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Doors & Windows

How To Choose a Patio Door

There is nothing more positive than opening your patio doors to welcome in the fresh air of spring and that feeling of warmth and relaxation is upon us. Perhaps your patio doors does not work as they used to, or maybe they never have opened or sealed just quite right. With every passing year, you keep telling yourself, “This is the year we get rid of that drafty and nasty patio door.”

Patio doors are one of the most popular features of any home. They provide convenient access while creating unimpeded views that flood interior spaces with natural light. While old-style patio doors were notorious for heat loss, leakage and poor security, modern doors offer significant improvements. Frames and glass are more energy efficient, many products incorporate multi-point locking mechanisms for better security and sophisticated flashing packages prevent leakage. As with any window or door today, there are many choices when it comes to choosing a patio door. With this guide, we hope to help you make the right ones.

In-swing Patio Door

Determine Your Patio Style

Hinged patio doors offer classic French-door elegance, often fitting nicely in a kitchen connecting to a patio or a family room that leads to the deck. If interior space is at a premium, you might consider a hinged patio door that swings out. This type of door is ideal if you live in a climate with high wind and inclement weather, since winds simply push the door against the jamb, ensuring a tighter seal.

Out-swing Patio Door

Sliding Patio Door

Sliding Patio Doors – sometimes called gliding doors or bypass doors – are extremely popular. They let in a lot of natural light and are easy to maintain. Sliding doors consist of two or more individual panels, at least one of which slides back and forth on hidden rollers. The sliding panels can be combined with fixed panels to create dramatically broad expanses of glass. Panels slide parallel to the wall so they don’t interfere with furniture placement or walking areas.

Bi-parting Patio Door

Bi-parting Patio Doors have opposing panels meeting in the middle of the door utilizing an astragal at the connection point.

Folding Patio Doors

Folding Patio Doors – a folding patio door system can open a wide area to the great outdoors. The system operates accordion-style, which means each section slides on an overhead track and neatly folds away for full access. They are available in several configurations, ranging from two to sixteen panels, a whopping 48 feet wide!


While design options can seem almost endless, for construction it comes down to fiberglass, vinyl, aluminum, steel, wood and clad-wood offerings. Your choice depends on what factors are most important to you.

Fiberglass – This material features both the feel and look of genuine wood, right down to the knots and cracks, with less upkeep. In fact, these doors are built to consistently withstand the rigors of any climate - hot or cold, wet or dry.

Aluminum – A lightweight and strong material that is a cost effective alternative to wood. This material is corrosion-resistant and performs well in most climates.

Steel – An economical option, steel offers strength and durability and is a good choice for most climates. These doors are also treated to deliver superior rust-resistance. They will require only minimal maintenance (in especially moist areas, they may require minor upkeep).

Vinyl – A strong plastic material that is used for its durability, energy efficiency and ability to stand up to the elements. This material will never fade in color, flake, peel or rot.

Wood – Wood comes from trees that grow in a variety of species, such as fir, pine, mahogany or alder. Each species has a range of characteristics, like grain, color and sap content, which contributes to its unique appearance.

Clad-Wood - Like a coat of armor, cladding is a strong layer of metal on wood or vinyl on wood, providing extra protection and low maintenance benefits with no exterior painting required.

Energy Efficiency

When you are choosing your new patio doors, it is a good idea to make energy efficiency a priority. Depending on your climate, the right patio doors could actually pay for themselves in reduced energy costs. Some factors to consider are R-value, U-factor, Low-E glass, UV coatings and other glass options such as mini-blinds between the glass, and muntins or grilles. Check here for another article on glass efficiency.

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Posted 2015-03-20T21:23:04+0000  by Angelo_HD_CHI Angelo_HD_CHI