The Comprehensive Guide to Patio Doors

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Patio doors give you great flexibility, especially if you live in a climate where the seasons change. In addition to being easy on the eyes, patio doors can help you control the temperature inside your household.

However, poorly chosen or installed doors have a way of ruining even the best designs. If you have a patio door that lets in too little light, cause air leakage, or creates drafts, etc., it can create a host of problems. In this article, we will give you some simple tips and tricks on choosing the right patio door.

How do you know when it’s time to replace a patio door?

If you find yourself doing any of the following, a new patio door is a good idea:

Drafts coming through the bottom or sides are an obvious sign that your door is not completely sealed and insulated. Drafts mean less heat in the winter and more heat in the summer. It also means chilly floors during those same seasons.

  • Issues with the locking mechanism – Missing lock cylinders, broken springs, broken latches, or hinges are all signs it is time to replace. If you catch these problems early enough, they will be relatively easy to fix. However, replacing your patio door will become much more expensive if you let them go on for too long because of the added labor.
  • Water dripping from the bottom of the door – If you have mildew or mold forming under your patio door, it’s a sign that either there isn’t a water barrier between the interior and exterior or that your sealant has failed. In wetter climates, this can be exacerbated by snow melting on top of the door, causing the water to run down and under.
  • Peeling paint around the exterior edge of your door – Paint peeling is a sign that moisture “wicking” has occurred, which means the barrier between the interior and exterior isn’t working correctly anymore.
  • One unit (the door or window) needs repair, but you can still see daylight through the other – This is also a sign of moisture “wicking.”
  • The door is visibly warped, or you can feel air movement between it and the frame -Moisture wicking will cause wood to expand and contract. That results in warping, which can be dangerous if left unrepaired. It usually starts with an obvious gap and gets worse over time. Warping can also cause the door frame to not line up with the locking mechanism, resulting in a stuck door and causing other issues.
  • One or more panels are stuck – If your patio door is sticking, it will be most likely operational, but you may notice drafts coming through the bottom edge or even gaps at the top. A sticking door usually occurs because of an issue with the locking mechanism, especially if you can see daylight and/or feel air movement between panels.
  • The glass is broken – If your patio window’s glass broke, it should not be surprising that other problems will arise. The glass serves as a sealant so other elements can get in and cause issues when it’s gone.
  • The patio door is just old – If it has been around since the 90s, it might be time for an upgrade (and new windows wouldn’t hurt either).

Can patio doors be repaired and resealed?

A lot of the time, it’s possible to repair damaged patio doors without replacing them. However, even if you can’t see daylight through the door itself because of mildew or water damage, the frame might still allow air to pass between the inside and outside. Since moisture is usually what causes problems in patio doors, repairs are only a temporary fix.

Repairing a patio door usually requires replacing the weather stripping and resealing. It can be done by a professional, or you can try to do it yourself, but be prepared for the possibility of messing something up. If you choose this option, make sure you have a clear plan first and check out youtube videos that may help with how to do it.

Repairing a patio door with warped panels is difficult and costs more than replacing the entire unit altogether. The same goes for a sticking door. A sticking or jammed locking mechanism can be fixed by lubricating the tracks but may need to include replacing parts of the lock.

If you see any other problems with your patio door, you should plan to replace it.

If a patio door is more than 20 years old, it can be more efficient and cost-effective to replace. Installing a new patio door may come out cheaper in the long run, depending on your maintenance needs. A new patio door will also keep energy costs down since older doors are particularly bad at cutting energy costs. You can even get thermal and sound-proofing features in new patio doors, so your home is protected against the elements while keeping comfortable.

Bi-fold patio doors Milgard

What to consider when selecting a new patio door?

There are five main things to consider:

  • Width – Make sure your replacement patio door is slightly smaller than the frame you have now. It will reduce the stress put on the sides of your frame and allow for a little extra room so it can move within its track without breaking anything.
  • Size – As mentioned above, make sure you buy a replacement that fits into your existing frame, so you have the largest amount of room possible. That will help prevent damage to your doors, walls, and foundation.
  • Style – New patio doors come in a wide range of styles, so take some time to look through them before you buy. You can find ones completely different from what you have now or just update the windows with new designs that complement the rest of your home.
  • Energy-efficiency – As mentioned above, you can buy patio doors that will reduce energy costs and add other thermal protection as well. Newer windows don’t have to make your house look outdated. Today, window styles blend in with the existing decor or even mimic styles from previous decades.
  • Price – How much you decide to spend on a new patio door is up to you. You can buy a basic one or splurge on something that has all the bells and whistles, so the sky’s the limit.

