Patio doors are great. They allow an abundance of natural light to enter your home, they provide a wide opening through which you can move large items, and they allow for easy access between your home and the outdoors. Unfortunately, this easy access also means an easy target for any criminal casing your neighborhood. Patio doors in CT are one of the most common entry points for impulsive burglaries because they are less secure than entry doors. Sliding patio doors can be easily broken into, or even removed with simple tools. Patio doors are also the targets of choice for more professional criminals who plan the attack. The wide viewing area enables professionals to study your family's patterns and identify valuable objects in your home. (image: sliding patio door ct with internal blinds from sunrise windows)
Burglary is the second most common serious crime in the United States, and single-family homes are the most common targets. Sixty percent of burglaries occur during the day when homes are unoccupied. Side and back doors are common entry points because unauthorized entry is less likely to be detected by a passerby. Homes with landscaping that provides cover near an entry point are at a particular risk. At night, homes with poor lighting are preferred because it reduces a burglar's visibility. A well-planned burglary takes many factors into consideration, including the quality and condition of a home's building materials. Homes with worn, decaying, or cheap doorframes are at an increased risk. (Weisel, Burglary of Single-family Houses, 2002)
There are two general types of patio doors: sliding patio doors, and swinging patio doors, or French doors. Each has its own weaknesses, but modern patio doors include upgraded safety features to improve security and deter criminals.
Sliding Patio Door CT
Traditionally sliding patio doors include a single locking point. Some people try to compensate for this weakness by placing a bar in the track without realizing how easy it is for a criminal to pry the track open from the outside, pop the sliders out, and remove the entire panel. A security system is effective in this case. Most criminals would leave if the alarm sounded and your only damage would be a broken patio door, but most alarms do not include glass-breaking sensors. Sliding patio doors usually have thin glass that can be easily broken. The wider the door, the easier it is to break.
Safety Features: Sliding Patio Door CT
Locking System: A multi-point locking system is more secure because it engages the frame at three points rather than only at the strike plate. Therma Tru vinyl sliding patio doors come with a tamper resistant locking system as well as an optional footbolt. A sliding patio door from Harvey comes with a flush mount deadbolt, dual-point, or multi-point locking system. Vanguard sliding doors also feature three-point locking systems, and an optional dead bolt foot-lock. Sunrise windows also manufactures sliding patio doors, and they are available with the same easy clean glass we love for windows. (Image: Sunrise Patio Door)
Glass: The thicker, the better. Vanguard Sliding Patio Doors have 1' tempered safety glass for added security.
Security Film holds glass together and creates a stronger barrier.
Outdoor Lighting can deter criminals. Light sensors are particularly effective at night. Outdoor light also makes it more difficult to see inside your home.
Privacy: Window treatments can add privacy and prevent criminals from casing your home. Internal blinds are the best option for sliding patio doors because they are low-maintenance and do not interfere with the operation of your door.
Swinging Patio Door CT
Swinging patio doors, also referred to as hinged patio doors, usually come in pairs. They are hinged at the side jambs, or at a central mullion. French doors are hinged at the side jambs and meet each other when closed. Some hinged patio doors swing out, and others swing in. Many homes feature French doors or other types of patio doors because of the light they provide and the open atmosphere they create, but this large window to your home allows potential burglars to case your home and plan a quick entry.
Swinging Patio Door CT & Security Issues
Patio doors that swing inwards are easy to kick in. It requires a bit more strength, but patio doors that swing out can be pulled open with enough force. Again, the wider the patio door, the more vulnerable it is. Multiple locking points make entry more difficult, but older hinged patio doors and French doors usually only have one locking point. The thickness of the glass varies by manufacturer, but is usually thin enough to break. Swinging patio doors usually open to a kitchen or living area in the back of your home, which allows criminals to see when you are home and when you are not.
Safety Features: Hinged Patio Door CT
Secure glass: Thicker glass is harder to smash. Look for security glass, or install security film. Security film works best if it is installed between two panes of glass.
Multi-Point Locking Systems: Therma Tru patio doors are available with multi-point locking systems. Multi-point locking systems are ideal for taller doors, double door applications and patio doors. Classic Craft Therma Tru Patio Doors have the highest forced entry and security rating. Therma Tru Door Reviews include safety information.
Locking Pins: In addition to a multi-point locking system, steel pins that engage at the top and bottom of the doorframe add security to French doors (image via www.allaboutdoors.com)
Secure Hinge: French doors that swing out are harder to kick in, but the hinges are exposed and a criminal with proper tools could remove the pins. Make sure swing-out patio doors have non-removable hinge pins.
Outdoor Lighting is a deterrent for burglary because it exposes criminal activity. Criminals are less likely to target a patio door that opens to a lit outdoor deck.
Please consult your CT home remodeling contractor about the security of your patio doors. Worn-down patio doors are easy targets for criminals. It is also important to consider safety features if you are installing a new patio door. Contractors at Fiderio and Sons can assess the security of an existing patio door and offer advice on which features are worth choosing, and which brand is best for your home. The following guide provides information on how to increase the value and safety of your home with new doors and windows.