Sliding Glass Patio Door Replacement: Three Things to Know

August 13, 2010

Many people don't give much thought to sliding glass patio doors; they open and close, and they're made out of glass. That's about all that most people know about sliding doors, but now that the time has come to do a sliding glass door replacement, there are a few things you should know before you open your wallet.

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Sliding Glass Patio Doors Handing

If you are planning on doing your own sliding glass door installation, it is important that you purchase a door that has the correct handing. Take a look at the door you are replacing, and you should see that one panel is stationary and the other slides open and closed. When you are standing on the inside of your home, which side is the operating panel on? If it is on the right side, it is a right-handed door.

This is a good opportunity for you to make a change if you always thought the door would be easier to use, if the panel that you walk through was on the other side. However, keep in mind that if you change the door handing, there may be a light switch that becomes awkward to use. Before you purchase a door, make sure the manufacturer identifies the door handing from the same side as you are; some manufacturers identify handing from the exterior side.

Sliding Glass Doors Are Different Widths

Just because every sliding glass door you have ever measured has been 5-feet wide doesn't mean they all are. Before you start your sliding glass door installation measure the door you're replacing, and make sure you purchase the correct size. Most sliding glass doors are 4-, 5- or 6-feet wide, but you may have custom doors.

Sliding Glass Door Replacement Options

Sliding glass patio doors are made out of a variety of materials and doing a replacement can be an opportunity for a door upgrade. The most common types of sliding glass patio doors are:

  • Aluminum
  • Vinyl
  • Vinyl Clad
  • Wood

Higher end doors are usually wood or vinyl clad and depending on size and glass configuration might run close to $1,000 or more for a set. Vinyl, aluminum, and some vinyl clad doors are a little more economical and may range from $400 to almost $1,000 a set depending on size, configuration, and the area of the country you live in.


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