Don't Compromise Tenants' Security -- Secure Those French Doors

Posted on: 15 September 2015

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If you've remodeled a room in your home to make it a mini-studio with a private entrance for a renter, your choice of exterior door can really make or break the room's security. It's common for people who have converted master bedrooms to remove sliding glass doors and replace them with French doors; the French doors can be locked from the outside when the tenant leaves the house. However, French doors have a number of weak points that can make them almost worthless when it comes to protecting the tenant. You must make several changes if you want to use French doors.

The Basics

Add a commercial-grade deadbolt to the door. Don't rely on just a knob lock because those are small and can be cut through or forced open pretty easily. If you can, make the deadbolt one that requires a key on the inside as well. That way, if someone breaks the glass in the door to reach inside, they still can't undo the lock.

Also consider adding a keyless deadbolt. These are deadbolts where the interior half is installed, but there's no corresponding exterior half. It's yet another lock someone outside would need to get through, and the person wouldn't know it was there just by looking at the outside of the door. It's like a door chain on steroids.

Reinforce the strike plates with special French door security kits. These are extra strong plates that help reduce the risk of the doors being kicked in where they meet. The kits often include a special lock that goes at the tops of the doors. You can also add jimmy-proof locks -- metal panels that attach to the door jamb, with one panel flipping over the other and blocking the edge of the door. So if someone tried to get in, that flipped panel would prevent the door from opening.

This should go without saying, but: Install hinges on the inside of the room. If they're on the outside, someone can hammer out the pins and push the doors in.

Security Bars

You can get security screen-type doors in double-door models, or install metal bars over the glass portions of the doors. These might not look as nice, but they'd make breaking the glass in the doors either impossible or just plain pointless.

Other Materials

You can also try changing the glass panes and using resin, plastic, or another material that won't shatter if someone tries to punch through it. You must choose something strong, though. These materials are usually available in several patterns, making them quite a pretty addition.

Whatever you decide, try to add as much as you can -- the longer it takes someone to breach the doors, the better the chance they'll be seen, and the better the chance that the person will give up.

If you'd like more information on French door security, talk to a company that specializes in French door installation like Fas Windows and Doors, or a general door company that has a lot of experience with them. Manufacturers and installers know about all the weak points and can help you cover them one by one.