Quick Fixes

Your esteemed writer is having a spot of writers’ block this week, so I am going to discuss a few quick simple things that do not require a lot of effort on either of our parts, and thus do not warrant dedicated posts on their own.

By now, hopefully everyone is aware of the dangers of having glass in your garage door.  Put simply, someone can fish a rigid piece of wire through the top of your door and, watching through the door windows, catch and operate the emergency release on your garage door, granting them immediate access.  This can be prevented a variety of ways, but the easiest one – aside from not having glass in your door – is to simply remove the cord connected to the garage door release.  Depending on the type of carriage you have, you can also zip-tie it closed – pulling hard on it with the cord will still release it, but will prevent through-the-door activation.

Speaking of garages, keep the exterior door locked when you are out of town.  If you are lucky and have an older house, throw the cross-bar latch on the inside of the garage.  If you are not lucky and have a newer house where the garage door does not have a latch, or if you want an added degree of security, run a padlock through the track just above one of the garage door wheels.  Just remember the padlock is there when you come home and try to open the door!


Unfortunately, neither of these will stop someone from simply kicking in your garage door which is… a lot easier than you might be comfortable knowing.

It might also be wise to determine how old your particular garage door opener is.  Newer ones use rolling code technology, while older openers use a fixed code which can either be captured or just found through brute-force trial-and-error.

It may be a function of having dark doors and oil-rubbed bronze fixtures (remember when chrome was the new hotness, replacing gold-ish?), but I sometimes have a hard time telling if a deadbolt is thrown or not.  I took some reflective tape, cut up small pieces of it, and wrapped it over one of the corners of the deadbolt turn – now I can tell, day or not, which way it is pointed.


The same solution can be used for window latches; just be sure to use a contrasting color to the hardware.

Sliding doors are notorious security risks for residences, not only because they are massive panes of breakable glass, but also because their latches are not exactly the securest things in the world.  The simple fix?  Measure the track of your sliding door, and cut a piece of scrap lumber  to about two inches shorter (preferably the lumber should be at least a 2″x4″).  That provides not only a physical block for when it is closed, but also allows you to crack it and still leave it unattended, without providing a wide-open door.

Once again, the same concept can be applied to windows – both vertically opening and horizontally – if you feel uncertain about the strength of their latches.

It helps if you paint the lumber something obvious, too, so you are not confused when you cannot open the door.  Not that I would be speaking from experience…


  1. WRT to a padlock in the track, you can also disconnect the emergency release so that if you attempt to use your opener, you won’t damage it at all.
    If you do have glass in your door, put some window film in them so that they’re translucent, not transparent.

    • It is true, but my new-house garage door does not have a latch on it, so if you pull the emergency release and leave it open, anyone could come by and open the door just by lifting it. Modern garage door openers will not damage anything if they run into an obstruction while opening; they will just stop and close it again.

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