Taking Panes to Make French Doors Thief-Proof

Question: We’re considering putting in French doors on one side of the house, but it seems to me it would be easy for a burglar to knock out a pane, reach around and open the door. Is there any way to reinforce the glass to keep that from happening?



Answer: “Normally, a double-cylinder deadbolt lock is installed on French doors, which needs a key to open it on either side,” says Harry Dodge of A-1 Custom Doorways in Costa Mesa. “There are also a number of security alarm systems that are set off when glass is broken. Properly installed, French doors are very safe. They have flush bolts on top and bottom that hold them into place and keep them solid.”


Q: We just moved into a home that had a second story built on top of it four years ago. Although the house was painted after it was done, the previous owners never got around to painting the eaves. We’re going to be repainting the house, but I want to know if the eaves require any special preparation, since they’ve been bare so long.


Santa Ana

A: “Chances are, there’s probably very little damage except that they’re very dry,” says Jim Livingstone of Paintmasters in Yorba Linda. “You’ll need to clean off any dirt and use an exterior oil-based primer before applying your finish coat. If the eaves are made of redwood or cedar, you may want to use a primer that has a stain-sealer, which will keep tannins from bleeding through.”


Q: My husband wants to cut some of our cooling bills by closing all the blinds on our windows and leaving them that way all day, which I hate because it makes the house dark. Is there a better solution?



A: “You can try applying a tinted film on the windows that reflects sunlight,” says Jim Perry of Green’s Discount Glass & Screen in Garden Grove. “It’s relatively inexpensive and will help keep some of the sunlight out.

“If you’re looking for a more effective, but more expensive solution, you can install Low-E glass. This is slightly tinted but because of the way it’s designed it can cut heating bills in winter by 60% and reduce your use of the air conditioner in summer. It also reduces ultraviolet radiation to keep the light from discoloring carpets and upholstery.”

Q: We have a 10-year-old table lamp in our bedroom that drives us crazy when we turn it on. It flickers on and off and when I take the bulb out and inspect the parts, there doesn’t seem to be anything loose. Any suggestions?




A: “With a lot of older lamps, what happens is the guts of the socket burn out,” says David Galluccio of Harbor Lites in Costa Mesa. “If the exterior shell of the socket is brass, you can change the interior wiring. However, if it’s aluminum brass plate, it’s probably easier to replace the whole socket.

“Lamps are generally rated to run a maximum wattage bulb, say 100 watts. If you put a 200-watt bulb in it, you’re in danger of burning out that socket more quickly.”