One of the most popular choices of exterior doors are French and sliding patio doors. Besides opening your home to expansive views, these choices let in light making them beautiful and desirable additions to your home.
The major feature of French or sliding patio doors is the glass pane or panes, which can pose a security risk. We all worry about the safety of our homes when we’re home or away. Burglars may look through the glass to see if anyone is inside the home, they may try to break the glass, or push in a double French door configuration.
If these beautiful glass doors would be perfect for your home, the good news is that there are multiple options with today’s quality modern glass doors that can reduce the risk of intrusion.
Multipoint Locking System
Doors from quality manufacturers like Marvin, Andersen and Pella all come standard with multipoint locking mechanisms for French doors. ProVia and Therma-Tru doors also offer multipoint locking systems, foot bolts and other options for increased security. In a nutshell, you get enhanced security by having the door lock into the jamb at multiple points, reducing the ability to push in the door. Muti-point locks are available in a variety of designs that vary but generally speaking they include a centrally located deadbolt and a live bolt (latch) and at least two hook bolts and possibly compression bolts. Most locking systems are operated by lifting the door handle from either side of the door and are locked in place by turning the key or interior thumb turn. Some designs have additional bolting into the top and bottom frames for added stability and security. Systems can be automatic or semi-automatic. Automatic locking mechanisms engage the perimeter bolts when the door is closed, without the lever being lifted, whereas semi-automatic mechanisms engage the bolts when the lever is lifted. Entry door manufacturers are increasingly recognizing the value of multi-point locking systems, adding these options.
The sliding door foot bolt is a great auxiliary security feature to add to your home. With a steel bolt that secures into the floor, you gain a multi-lock that provides added security. Ask about this option when purchasing your door to be sure you have the part at installation.
Laminated or Hurricane-Rated Glass
You may want to use a different kind of glass in the doors such as hurricane-rated glass or laminated glass to ward of thieves. Hurricane –rated glass is comprised of two sheets of glass bonded together with a protective interlayer of plastic that is designed to resist impact from missiles (projectiles) impacts during a hurricane. This glass is stronger than a car windshield, the glass might shatter if a heavy object is thrown into it, but it won’t break to bits. That makes it less likely that an intruder can shatter the glass and unlock the door or walk through the open pane. This impact resistant glass costs more but it is such a refined design you can hardly tell a hurricane-rated window from a regular window. They’re becoming mainstream and most contractors will install the durable glass if their customers ask for it.
If your French or sliding patio doors are already installed you still have the option to add an impact resistant solution, a security film to your existing doors. It is a clear, flexible and impact resistant polyester sheet that is affixed to the inside of the glass. Like laminated glass, an intruder would have a very tough time trying to break through it. The film is usually sold by the foot and is available in several widths and thickness.
Enjoy the Views and Bathe in the Light
French and sliding glass patio doors have been one of the most popular choices of exterior doors for as long as we can remember. The French door was first designed in the 17th century and is likely to be around for several more centuries. Thanks to the continuous safety innovations in the glass industry, our love for these doors can continue. For more safety ideas read our previous blog “Door Security with Impact Glass and Locking Systems”.