact when it is broken. It works like the glass in your car’s windshield. The glass will break but will stay intact and be very difficult for an intruder to get through. The window film comes in 30″ wide rolls. it can be found on Amazon or Home Depot.

2. Use a security bar. If for some reason the sliding door is unlocked an intruder still won’t be able to get in if a security bar is installed. Security bars work by preventing movement because it is wedged between the sliding door and sliding door frame. Most security bars come with a door knob notch that can be removed for sliding door use. Many are adjustable to fit the majority of sliding glass door sizes. The one from Ideal Security has a child-proof lock and is adjustable. 

3.Use a secondary lock. This lock is easily attachable by a beginner DIYer. It is a U-shaped metal bar that attaches to the door and the jamb. This is a secondary lock that will keep your glass sliding door from being opened if someone forgot to lock the primary lock or that lock is jimmied unlocked somehow. It can be attached anywhere on the frame and door, from floor to head, but those with small children like to use it up high as a child lock. You can get it from Amazon or Home Depot.

how to secure sliding glass doors

4. Use a vibration alarm. This alarm is very easy to install. It can be attached to a door or window with the included double sided tape. It has a 120dB alarm that is set off if the window or door is opened or vibrated. This alarm will work on any entry point to your home – door, window, sliding glass door. It can also be used as a notification alarm during the day, just set the switch to chime and it will alert you if someone enters or leaves. It can be found at Amazon or Home Depot.

Sliding glass door alarm

5. Install a double bolt lock. A double bolt lock works as a secondary lock or can even work as the primary lock. It is a bar lock. One piece attaches to the jamb, the other to the door. And when the sliding patio door is shut the frame part fits into the door part and the bar slides through both to keep it locked. These can be purchased on Amazon or from Home Depot.

Secure your back door.

Securing sliding patio doors shouldn’t bust your budget. All the items listed here are inexpensive, easy to install, and readily available. Don’t overlook the security of the sliding glass door and focus on your other doors and windows. The whole perimeter of your house should be the focus of your security and if you have a sliding glass door it might be the weakest part. 


7 Comments

RoDarrick · May 18, 2019 at 10:37 am

I am always delighted when I get a chance to read about germane issues like this as discussed in your post concerning how to secure a sliding glass door. Seriously, I have never bothered giving this a clinical thought on the need to pay serious attention to my back door, maybe because I’ve never experienced burglars. I truthfully prefer the second option offered in this post and it would be a sure topper on my list because of the price and its easy installation means.

    Bill Kiser · May 18, 2019 at 11:44 am

    The security bar is a good option but it can be used along with the other options Such as the window film. The security bar is a deterrent to opening the door but the window film will be another barrier to getting in. 

Akshay · May 17, 2019 at 8:28 am

Out of the 5 tools suggested by you, I’ve only heard of first one. I’m glad to read about so many other methods of safety. 

The tools are inexpensive and easy to install, particularly I liked the 2nd method to be installed readily in my glass sliding doors. Still I need to look further to experiment what suits the best with our home needs. 

    Bill Kiser · May 17, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    The 2nd method is a good one but that will not work if the active panel is on the exterior. Check that first. Also, you don’t have to use just method. All of these items can be used at the same time. 

Chait · May 16, 2019 at 1:24 pm

excellent info on securing the sliding doors – one of the most vulnerable points of entry for an intruder and one of the biggest concerns for the home owners as well.

I have been involved with real estate rentals for over 45 years but was not aware of the window film’s function in security – a great point you brought out.  I am definitely going to consider putting the film on my doors – all these years I was thinking the film was only to enhance the looks of the window – you taught this old dog a new lesson. – Thanks.   

    Bill Kiser · May 16, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    The window film is very helpful because if the sliding glass door is locked and they can’t get in they will try to break the glass and the film will help protect that point of entry.

Myrna Dalton · May 14, 2019 at 11:07 pm

Like most people, I have not worried, about my back sliding door. At nigh, when I head to bed, I will lock it but I hav snot worried too much about someone coming in that way. We have had several burglary’s in the neighborhood, mostly, stuff being stolen out of garages.

Looking at my sliding door, it looks like it was put in wrong, like your mother’s. I will have to fix that. I have had to clean out the track, of debris, to be able to slide open my door, now I know why. It was put on wrong. You have given some great ideas on how to secure my sliding door, thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *