Three Tips before Buying Patio Doors

August 16, 2010

All patio doors may look similar, but there are important differences you should consider before you buy patio doors for that new sun room or remodeling project at your home. These tips should help you to be a little more knowledgeable about patio doors before you make the big purchase.

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How Do You Want Your New Doors to Open?

Most patio doors are available in either a sliding door or a French door configuration. Sliding doors are constructed with a stationary panel and an operable panel. The width of the panels is determined by the overall width of the door assembly. A sliding door that is 4 feet wide should have 2 panels that are each 2 feet wide, with one operable panel. An advantage of sliding patio doors is that they don't take up any floor space when open.

French doors also have two panels, but they operate with hinges just like conventional doors. One panel is operable, and the other one can be opened when needed or be made completely stationary. French doors can be easier for children to operate than sliding doors.

Who is Doing the Patio Door Installation?

When you buy patio doors, keep in mind who is doing your door installation. New doors going into an existing opening can be a fairly simple DIY project, but if you purchase doors that are larger than the existing opening, you are going to need some framing changes and may need to hire a door or window contractor to do the installation.

Buy Patio Doors Within Your Remodeling Budget

It is easy to get carried away when you shop for new doors, because you'll find some very nice patio doors are being manufactured these days. Patio doors can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, and many factors help determine the door prices:

  • The door frame construction materials
  • The size of the doors
  • The type of glass in the doors

If you choose Energy Star rated patio doors, you may be able to receive some of your costs back in the form of an energy tax credit from the federal government. Keep in mind that if you choose inexpensive doors with poor energy efficiency, they may end up costing a lot when you add in your higher energy bills.


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