Fortify Your French Doors: 5 Steps for Enhanced Security. French doors are known for their elegant appearance and ability to bring in abundant natural light, but it’s important to ensure they are properly secured to maintain the security of your home.
By implementing these measures, you can significantly enhance the security of your French doors without compromising their aesthetic appeal. Remember, it’s always advisable to consult with a professional locksmith or security expert to assess your specific needs and recommend the most suitable security solutions for your home.
Essential Steps for Installing French Doors: Precise Measurements and Considerations for Optimal Fit and Functionality
STEP 1: When installing new French doors, it is crucial to accurately measure the doorway to ensure a perfect fit within the available space.
Whether you are adding French doors to your home or replacing existing ones, this is an ideal opportunity to prioritize their secure installation right from the start. While some individuals may consider installing French doors as a do-it-yourself (DIY) project, it is advisable to entrust this task to professionals.
This is primarily because the snugness of the fit between the doors and the frame is of utmost importance for their security. Even a slight discrepancy in the dimensions of the installed space can prevent the doors from closing or being securely fastened.
For homeowners who still wish to install French doors themselves, opting for prehung doors that come with a preset fit is recommended. By using such doors, the homeowner only needs to focus on fitting the frame into the door opening and properly sealing it.
If you choose to hire a contractor for the installation, precise measurements are still necessary.
It is important to communicate with the contractor to determine the specific measurements they require. Typically, standard measurements include the height and width of the opening at multiple points, as well as a diagonal measurement.
To ensure complete accuracy, it may be easier to request the installer to take the measurements themselves.
Another important aspect to consider when installing new French doors is the direction in which they should open: into the home or outward.
Measuring the space where the doors will swing is essential to ensure they have sufficient clearance to fully open and close without any obstructions. By carefully assessing the swing space, you can guarantee optimal functionality and convenience when using the French doors.
To further reinforce the security of your French doors, it is recommended to incorporate a glass security window film.
While new French doors may already come with features like hurricane-rated, impact-resistant, reinforced, or laminated glass, which provide a certain level of shatter resistance, adding an additional layer of protection can offer increased peace of mind. These labels indicate that the glass in the doors is coated with a shatterproof material that, upon impact, will break but remain held together by the coating. This prevents intruders from easily penetrating the glass and also provides valuable protection against accidental damage, such as from tree branches or patio furniture during storms.
For existing doors, there are various types and styles of add-on glass security film available for purchase.
Similar to the coating on new impact-resistant doors, security film consists of an extremely thin sheet of vinyl that can be applied to both sides of the glass in your French doors. When the film bonds with the glass, it acts as a protective layer that holds the glass shards together upon impact.
These films come in large sheets and can be easily cut to fit smaller panes of glass. While clear security film allows for an unobstructed view, there are also frosted or patterned versions available that offer an additional layer of security by preventing potential thieves from peering through the doors to observe any valuable items on display.
If you opt for clear security film to maintain the view through your French doors, it is advisable to consider installing curtains or blinds that can be drawn to block the view from outside when needed.
This provides an added layer of privacy and ensures that your valuable possessions remain discreetly hidden from prying eyes. By combining glass security window film with other security measures, you can significantly enhance the overall safety and protection of your French doors and your home.
After ensuring the glass is secure, the next step is to focus on keeping the French doors closed and locked effectively.
It is important to assess and potentially replace the hinges that came with the doors, particularly if they are older and have developed rust or corrosion. These issues not only diminish the aesthetic appeal but also weaken the hinge’s strength.
Opt for sturdy hinges that are at least 3 inches long and consider choosing ones that can be secured with hinge bolts. Hinge bolts are screws that are driven into the hinge and prevent the door from being lifted off it.
Without hinge bolts, an intruder can easily lift the door off the hinge, angle it, and gain access to the house. By installing hinges with secure hinge bolts, you fortify the doors’ resistance against forced entry.
Once the hinges are properly secured, it is essential to address the locking mechanism on the doors themselves.
A simple twist lock or a plain deadbolt alone will not suffice, as these can be easily compromised by prying the doors apart at the center. In a set of French doors, one door is known as the passive door, which locks into the doorframe itself.
