How to Improve Sliding Glass Door Security

How to Improve Sliding Glass Door Security

September 23, 2017
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door
Sliding Glass Windows

After work, you go home only to find your sliding glass door smashed to pieces. You look around and notice your flat screen TV, laptop, emergency money, and jewelry are gone. You’re devastated. How could burglars get through your sliding glass door security into your house so easily? How could this situation happen?

The truth is,  good sliding glass door security is important to deter burglars and reduce the chances of a break-in.

Yes, you still can enjoy the aesthetic benefits of your sliding glass doors—the natural light flooding through, the appearance of a larger space.

You just need some sliding glass door security tips to fortify your door. Read on to learn what you can do to improve your sliding glass door security efforts.

Sliding Glass Door Security 101: What Are the Vulnerabilities?

Sliding glass doors have some vulnerabilities, arguably the largest one being its clear view into the house.

Burglars who are assessing target homes can simply look through the glass to see if people are inside. Not to mention, they can see if there are any valuables are inside.

Remember, while the sliding door may appear stable, it still is made of glass—a shatter-able material. When burglars see that no one is in the house, and there is little sliding glass door security, they can easily smash the glass with a brick or other sharp object.

With no alarm system in place, they can then easily steal valuables without a trace.

Sliding glass doors with a typical standard lock makes a quiet entry easy to accomplish. All burglars have to do is pick the lock and/or lift the door off of its tracks. And, within minutes, they’re inside.

Approaches to Sliding Glass Door Security

To ensure you have adequate sliding glass door security, it is best to use a variety of safety measures instead of just one.

That way, should a burglar be able to get through one of the defenses, there’s another in place.

Consider having not just one lock but multiple locks. Combine this with an alarm system and dowel for ample security.

(We’ll get more into detail about security features you can use to bolster your sliding glass door security.)

But First…Inspect your sliding glass door to see if it has been installed correctly.

You don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on sliding glass door security devices when burglars can still quickly take off the door from the track. Or unscrew the brackets that were installed on the outside.

What You Need to Look For in Sliding Glass Door Security

Ideally, they should install your sliding glass door on the inside of the track, unlike the door that doesn’t move which is stationed on the outside.

That way, burglars can’t easily pull the sliding door from the track. Think of the immobile door as a layer of protection for your sliding door.

Fiberglass Doors Can Be Found at a Local Milgard Showroom

This goes for anything else that has been installed on the outside but isn’t supposed to be—such as brackets, which secure the doors.

With brackets, you don’t want the screws to be drilled in on the outside. Put it this way, if they were drilled in on the outside, they could be drilled out on the outside as well.

The same goes for door jambs or any other type of sliding glass door security feature that they install on the outside.

Also, check where the immobile door and sliding door meet. Are the doors easy to pull apart? If that’s the case, you can bet burglars will do this to gain access to your house.

As a sliding glass door security precaution, put yourself in the shoes of a burglar.

Think Like a Burglar

Ask yourself, how could you break in through the sliding glass door?

Then make the proper adjustments, so it takes you longer to come up with answers. Get help from other family members in brainstorming entry points and ways to fortify them.

You can also call a professional to inspect the sliding glass door for you to see if the door is poorly installed or not.

Now that you know about the several vulnerabilities in your sliding glass door security, read on to see what you can do to fix them!

Window Film and Blinds

A window film is a thin layer that protects the glass from shattering everywhere. You can apply the film on the inside or outside; we recommend that you do both for better protection

How to Install Window Film

Once you purchase the film and clean the sliding glass door, cut the film so that it is about a half-inch larger than the glass.

Spray some water on the glass. Then apply the film. (Make sure you peel off the film backing before applying the film.)

Then push bubbles and smooth the film. After that, cut the edges so that the film fits your sliding glass door.

(Know that the instructions may differ depending on the film you buy.)

Why Invest in Window Film?

A window film will hold the shattered glass in place if the burglar smashes your sliding door with a sharp object.

While it won’t prevent the sharp object from breaking the glass, it will make it harder for the burglar to get past it.

Delays and obstacles such as this could be the point between a successful break-in and the burglar deciding it’s too risky.   Therefore, it will improve your sliding glass door security


Blinds or curtains are a great add-on for two reasons. One, the right colored fabric can be a good aesthetic feature to your house. Two, blinds or curtains give you privacy.

You can (and should) pull down the blinds or curtains when leaving the house or going to bed increasing your sliding glass door security.

Having and utilizing blinds makes it harder for burglars to see if your house is a real target.

Dowels, Door Bars, and Locks

Milgard Exterior Doors in San Diego

A dowel can be wooden, metal, or plastic. The dowel prevents burglars from opening up your sliding door completely.

You’ll want to position the dowel on the track. The length of the dowel should only give a quarter-inch of room. If it gives more, burglars may still be able to weasel their way into your house.

You can also install dowels to windows and other doors where your house is at its most vulnerable.

Door Bars

Similar to dowels, door bars are professionally made bars meant to prevent burglars from entering. Again, for the same reason, you don’t want the door bar to give more than a quarter-inch of room.

No matter whether you invest in a dowel or door bar, you’ll want to make sure burglars see it but can’t access it from the outside.


Since standard locks are easy to pick, you’ll want to double up to ensure your sliding glass door security is at its best.

Consider installing a sliding bolt lock and an auxiliary lock for your sliding glass door security. The extra lock will give the burglar one more lock to pick. The added delay could scare off the burglar from going through with the break-in.

The sliding bolt lock will help make sure the burglar isn’t able to quickly pull the door off of the track and silently break in.

(If you don’t know how to install locks, it may be best to look to a professional for assistance.)

Alarms and Security Systems

Should a burglar successfully break in through the sliding glass door, you want a second layer of defense to scare them away.

This is where alarms and security systems come into play. To bolster your sliding glass door security, install motion and glass-break sensors close to the sliding glass door to ensure it picks up on the burglar’s movement.

Consider sensors with loud alarms to make the burglar feel uncomfortable and unwelcomed.

You’ll also want to add a standard security system which alerts authorities of intruders. Place signs in the front of your house to let burglars know your house is a much harder target.

Other Ways to Make Your House Safe

On top of using these safety features, stay alert. Notice any suspicious-looking cars or people frequenting your street.

Communicate with your neighbors to see if they know the individuals or cars. And give each other the latest updates—such as a suspicious door-to-door sales person asking about security systems.

(As a word of caution, burglars may pose as salespeople selling security systems. This is an opportunity for them to rule out who has a security system and who doesn’t. Even if you don’t have a security system in place, always tell door-to-door salespeople that you do.)

Also, make sure you pick up trash around your house, as some burglars use the debris as a code to notify which houses are good targets.

Lastly, don’t leave expensive items in front of the sliding glass door. This can be a sign to burglars that there are valuables in the house.

Final Thoughts on Sliding Glass Door Security

Boosting your sliding glass door security will help deter intruders from breaking into your house.

By being proactive, you can reduce the chances that your home will be a target.

For more information about sliding glass door security, check out our blog. If you have comments or questions about sliding glass door security or any of your replacement door needs, contact US Window & Door today