Patio door locks are usually located about halfway up the outside edge of the sliding door & most sliding doors only come with the one lock.
The patio lock usually consists of nothing more than a short bar with a hook type end that engages a lip that is mounted in the doors frame.
These locking mechanisms are weak & can be defeated quite easily in a couple of different ways.
Most patio doors have only two glass panels in them. The outer panel is stationary & the inner panel slides along an upper & lower track. Although this is the most common configuration there are patio doors units that are available with 3 & 4 panels in them.
Patio doors are a popular entry point for many criminals for a couple of reasons:
1. They are usually located at the back of a home which would allow an intruder to work on them unobserved.
2. Without any additional security measures taken these doors can easily be defeated by most intruders. One effective security measure would be to use a security bar or similar device to stop any horizontal movement of the patio door.
Additional patio door locks can also be used & depending on the door there are a few inexpensive security measures that can restrict the amount of vertical movement the sliding panel may have.
With the implementation of some or all of these security measures the patio doors in your home can be secured well enough to prevent any intruder from gaining entry.
If neighboring homes are close by, it would be highly unlikely an intruder would ever break the glass in your patio door, due to the high level of noise it would create.
The large majority of patio doors are doubled glazed & if it was broken out the noise that would be created would be considerable.
Although if you’re closest neighbors are not situated close to your home, you may want to consider having a security film laminate applied to both glass panels.
Patio doors that are several years old have a lot more vertical play then the newer sliding doors that are made today.
With many of the older patio doors intruders often defeat them by lifting the sliding panel up in a jerking type motion as this causes the lock to disengage with the lip of the strike plate in the doors frame.
With some of the older patio doors intruders could sometimes get enough play out of lifting them up & down to the point they could lift the entire door panel right out of its track.
Due to these ineffectual patio door locks that are standard issue for these types of doors & how the older glass panels can be shifted easily, companies started producing locks & other devices to secure these types of doors.
One of the more popular types of devices that were specifically produced to secure these doors was a security bar (sometimes referred to as a charlie-bar).
These bars are braced between the inside of the doors frame opposite the sliding door & the edge of the sliding door to prevent it from been opened. Some people make their own security bar by cutting a broom/mop handle or a hockey stick at a length that provides a snug fit as it lay’s in the bottom channel of the sliding door.
Although these pieces of wood people cut to keep the sliding door from opening are useful, the security bars that are manufactured for this purpose are inexpensive & are a bit more effective in a few different ways.
1. The security bars that are made to keep these sliding doors from opening will also help keep the sliding door from been moved in a rotating motion.
2. Having the security bar locked in place where it is clearly visible from the outside will quickly notify any would be intruder that your home has extra security measures in place. Criminals do not usually bother with secure homes when there are so many other homes in the same area where they can break-in using little or no effort.
3. Many security bars have an extra security feature that allows for your patio door to open 3 or 4 inches but no further to allow fresh air in your home.
There are several different types of these security bars on the market but not all of them provide the same degree of security. Most of these bars are inexpensive, easy to install & can be adjusted in length to fit many different size doors.
Most bars are made of steel or aluminum hollow tubing & some that are made out of really thin aluminum could be defeated easily by bending or buckling if the intruder was to use a pry-bar to force the door open.
You should also avoid purchasing any security bar that uses a friction mechanism to secure the adjusted length of the bar.
Securing the length of the bar using friction is not secure enough to hold if some type of pry-bar is used in forcing the sliding door opened.
There is no shortage of auxiliary patio door locks on the market that can be used in conjunction with the standard patio door lock to increase the security of the sliding door panel.
There are three different security measures that you can take that will prevent any intruder from gaining entry into your home through your patio door.
1. The first thing you will need is a quality security bar that will prevent the sliding door from moving horizontally once it is closed.
You should secure the bar up high enough so it can be clearly seen from the outside as it will encourage an intruder to seek out a less secure home.
2. Install a slide or deadbolt style patio door lock. This is an auxiliary patio door lock that you will use in conjunction with the standard sliding door lock.
There are several different styles that you can choose from & they are mounted on the inside edge of the door.
Depending on the particular style of the patio door lock you purchase, the lock would be attached to the frame or the track.
3. If the patio door is more than a few years old, you will have to take measures to restrict any vertical movement in the sliding door.
The most cost effective way of preventing the sliding panel from been raised up would be to fully open the door & screw about six 1½ inch (3.81cm) large pan head screws in the center of the upper door track. It is best to use a drill to make a small pilot-hole, spacing each screw about 8 inches apart.
Screw each one in only enough so the door can open & close without hitting them. The closer the door is to the screws without hitting them the better.
For safety reasons in case a fire was to break out in your home you need to ensure that any patio door lock you purchase does not require you to use a key to open it.
If your patio door ever needs to be used as an emergency exit you will also need to ensure that all family members can remove any security bar or any other device securing your door quickly & easily!
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