Patio door latch styles used in aluminum patio doors

The standard patio door latch found on most aluminum patio doors is what I like to call a "clamshell" style. The latch comes in 2 halves which fit on both sides of a large oval mortised hole cut right through the patio door frame.

The latch is held together by 2 long machine screws installed from the inside on the top and and bottom on the latch frame.

Patio door latch styles

These latches come in black, grey and white, although black is by far the most common. There are also five different types of latch hooks available for these locks. You have to be careful to specify which latch hook you need.

The latch hooks can be installed both with the hook up, or down depending on the position of the keeper or strike used on your patio slider. There is also an offset hook used on some patio panels.

Thickness of fasco patio lock
Common vertical latch for aluminum doors
rear side of common latch

Beside the number of hooks, these locks also come in two different thicknesses, .094 and .187 as shown in the photo above. 

The thinner versions often slide into the jamb when the panel is closed so if you refit a thicker one, the sliding panel wont close properly.

If you are at all confused, its best to send me pictures of your broken lock and I can make sure to send you the right parts.

The latch can be used as it is to open the patio slider as it has a built in pull but some patio sliders have an add on handle that attaches to the latch frames.

Yes, you guessed it, there are several different types of handles !

Patio latch handle 1

The handle above is a low profile handle, it gives you something more to grab onto while still being low enough so it does not interfere with the drapes or blinds.

Patio panel latch handle 2

The handle above allows you to grip the handle with your whole hand for a more positive grip. It can get in the way of curtains and blinds depending how close they are to the sliding panels.

There are also optional lock cylinders that can be installed in this style of sliding panel latch. They are typically installed on the outside so you can unlock your sliding patio door.

Patio door latch lock cylinder

Bear in mind that these latch assemblies are not terribly secure. Many burglars jimmy these types of latches just by using a large screwdriver to force the hook against the keeper and break it.

Nothing beats an old hockey stick or a piece of 1 x 2 as a first line of defense fit in between the operating panel and the side jamb of the sliding door. 

Leave it there when you go out. It's next to impossible for a burglar to jimmy the panel open with the stick in place without resorting to smashing his way through the glass.

Not everybody likes the hockey stick latch so there are fancier products you can buy from the hardware store. The cheapest are pins which fit into a hole you have drilled through all your sliding panels. 

Others are spring loaded pins you activate with your foot, which engage a hole you have drilled in on of the sliding panel bottom rails. 

Another security technique is to add strips of wood to take up the gap between the top of the sliding panel and the top sliding door track. 

Screw a long strip of wood in place so that it does not interfere with the side to side motion of the panel but does not allow the panels to be lifted up and out without removing the wood strip. 

Hardware stores also sell fancier shims for this purpose if you need something that looks a little more professional than a strip of wood.

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