French doors can accentuate the overall décor of your home and, at the same time, impart a touch of sophistication.
Additionally, French doors tend to be an excellent upgrade from the traditional sliding glass doors found in many homes and properties.
French doors can bestow extraordinariness and exclusivity to an otherwise elementary and plain doorway or entrance.
However, if you are planning to install French doors on the entryway of your home, keep in mind that these doors are susceptible to break-ins.
The very features that make French doors appear so tantalizing and attractive such as the glass panes and the ornamented hinges, also make them vulnerable.
Burglars and thieves are simply overjoyed to find French doors when they attempt to force an entry to burglarize and steal.
Securing French Doors
Robbers are very confident that they’ll be able to easily break into by merely smashing the French doors’ glass panes or breaking the fragile deadbolt.
Are you seriously mulling on “How to secure French doors” from intruders and burglars?
In this article, we will walk you through some practical tips on how to enhance your French double door security.
French doors vis-a-vis sliding glass doors: Which is more secure?
The different types and styles of doors used in residential and commercial properties are commonly known as patio doors.
Though you’ll come across patio doors in a wide range of styles, French doors, and sliding doors are the two most popular styles. So, when it comes to installing doors in your new home, should you choose French doors or sliding doors?
Portability & Ease of Use
Traditional sliding doors have two boards or panels of which one is fixed and the other mobile. You slide the mobile panel over the stationary one to open or shut the boards or doors.
Sliding doors are portable rectangular glass frame sheets that are installed atop sliding rollers that glide along a fixed track running parallel to the adjacent fixed glass panel.
French doors, on the other hand, basically comprises of a wooden frame with open rectangular or squared cutouts or panels that are fitted with glasses.
Both types of doors have their distinct advantages and drawbacks. Sliding doors are easy to operate and tend to be space-saving and designed in a manner that makes them very secure.
The biggest downside of sliding doors is their locking system, which is not failsafe. French doors, on the other hand, are certainly not space-saving but offer greater access when fully opened.
French double doors also promote better air circulation compared to sliding doors. However, the standard design or structure of the French doors is such that they can be easily broken or forced open.
Different Ways of Securing French Doors
Putting the spotlight on how to secure French doors, you’ll have a hard time defending them chiefly for two reasons.
For a start, glass is the main component of French doors and regular glass at that which intruders can easily smash.
Once they’ve broken the glass, they find it easy to unlock the doors by turning the handle from inside.
In this context, burglars will be able to break the lock even if you install impact-resistant glass.
So, talking about double door security, what is the most effective way of securing French doors?
The first step, of course, is to install impact or smash-resistant glass such as laminated, annealed or toughened glass.
Your next priority would be to upgrade and bolster the deadbolt or lock by replacing the flimsy cylindrical-style lock with a multi-lock.
You can also return your existing hinge with a longer one or set up a door barricade.
You can install a security camera system or IP home security system to keep a continuous watch on a vacant property.
There are several effective ways of boosting the security of French doors, which in turn will make your home extra safe.
Let us explore some time-honored ways of bolstering the security of French doors.
1. Consider installing a three-point locking mechanism
Installing a three-point lock could go a long way in protecting your French doors from forceful break-ins. The majority of locks built into French doors come with a deadbolt that spans across the other door instead of covering the robust door frame.
And therein lies the rub; more often than not, the doors are not as hardy as the door frames, eventually rendering the doors easy to be prised open using a little force.
Three-point locking mechanisms comprise of metallic bars or rods that span the entire length extending from atop the door frame down to the floor.
The lock rods taken together with the deadbolt would make the French doors hardier and hence more difficult to break-in.
Here’s a nice video explaining about 3 point locking system
2. Choose laminated hurricane impact-resistant glass
If you’re thinking of replacing the old entrance doors with French doors, then see to it that they come equipped with laminated hurricane impact-resistant glass. Hurricane glass is so-called because of its ability to stand up to gales or windstorms created by a tornado or hurricane.
So, it is understandable that French doors reinforced by the impact-resistant glass can withstand the forceful pounding or smash by housebreakers.
You can also go for toughened glass or annealed glass in place of laminated glass. However, many homeowners and proprietors mistake tempered glass for laminated or toughened glass.
Keep in mind that though tempered glass tends to be stronger in comparison to regular glass, they are not as hardy as toughened or laminated glass.
Annealed glass is subjected to a specialized cooling process to boost its hardiness and resilience. Annealed glass, variously referred to as standard lens initially, has a soft consistency that is made durable by first subjecting it to high heat treatment and, after that cooling it gradually.
Subsequent heating and cooling of standard glass do away with the stress inherent in the glass, thereby making them more robust. Annealed glass is more natural to smash compared to toughened or laminated glass, and often breaks into shards having pointed edges.
These jagged or sharp glass pieces can easily injure you or your family members. From the viewpoint of safety and security, annealed glass is inferior to laminated or toughened glass.
High-quality toughened glass can be multiple times stronger and more robust than regular glass. Hence, you’d need to apply a more considerable amount of force for breaking toughened glass. And even if you are successful in shattering toughened glass, the broken glass pieces or shards do not have sharp edges.
If you’re thinking about which glass type can be a good option for your French doors, you can settle on toughened glass.
In terms of strength and durability, covered glasses are on an even keel with regular glasses. But laminated glass acquires higher power than ordinary glass when a layer of durable plastic is sandwiched between two glass sheets. When you smash the upper glass layer, the plastic interlays, together with the bottom glass layer, prevents the broken pieces from coming apart and falling out.
This unique quality of the laminated glass makes them safer than toughened or annealed glass and, therefore, ideal for fitting on French doors.
3. Opt for a door cordon or barricade
A door barricade can also come in perfectly handy for bolstering your French door’s security. A door barricade or barrier includes two parts or components that you fix on the space underneath the doors with bolts, drill bit, and drill.
You attach one section of the barricade on the floor while keeping the other part elevated vis-à-vis the doors.
The raised component works as the barricade or bulwark, preventing break-ins. You can use this barricade on other types of doors, including sliding patio doors.
Door barricades are usually made out of industrial-grade aluminum that is anodized for making them durable and corrosion-resistant.
4. Go for Longer Hinges
Fitting hinges on French doors is a must, especially for doors opening outwards, making the hooks accessible from outside. And if you do not secure the hinges, having robust locks and sturdy doors will not make any difference.
The most effective hinges are those with built-in non-removable pins, stud hinges, and set screw hinges.
These types of hinges tend to be longer than the ordinary ones in that they have screws 3 inches long (or more) that burglars struggle to unfasten and remove.
5. Double–cylinder deadbolts can be remarkably effective
Double-cylinder deadbolts, unlike their standard counterparts, need two distinct keys for unlocking or opening. You insert one key from outside the door, and someone from inside the home has to slot in the other key simultaneously for opening the lock.
However, it is better to have an additional option for unlocking the door as double-cylinder deadbolt can prove to be an obstacle in case you need to escape during an emergency.
Though French doors can put the accent on the ambiance of your home, you need to remember that aesthetics cannot take precedence over home security. You can make your French doors extremely resistant to break-ins by installing impact-resistant glass, quality door barricades, and robust multiple-locking mechanisms.