Typically, this is achieved through one or more flush bolts that slide into the doorframe. However, these flush bolts can be bypassed relatively easily.
One option to increase door security is to permanently close the passive door by driving a small screw into the flush bolts, preventing them from being opened until the screw is removed. This reversible solution allows both doors to be opened as needed by simply removing the screws.
home improvement stores offer kits, often sold as French door lock sets or double-door locks, which include flush bolts and additional hardware to secure the passive door permanently.
If you prefer to keep both doors fully functional, consider investing in a multipoint locking system, also referred to as a French door locking system or mechanism.
These systems secure the active door at three or more points, and they can be operated using a single key or switch. By employing a multipoint locking system, it becomes significantly more challenging to separate the doors and gain unauthorized entry.
This option is particularly effective when the passive door is secured permanently. Alternatively, you can enhance security by adding robust deadbolts or mortise locks to both the top and bottom of the active door.
These options may include exterior key locks, transforming your French doors into a fully functional and highly secure home entry point.
To further enhance the security of your French doors, it is worth considering investing in additional security measures, such as security bars and other safety devices.
Security bars can significantly reinforce the doors and act as a deterrent to potential intruders. These bars can be discreetly attached to the inside of the doors, with some models securing both the doors and the doorframe. A metal or wood bar can then be easily slid into position to prevent the doors from being pushed in or pulled open. If your doors open inward, you may also want to consider installing two door-jammer bars, placing one underneath each handle. This setup effectively prevents each door from being pushed inward, adding an extra layer of protection. Another option is a handle lock, a device that fits over the door handles, whether they are knobs or levers, and secures them together. This provides structural support to the center of the doors and prevents the handles from turning, further bolstering their security.
For homes with a secluded yard or added privacy concerns, an alternative solution is to install security double-screen doors.
These decorative metal doors are installed on the outside of the French doors, similar to how a storm door is installed on a traditional entry door. Security screen doors are equipped with robust metal bars, providing an additional layer of security to the French doors.
They are often lined with screens, allowing for fresh air circulation while keeping insects out. If your French doors open inward, you can keep the security screen doors closed to enjoy fresh air or open them outward to enjoy an unobstructed view.
When not in use, the security screen doors can be closed and securely locked, making it considerably more challenging for an intruder to access the vulnerable points of the inner French doors.
By incorporating security bars and considering the installation of security double-screen doors, you can significantly enhance the overall security and peace of mind provided by your French doors.
To provide an extra layer of security for your French doors, it is highly recommended to install a comprehensive home security system and incorporate security cameras with monitoring capabilities.
French doors are commonly located on the back side of homes, which are often hidden from view, making them an attractive target for burglars who can exploit the cover of the house, landscaping, and lack of natural light in the backyard. By implementing a home security system, you can introduce multiple levels of protection for your French doors.
The first aspect of a home security system is deterrence.
Visible security cameras and motion-sensor lighting play a crucial role in discouraging intruders from targeting your home. Intruders prefer to operate under the cover of darkness and avoid being observed.
The presence of security cameras can often be enough to dissuade them from attempting a break-in. Additionally, the activation of bright lights upon their entry into your yard further deters their progress.
In the event that intruders persist despite the deterrent measures, the security cameras will capture their appearance, and professional monitoring services offered by top home security companies will promptly notify you and local law enforcement about the break-in.
This provides you with valuable time to secure yourself and your family, evacuate the premises if necessary, and ensures that help is on the way as quickly as possible. Home security companies also offer sensors specifically designed for French doors, including sensors that detect when the doors are opened and others that alert the alarm company in the event of glass breakage.
These additional layers of security offer peace of mind, allowing you to focus on your safety and that of your loved ones should a break-in occur.
You don’t have to sacrifice the openness and aesthetic appeal of French doors for the sake of home security.
While it is true that French doors may not provide the same level of security as solid-core steel doors with long deadbolts, you can significantly enhance their security by implementing careful installation practices, improving hinges and locks, adding window film, utilizing door security tools, and incorporating monitored home security systems. These measures allow you to enjoy the view through your French doors while maintaining the comfort of knowing that your home is well-protected.
*The information is for reference only.