How To Secure Sliding Glass Patio Doors

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 Wal-Mart 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. 

If you have a french door instead of a sliding glass patio door there are ways to secure that french door as well.

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27 thoughts on “How To Secure Sliding Glass Patio Doors

  1. The segment of your article that talked about the different kinds of double locks you can use for sliding doors really caught my attention. If there’s anything that I want to make sure of when I use these kinds of doors for my patio, is that we can enjoy the views without compromising our safety. To make sure I do this, I’ll install these locks you recommended after I get a glass door company to help us install some sliding models.

    1. Good to hear. These types of doors are nice to have for the view they provide and easy in and out access but they are more difficult to secure than a traditional door. But these are a few of the things that will help to make it more secure.

  2. Secure all your doors with locks and alarms regardless of what kind of door you may have. Also have it check regularly to avoid problems such as intruders that might see the chance of breaking in into your house.

  3. I have heard that sliding doors are the easiest doors to break into, and it is such a pity as they are so convenient and attractive. The security bar and window film are excellent ideas, but I would say an alarm may only act as a warning. If you go and look when the alarm goes off, you stand the risk of getting attacked.

    1. There are some products discussed that are meant to prevent and delay an intruder. Others are there to alert you to the problem so you can take precautions. 

  4. Hello Bill,
    As you explain, we always ensure very well the entrance door of our house. In my case the thieves entered my house one night at the bottom, where we have our garden and garage. 

    We need to cover a window about 4 meters long. It is completely glass with a door in its center 2 meters high. I will thank you for telling me what protection system you would recommend. 

    Thank you!

  5. Thank you for this vital information on how to secure sliding glass patio doors. Though I do not yet have a home with a sliding glass door, I am considering on building an extension and placing a sliding glass door leading to a patio deck I will build as part of the extension to my backyard.

    I like the tip about using the vibration alarm. That is one option I will definitely consider. Another option is the window film. I now want to use that on all of my existing ground floor windows for added protection. When I apply the film to the glass, do I apply it to the inside surface, the outside surface, or both?

    1. It only needs to go on the interior side of the window. It won’t keep the glass from breaking, no film will, it just keeps it from falling apart after breaking. Which prevents intruders from being able to get access.

  6. Thank you for the post. It is useful advice for me. My house back door is a sliding glass door. Although we live in a safe area, it is time for us to take a precaution action and prevent the potential intruders from entering our house.

    I like your advice on How To Secure Sliding Glass Doors. Some of them are simple and possibly cheap to do, such as using a window film. I am going to check out this on Amazon or Home Deport and will add window film to our glass doors as soon as possible. Others sounds also easy to do. I bookmarked your webpage and will study them in detail.

    It is kind of you sharing this valuable information with us.

  7. Wow this is incredible information to possess. A sliding glass door when it continuously slides off the track can be a nuisance. Growing up we had a heavy glass door that would always do this, and we went years without doing anything about it. It would have been nice to see this post then! A faulty sliding glass door can also be an invitation to burglars, so you can never be too safe. It’s good to know that almost a quarter of break-ins happen at the back door. I think a security bar is a brilliant idea. Also I appreciate your other 3 recommendations. I know some people who would find this information and your links very useful and I will share it with them for sure, thanks for a great post on an important and often underestimated part of a home in a sliding glass door, well done!

    1. Thank you. I appreciate the nice comments. I do think the security of these doors is sometimes overlooked leading to vulnerabilities. Securing the back door should be just as important as the front door.

  8. Your tips on how to secure the sliding doors are really good. I didn’t know about theft in relation to back doors. I think this is very good to learn and to see that I can secure my sliding door better with this tips. I would really consider getting another lock. Sounds like very good idea to me. Do you think smart locks will go with my sliding door?

    1. I haven’t seen any smart locks for sliding glass doors but I have seen electronic locks like this one by Lockey. It is a surface mounted hook bolt lock and takes a push button code. It is all mechanical, no electricity and no batteries.

  9. You have shared some very important issues here and I know that very many people would benefit from this. The factor that burglary theft is getting too much and rampant, we must make sure that we are making judicious use of all these information. I know most people would have structured  their sliding glass doors to face outside and that is bad. Such a great one you have shared here and I value it a lot. Thanks for sharing information on the sliding glass patio door. Cheers

  10. Ive never given attention to this kind of issue before maybe before I have never been robbed. Thank you so much for giving this much information on sliding glass door. To be honest, I really fancy all of this because it has addressed a very significant issue concerning our daily living and safety. This is great to know of. 

  11. This is very very good. I wouldn’t mind trying out these tips you have given on sliding doors. I think the vibration alarm is a must-have for me because it’s cool. I can easily be alerted when a thief is looking to break in. You’re very right that most break-ins happen from the back door. Do you think that a sliding door should be at the front or at the back?

    1. Some people do have sliding glass doors in the front but primarily they are used as a back door or a door at a porch or deck.

  12. Such a good topic to make an article. Especially in our today’s world where people don’t really pay attention to how their houses are built and the dangers of not having some type of security. I know a person who always leaves their front door open even if they’re going out just for the simple fact that they have a dog

  13. 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.

    1. 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. 

  14. 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. 

    1. 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. 

  15. 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.   

    1. 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.

  16. 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.

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