How to Choose a Patio Door for Your Home
For many, a patio door is one of the most used doors in their entire house. This is especially true during the summer months when enjoying some time outside on the patio or deck. How many times can you remember opening and closing your patio door screen to go get something from inside the house?
Choosing a new patio door doesn’t have to mean that you are just replacing the old one with the same exact style. There are several types of patio doors available that may fit your needs. In this article, we’ll show you what to look for to make sure that you select a patio door that you will be happy with for years to come.
Types of Patio Doors
Sliding Patio Doors
Sliding patio doors are perhaps the most popular style of patio doors because of their versatility, ease of use, style and affordability. Sliding patio doors make it super easy to get in and out of the house fast which can be great for summertime grilling when you need to run in and get something.
One of the best things about sliding patio doors is that there’s so much glass which lets the light really shine in on a sunny day and opens up the look of the room.
Most sliding patio doors will also have a patio door screen that can be open and shut for when you want to let fresh air into your house while keeping bugs and other pests out.
Swinging or French Patio Doors
French patio doors are hinged like a regular entry door. They can come in several different styles with variations such as color, finish, decorative glass and more. You can also have different door configurations like a normal side-by-side french doors or have three doors in a row, depending on how wide your patio door opening is on your house. Most of the time, you will see French patio doors with full view glass panels in order to let natural sunlight into your home.
Folding Patio Doors
Folding patio doors can make a real statement for your backyard. Typically, a folding patio door system is meant for very wide spaces as the system works like an accordion. A typical folding patio door system will have anywhere from 2 to 8 panels or individual full glass doors that open or close on a track system.
Materials Used in Patio Doors
Vinyl is a very popular material used for patio doors. It is very strong, durable, energy efficient and will stand up to warm and cold climates. Vinyl patio doors won’t fade, peel, rot or warp. You choose from many different colors and finishes including several faux wood finishes to match the decor of your home.
Real wood patio doors can be beautiful but they are also the most expensive and hardest to maintain over time. Types of wood that are commonly used in the construction of patio doors include alder, pine, fir and mahogany. While the look of a wood patio door is unique, they are susceptible to warping, cracking and even rotting if not properly maintained.
Aluminum or Steel
Metal patio doors such as those made with aluminum or steel can be very durable. They are a more cost-effective alternative to the other materials mentioned here but are not as energy efficient. Most of the time, aluminum and steel doors are treated to be corrosion and rust resistant.
Fiberglass is a great material for patio doors. It is lightweight, durable and weather resistant. Patio doors made of fiberglass have many similarities to vinyl patio doors except that they are typically more expensive.
Glass Options for Patio Doors
Everything from decorative glass to built in blinds, patio doors usually allow for customization. Glass is a very important aspect of any patio door that you choose for your home.
Low-E Glass for an Energy Efficient Patio Door
You will want to choose a patio door that has Low-E glass. This type of patio door glass helps lower energy bills year round and has a coating that will prevent harmful UV rays from entering your home that can cause fading to carpet, wood floors or furniture. The same Low-E glass is used extensively for windows to ensure energy efficiency.
Decorative Glass Can Make Your Patio Door Stand Out
Most patio doors, especially hinged or French patio doors will have the option to choose decorative glass. Decorative glass can give your backyard door some design pop while giving your privacy. There are also other decorative glass types available for patio doors like frosted glass for added privacy.
Built In Blinds Between the Glass
Some patio doors have the option to have blinds between the panes of glass. This is a great feature since there is no more cleaning of patio door blinds since they are contained in the glass of the door itself. Also nice is that you can very easily clean the actual glass of your patio door now that the blinds are permanently out of the way. Built in blinds for patio doors can be a benefit but only if you like the look.
Grids Between the Glass
Similar to built in blinds, you can also have grids set in between the glass panels of your patio door. No more cleaning around the grids!
Patio Door Security and Locks
Since your patio door is typically on the ground level (unless you’re buying a patio door for a balcony), it’s important to consider security features like locks when choosing a patio door. Many patio doors have multiple locking mechanisms for both the main door as well as the patio door screen.
Dual Point Locks for Patio Doors
Dual point locks are most common for sliding patio doors. They include two “hooks” that latch onto the door frame from the sash or sliding part of the door. Additionally, there are also four point locking mechanisms for sliding patio doors for added security.
French or Hinged Patio Door Locking Systems
French patio doors as well as hinged patio doors have normal deadbolt locking systems. These deadbolt locks are comprised of a deadbolt on the top and a bottom lock on the knob or handle of the door similar to the locking systems of ordinary exterior doors.
What is the Best Patio Door?
It’s hard to say which style of patio door is going to be the best for your home without considering how you would like to use it. For instance, someone who wants to keep their patio door open without letting pesky bugs or mosquitoes into their home will appreciate a sliding patio door. If you want more of a traditional door for your patio, you may want to get a swinging or French patio door that swings open rather than sliding.
Another important consideration is your budget when buying a new patio door. Be aware that real wood doors will be much more expensive than their vinyl or fiberglass counterparts. Additionally, the more physical doors that you’ll have to your patio entrance, the higher the price. For instance, a hinged 3 door combination for your patio will typically cost more than a sliding patio door.
Ultimately, with the help of this guide, you can understand what you should look for when buying or replacing a patio door for your home. Take into account the various options available like materials, glass options and styles and tailor them to your needs to find the right patio door for you.