Finding the Perfect Patio Doors

Need a door in your home, but want a window too? Why not both? Patio doors let fresh air in, reveal the beautiful scenery, and serve as a secure and convenient entrance. The good news is modern patio doors last longer, are more stylish, and require less maintenance than ever before.

The Style and Beauty of Patio Doors

Available in wood, steel, aluminum, fibreglass or extruded vinyl

Don't think patio doors will match your home or your lifestyle? Think again! Available in wood, steel, aluminum, fibreglass or extruded vinyl, these doors come in virtually any color and can include decorative details such as grilles. You can choose sliding or swinging doors, a suitable locking system, and a hardware style that creates the perfect look and feel.

Framing and Glass Options

While traditionalists love the warmth of wood, it isn't always the best choice. Manufacturers also use materials that require less maintenance, resist warping, and have a longer lifespan. Some of the most common are aluminum and vinyl cladding with engineered wood cores.

Up to 35% more efficient in summer and as much as 41% more efficient in winter

You also need to choose the right glass for your patio doors. You can choose single thickness, multiple panes, or insulated glass with a low-e coating for better energy efficiency. It's more expensive, but can be up to 35% more efficient in summer and as much as 41% more efficient in winter. Regardless of what you choose, it needs to be safety glass, which breaks into small pieces to prevent injury.

Swinging Patio Doors: In or Out

People often refer to any swinging or sliding glass doors as 'French doors', but traditional French doors are actually larger than patio doors and swing open from the center. Swinging patio doors can be designed so that one or both doors open. They can be hinged in the center, to the door jamb, or on both outer sides, depending on the space available.

Swinging the doors open in a movie-like fashion might sound wonderful, but your home may not have enough space. If that's the case, out-swinging doors might be the perfect solution. Just make sure they won't hit any furniture or railings, and that there's enough space so that people don't have to back up whenever you open them.

Space isn't the only issue. Swinging doors can also cost more, so if money is an issue, you may want to opt for sliding patio doors instead. Adding screens to outward swinging doors can also be a problem, but this can easily be solved by mounting a retractable screen on the jamb.

Sliding Patio Doors

Improved design and materials have made sliding patio doors fashionable, easy to operate, and long lasting.

Remember the old sliding patio doors? You're probably trying to forget-they jammed on the tracks, had bad locks, poor screens, and were difficult to operate. But these days, improved design and materials have made sliding patio doors fashionable, easy to operate, and long lasting.

They now use special roller assemblies for smooth gliding. The screens can operate on similar rollers, run along the sill, or are top mounted. They're made from better materials, too. Nickel-coated hardware suffered in salt water areas, but today's stainless steel hardware resists rust and holds up to normal wear and tear.

Being able to choose the material, glass, grilles and cladding means you can find sliding patio doors with the perfect look. Just remember: sliding doors aren't as flexible as swinging-styles. Sliding patio doors need at least two panels, and one of the two is generally stationary. And, if you use three or four panels, the outer panels are solid for a total width of up to 16 feet.

Patio doors can really open up the space, add freedom to your life, and beautify your home, but you have to choose the right ones. This guide should make sorting through the options a little easier.