What are the material options for a patio door?

When you’re shopping for a new patio door, you’ll see they are available in different materials. The most common ones are wood, fiberglass, and vinyl, but each has its pros and cons, so choose the one that works best for your home.

  • Wood – Many people like having a wooden patio door because it looks good with any home style. Wooden patio doors are easy to maintain and come in both single and double pane windows. However, they do require regular maintenance to prevent warping, cracks, and wear.
  • Fiberglass – If you want your door to last for a long time, look for one made with fiberglass. It is also suitable for energy efficiency and can be recycled, which has a lower impact on the environment. It’s also durable, doesn’t warp or crack, and requires little maintenance.
  • Vinyl – It is another good option if you’re going for a low-maintenance patio door. They are easy to take care of and don’t require as much cleaning as the others. If you want a low-cost option and don’t mind dealing with regular cleaning, vinyl is a good choice for your new patio door.

What should I look for in a sliding glass door?

The biggest concern for sliding glass doors is their maneuverability. Since they are moved around so much, it’s important to make sure they roll smoothly on their wheels or bearings.

You should also think about the type of locking mechanism you want, but realize that the tighter your door closes to its frame, the less safe it will be because there won’t be as much room for error. Also, keep in mind where you plan on cutting through your door, so it will remain balanced and glide easily along its track.

What is the difference between garden doors and French doors?

Garden doors and French doors both have two sets of glass panes, but they are used in different ways. Garden doors open on hinges and slide along a track similar to a sliding glass door. They can be opened to one or three sides, so you get more light and air into your home when it is opened.

On the other hand, French doors swing open like a regular door and can be used as patio doors or outside entry doors. Of course, you could also use them inside for rooms that need more light and air, like kitchens and breakfast nooks.

What are the most popular modern styles of patio doors?

You can find patio doors that are contemporary, traditional, rustic, minimalistic, minimalist, transitional, classic French country, casual farmhouse styles. There are many to choose from, so try looking through catalogs or showrooms if you need help narrowing your options.

What is the most secure type of patio door?

A patio door that is solid core or steel framed offers more security than one that’s hollow. That is because the frame is stronger and can withstand more force without buckling.

What are the most energy-efficient types of glass doors?

A patio door with energy-efficient features like Low-E glass, argon gas in the insulation, or a low U value are good choices. Low-E (emissivity) glass reflects radiant heat away from the house, so it cools down faster. Argon gas fills spaces between panes of glass to help prevent drafts, and a low U value means that you’re getting good insulation for your home.

How can I protect my patio from excessive sunlight?

If you want to protect your patio from the sun, you could install blinds or shades on top of it. Some awnings can be installed above the door to keep it shaded. Alternatively, think about installing skylights or floor-to-ceiling windows along one side of your home, so there is less exposure to the sun.

Can I install a patio door myself?

Possibly. It depends on the type of door you’re looking for and how many replacement or new windows you plan on having in your home, as well as whether you need to hire an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) professional to run ducting through your walls. If DIY isn’t something that’s up to your alley, ask your contractor to help you find a local installer.

Do I need a permit to install a patio door?

If you’re going to be opening walls, you’ll likely need a permit. Check with your local city office before beginning any construction. The laws vary from state to state and city to city.

How much do patio doors cost?

That depends on a few things like the material you’re going with, whether it’s a custom style or a standard size, whether they’re double-paned or triple-paned, and if there are any additional features. The average cost is around $2500.

Does insurance cover patio doors?

Yes, most insurance companies cover patio doors. However, you might want to check with your provider first to make sure the model and style of door you want are covered.

What are the best patio door brands?

There are many patio door brands to choose from like:

Jeld-Wen, LaCantina, Milgard, Pella, Premium Vinyl Products, and more!

What are the best treatment options for patio doors?

Several options are available for patio doors, such as faux wood blinds, plantation shutters, and roller shades. You can also install awnings above the patio door to keep it shaded.

Where can I purchase patio doors online?

You can purchase patio doors online from dealers who have plenty of experience working with these kinds of projects. Make sure to look at all of your financing options before you make a final order. Specific deals might be more affordable than others depending on the kind of credit that you have available.

Window replacement companies like ClearMax Windows & Doors offer the most remarkable patio doors from renowned door makers. If you have any questions regarding patio doors, contact ClearMax® for a free consultation today!