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The Ultimate Patio Door Buying Guide

How to Select the Perfect Patio Door for your Lee’s Summit Home

Patio doors create an ambiance, elevate a lifestyle and form the crossover from interior to exterior.

Whether sliding patio doors, French patio doors or sliding glass patio doors with a French twist, the modern patio door is not a one-size-fits-all. Choosing the perfect patio door can come down to luck but more than likely it requires thought towards style, materials and functionality.

Patio Door Opening Style

The three basic patio door styles have benefits and perhaps limitations depending on the need.

Sliding Patio Doors, which are also referred to as gliding or bypass doors, include at least two panels. At minimum, one of these panels slides on hidden rollers. Because sliding patio doors move parallel to the wall, they do not require a lot of space and therefore do not impede furniture placement. Without a door to open and close, there is no interference with a walking path or high traffic areas.  Additional features include:

  • Glass panels which provide an expansive view and natural lighting
  • A contemporary feel with straight, simple lines
  • Maximum ventilation with a patio door screen

Folding Patio Doors, often termed, Accordion-Style Folding Patio Doors, create a natural extension from the inside to the outside. They span floor to ceiling and operate on an overhead track. Folding patio doors encompass an entire wall space and when opened completely, eliminate any barrier between a living-room social setting and a swinging hot-spot on the deck. These doors are ideal for:

  • A view – beachfront, mountain top, garden, deck, swimming pool –all deserving of an unobstructed illustration.
  • A temperate climate
  • Entertaining

Price may be a deterrent; however, as folding patio doors are very expensive. The base investment may be exaggerated by additional costs for custom materials and climate requirements such as increased insulation or tinted glass. Patio door installation and labor rates are often not included in the retail quote and add dollars to the total ticket.

Hinged patio doors are the traditional patio door and open front-to-back. These doors are excellent for drafts or high wind areas as they create a tight seal when pressed together. French patio doors are part of the “hinged family” and are hung on opposite sides of the opening frame with a latch in the middle. As with sliding patio doors, multiple glass panels promote an ideal view and solar lighting. French patio doors also:

  • Create a sense of openness
  • Add charm and elegance with classic lines
  • Offer the most design styles

Hinged doors require additional space so it is important to evaluate room size and wall placement.


Patio Door Materials

There are a variety of material options for each door style. Materials are not limited to just sliding patio doors or French patio doors. Additionally, combining materials will create a unique and customized final product. Continuity may be retained with adding “like” materials to your existing home.  Below are available materials and corresponding characteristics.

Wood is unique based on its tree species. Straight or wavy grains, notches and a difference in color create a variety of design options. Wood also has the flexibility of glass decoration without limits.

Vinyl will never fade, flake, peel, rot or need painting. It is also very energy efficient and easy to mix-and-match. Vinyl is perfect for the home owner looking for a low maintenance/long-lasting option.

Fiberglass can mimic the look and feel of wood with less upkeep and more durability. It is a great choice for those looking for a variety of textures and a material that is mutable to home design. Fiberglass is resistant to peeling, warping and dents and is likewise low maintenance and long-lasting.

Aluminum is cost effective, corrosion resistant and performs well across the board. Aluminum is best suited to commercial properties and lake houses as it is very durable and resistant to rust and mildew.

Steel is a good choice for most temperatures and requires minimal upkeep. It is perfect for security as it is incredibly strong and durable in any circumstance. Steel is energy efficient and resistant to rotting, warping and shrinking

Along with material selection, glass patio doors may be purchased with levels of energy efficiency. Glass patio doors may also be tinted or frosted for security reasons. Special flashing is available to reduce leakage and hardware may be used to strengthen locks.

Choices abound as preference and lifestyle are large components of choosing sliding patio doors, folding patio doors or French patio doors. The perfect patio door will complement your home and provide smooth access to the outdoor world.

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