Patio Door Options

by megan on December 20, 2011

new patio door can be a great addition to any home, and there are a lot of choices out there. So, which patio door is right for you?

Vinyl Patio Doors – As the least expensive and most energy efficient option, more people these days are putting vinyl sliding patio doors in their homes. Vinyl patio doors are lighter weight than the older aluminum sliding doors, and the frames are much more energy efficient. One of the major benefits of vinyl patio doors is that the frame has welded corners. This essentially makes the frame one solid piece of vinyl, so there is little to no possibility for air infiltration. Vinyl patio doors typically come with energy efficient Low-E glass and are available with many styles and options. Using a Low-E insulated glass unit instead of single or double-pane clear glass will make a big difference in comfort due to the large volume of glass.  Our vinyl sliding doors are almost always sold with the screen included.

Aluminum Patio Doors – Aluminum patio doors have a smaller market because they are less thermally efficient. As a result, most consumers are turning to the more popular vinyl patio sliders, or the French style patio doors.

French Patio Doors – If you are looking for French style patio doors, vinyl is usually not an option because of the weight of the glass in the swinging panels.  If French style patio doors are built in vinyl, there is a greater possibility that the frame could warp. Because of the heavy glass panels, French patio doors are usually built using metal, wood, or wood clad-aluminum frames. The wood clad-aluminum frames are the most popular and are available in many wood types and color options. The door itself has a stainable wood frame with aluminum facing on the outside. This is especially great in the New Mexico climate, because it protects the outside of the door from the elements.

French patio doors are available in lots of options, but there are a few key factors to keep in mind.

• Be aware of the cost. French style patio doors can sometimes be twice as much as the more energy efficient vinyl doors. However; if style is what you’re after, French patio doors are the best looking!

• The locking mechanism on French doors is something to consider. Some French doors have a single latch hook, while others have a multi-point lock. The single latch lock is the cheaper option, but the multi-point lock is the most secure. The multi-point lock is a deadbolt lock, along with a post lock that secures the top and bottom frame of the door. The multi-point locks are typically only found on the better quality doors. This lock also helps to keep the door panel from moving. In the long run, keeping the door more stable will prevent the possibility of warping the wood frame, which is the most common cause of air infiltration.

• French style patio doors also have a better seal than a vinyl or aluminum sliding doors. Because of the design of French doors, the compression seal created by the two panels closing together is more air-tight than a sliding door.

• French patio doors don’t usually come with a matching screen door, but most often, one can be ordered for an extra cost.

Another factor that might influence your decision is what kind of space you have. It may not be practical to have in-swinging French patio doors where a vinyl sliding door or aluminum slide door will provide more space. Since sliding doors move against themselves, they require no room to swing and thus take up a lot less space. However; if you have the space for a French patio door, the swinging doors offer a much larger opening.

Whether you’re looking for vinyl patio doors or French style doors, they will all increase the value and bring much more light into your home! As always, we at Glass-Rite offer free, no pressure on-site estimates and would be pleased to give you an estimate on your next patio door project.