How to secure a sliding patio door

Written by jody l. campbell
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When sliding patio doors first became popular, it wasn't long until would-be burglars exposed the vulnerability of the doors. People placed jamb bars to prevent the doors from being open after the locks were picked, but burglars rarely slid the doors open to gain unlawful entry. Lifting the door and removing it all together was quicker, quieter and easier than picking locks or smashing glass. Since then, the sliding glass door has been reinvented, adding more security features and making it harder for burglars to remove.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sliding glass door jamb bar with swinging hinge and saddle
  • 6 1-1/2-inch large pan head screws or large head self-tapping screws
  • Hand drill
  • Drill bits
  • Interior deadbolt lock for sliding glass door
  • Tempered, laminated or screen-reinforced glass replacement
  • Alarm sign or sticker
  • Keyed interior sliding door lock

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  1. 1

    Have the glass replaced in the sliding patio door with a tempered, laminated or internal-screen-reinforced glass. This may cost money and will have to be done by professionals, but it will deter the frustrated would-be burglar from smashing the glass and gaining entry.

  2. 2

    Place a professional "alarm on premises" sign or sticker on the glass so it can be seen from would-be burglars. Professionally installed alarm systems offer these to advertise their business and deter burglars. Even if an alarm system is not a viable option, a sticker or sign indicating there is one in place will deter some burglars.

  3. 3

    Open the sliding patio door all the way. Screw six 1-1/2-inch large pan head screws or self-tapping screws into the upper door track. Use a drill and a small bit to make a pilot hole. Eyeball the measurement of the screws to the top of the door. Screw them in only far enough so the door will operate properly without striking them, but leave them out far enough to prevent the door from being lifted off the track. Spread the distance between the screws evenly.

  4. 4

    Install a swinging hinged door jamb bar to the interior side rail of the sliding patio door. Install the saddle hardware to the interior patio door frame, aligning it to allow the end of the door jamb to rest properly in the saddle. Again, use the hand drill and bit to make a pivot hole to install the jamb and saddle for metal doors and rails.

  5. 5

    Install a keyed interior sliding door lock at the bottom of the interior track for extra protection. Although the door jamb bar will virtually do the same thing, this will give the door extra reinforcement, if desired. Again, use the drill and drill bit to make pilot holes for the hardware screws of the door lock if installing to a metal door.

  6. 6

    Replace the interior lock or an exterior keyed lock to the patio door with an interior sliding glass door deadbolt lock. This may be an inconvenience if the door is used as a point of entry to the house, but interior deadbolt locks offer the burglar nothing to pick open.

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