Adding a dead bolt lock to a sliding door offers more protection from home invasion than the standard latch lock, but you can incorporate other safety measures as well. Doors that sit on tracks are easier to break into than a hinged door, and additional security measures give you more peace of mind and often lower your homeowner's or renter's insurance premiums.
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Slide bolts secure the movable panel to the fixed panel of a sliding glass door. Slide bolts are typically installed at the bottom and the top of the door and require a key to unlock. This type of lock is mounted on the interior of the door on the outer edge of the frame. When locked, the bolt slides into a plate mounted on the fixed panel.
A bar lock has a hinged arm that lowers across the stationary panel of a sliding door to fit into a U-shaped bracket affixed to the back of the movable panel. A key locks the bar in place, and, when not in use, the bar lifts up to fold against the sliding door. Many of these locks have a special universal key that is tied to the bracket so it doesn't get lost.
Most sliding doors come with a surface mount lock preinstalled. The lock usually is combined with the door handle and latches the sliding panel to the frame of the inside frame of the door when it is closed. If someone moves the door up and down in the track, these types of locks often come unhooked. You can replace them, but they are usually more expensive than some of the other options. Look for a surface mount lock that has a key and is made from heavy-duty steel. These locks are better if used with an alternative security measure as well.
Frame locks are mounted on the upper surface of the frame on the interior of the door. Installed on the movable panel, the frame lock bolts straight up, directly into the stationary door frame. This type of lock not only prevents the door from sliding open, but it also keeps it from coming out of the track.
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