Glass Door Security Options
It’s a trade-off.
On the one hand, you get plenty of natural light and are able to enjoy the scenery outside.
But on the other hand, you sacrifice at least some security, as it’s easier to break than solid wood, metal or fiberglass.
Most of us have at least one of them, whether it’s a sliding door to the backyard, or a front, back, or garage door with decorative windows. It makes for a great aesthetic, but it does reduce the effectiveness of keeping unwanted intruders out.
Glass doors allow would-be burglars to see inside and determine whether someone is home, and whether there is anything worth stealing. It’s quick and easy to smash, reach through, and unlock.
But all is not lost. It is possible to keep the views and increase their strength and security.
So let the sunshine in as we explore your glass door security options.
What a Burglar Wants
Burglaries, for the most part, are a stealth game. Thieves want to slip in and slip out quickly and unnoticed. They do not want to attract unwanted attention by being seen. Or heard.
It’s estimated that about a third of burglars gain access to your property via an unlocked door or window, so the simplest way to increase security is to always lock those entry points.
A locked door — glass or otherwise — is a much less attractive target than an open one. A determined thief will next consider whether they can pick the lock or get in via brute strength. And that includes kicking or smashing through glass.
But, that increases the risk of being heard — shattered glass is loud, after all — and/or injured. So it’s possible, but unlikely they’ll go that route.
In fact, in instances where a burglar entered a house through a window, they opted to break the glass in only 5-15% of cases.
How to secure a glass door? You lock it. For starters.
Glass Door Security Options
Beyond that, there are actually a number of things you can do to increase the strength and security of a glass door, ranging from DIY projects to professionally installed deterrents.
Pick one, pick two, or more. Just be sure to pick something to increase your door security.
Curtains and Blinds
It may not seem like much, but installing curtains and blinds on your glass or sliding door is a quick and affordable way to increase their security, albeit ever-so-slightly.
If the would-be burglar can’t easily see inside, that increases the risk they’re taking by breaking in. Someone may be home, there may be a dog, there might not be anything of value worth taking. They want to reduce risk, not increase it.
When you’re heading out, close the blinds.
Wooden Dowel Rod
A cylindrical wooden stick cut to fit on the track between the closed sliding door and the frame is a simple but effective deterrent.
Any piece of wood or metal will do the trick, providing it’s the right length. Once placed snugly in the track, it prevents the door from opening, even if unlocked.
You can also buy sliding door security bars of adjustable length that are custom-made for this from Amazon, Walmart, and other retailers, in addition to little locks that fit over either the top or bottom track.
A quick search on Amazon for “glass door security” or something comparable will present you with many affordable options.
If a thief sees it through the door, they know they’ll have to smash the glass and remove it if they want to gain entry to the property.
And smashed glass is noisy. More noise, more risk.
A low tech solution, but powerful nonetheless.
A home with a security system is safer than a home without one. Full stop.
But even without a full system in place, you can buy inexpensive standalone sensors that attach to or near your glass door with adhesive tape. No fuss, no muss.
These little devices are typically either a motion sensor — emitting a piercing siren if the glass shakes or is jolted — or an audio unit that listens specifically for the sound of breaking glass before triggering a loud alarm.
Either way, it’s often enough to scare a would-be thief off before they set foot inside.
Another popular DIY solution is security film. Readily available on Amazon or at retailers like Home Depot, security film comes in either pre-cut pieces or on a roll like plastic wrap.
Sticky on one side, you cut it to fit the decorative windows or glass door itself and attach it on the inside. It works just like a screen protector on your smartphone.
Security film will essentially prevent the glass from shattering when struck, holding it together and stopping someone from reaching through and unlocking the door. It may not deter them indefinitely, but certainly long enough to make them think twice.
This option is a little more expensive, but definitely worth the investment if you’re concerned about your glass doors.
Reinforced or security glass is just that — stronger than regular glass, and able to take repeated blows from a hammer, crowbar, brick, or kick.
Solutions range from double-paned glass — two panes of glass with a small space between them — to glass embedded with wire and/or laminated glass. Some will slow a burglar down, while others like Riot Glass and Armoured One will stop them completely.
Strong security glass will give you all of the benefits of a glass door without any of the trade-offs.
Double Cylinder Deadbolt
Any door with windows — or even glass on the side closest to the lock — is at risk of someone smashing it in order to reach in and unlock the door.
Security film and/or reinforced security glass can help with that, but you might also want to consider a double cylinder deadbolt.
A traditional deadbolt requires a key on the outside, but only to turn a knob or dial on the inside. A hand reaching through broken glass can easily do that.
But a double cylinder deadbolt requires a key on either side, inside or out. Even if they manage to smash a glass pane, they won’t be able to unlock the door without the key.
Windows and sliding doors usually have a mesh screen on the outside to prevent insects from getting in. Simple, but effective.
Security screens look exactly like those, but with one key difference: they’re made out of strong stainless steel. You can still see through it, it still allows fresh air in and keeps creepy crawlies out, but it’s resistant if not invulnerable to knives and impact attacks.
If burglars can’t physically get to the glass, they can’t break it.
Security Bars or Grates
You could always opt to fortify your property with steel bars and grates over any and all glass…doors, windows, or otherwise.
Effective? Absolutely. Attractive? Not so much.
You’ll be safe and secure, but might end up feeling like you live in a prison instead of a home.
And while it is possible to find bars and grates with beautiful designs and aesthetic flair, it’s still an extreme solution that might be much more than you need.
It should also be noted that bars and grates are wonderful at keeping people out, but they also keep people in. That can be a serious drawback during an emergency such as a fire.
Monitored Security System
A less obtrusive though no less effective solution is a monitored security system.
A professionally monitored security system can keep eyes on your glass door 24/7, when you’re at work, asleep, on vacation, or watching television on the couch.
A monitored security camera with 2-way audio can stop a break-in via a glass door before it happens. Point the camera, motion sensor, and/or floodlight at your glass doors both front and back for peace of mind and extra security.
Most break-ins happen via the front door, whether it’s glass or not. The sliding glass door at the back is another popular entry point.
Unbalance the low-risk-high-reward ratio that burglars are looking for by installing a visible security camera aimed at both of them.
Increase the risk of detection, and they’ll likely pass right by in search of an easier target.
Make them understand that your home is cared for, well protected, and secure both inside and out. Even just perceived risk is a useful deterrent.
We’re never going to stop loving glass doors and windows. They let us bring the outside indoors, brighten our homes, and connect us to everything and everyone around us.
But it does come at a price. Glass is not strong or robust like wood and metal.
By taking a few of the steps outlined here, though, you can reduce if not eliminate that cost. A dowel rod is better than nothing. A dowel rod and security film is even better. A dowel, security film, and monitored security system, for example, is best.
Protect what matters most.