A set of French doors can add beauty and class to a home. Since these doors are made up of a number of glass panes, they are sometimes referred to as French windows. Despite their beauty, however, many people opt against having glass doors in their home because they fear they may not be very secure — all it would take for an intruder to gain entry to a dwelling is either a swift kick or a smashed pane of glass. There are, however, measures that can be taken to ensure added French door security, such as arranging proper hinge placement, choosing a strong type of glass or a laminate, installing the glass panes from the inside, and adding deadbolt locks.
When installing French doors as an entrance to a house, the hinges can be a major concern. Since these doors can be installed to swing either way, the hinges can be placed on either the outside or the inside. For added security, experts recommend placing the hinges so they face inward. If the hinges were to face outside, all an intruder would have to do to get into a home would be to remove the hinge pins, and from there, he could easily remove the door.
One of the biggest concerns with French door security is the amount of glass in the doors, as glass is easily broken. If a pane was broken on a door, there would not be much stopping an intruder from reaching in and unlocking it. There are a couple of different measures that can be taken to avoid this problem. One way would be to replace the original panes of glass with laminated glass, which is actually two or more pieces of glass that have been bonded together by a sheet of laminate between them. This type of glass holds together when it is shattered, much like the windshield of a car. Another way to reinforce the glass in French doors is by applying a plastic film on the inside of the panes.
When installing the window panes, experts recommend installing them from the inside. Doing so requires applying the putty to the inside of the panes of glass. If the putty is applied on the outside, an intruder would not even have to break the glass to gain entry — scraping off the putty that holds the glass in place is all it would take to get in.
Security door locks can be put into place on a French door as well. Most locks that come on these doors are not sufficient to keep out an intruder, and a deadbolt is typically recommended. Bolts on the lock should be horizontal and no less than 1 inch (2.54 cm) long. Single deadbolts are opened with a key from the outside and a catch or thumb turn on the inside. Double deadbolt locks are a bit more secure; these locks need a key to be opened from either the inside or the outside. They may provide better French door security, but they can also be a hazard in case of an emergency. If there is a double deadbolt lock on French door, or any door, all occupants of the house should know where the key is, including guests. It should be easily accessible, but it should not be able to be within close reach from a glass pane in the French door.