Exterior Patio Doors: Choosing between Hinged or Sliding

July 21, 2010

Does your house have a deck or patio? Do you have a view of mountains, water, or an attractive yard?

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If so, exterior patio doors are a must for your home. Patio doors provide an important visual and physical transition between a home's indoor and outdoor space. Choosing new doors that complement your house's style while providing best access to the outdoors can increase the value of your home and offer you lasting enjoyment.

Patio doors can be either hinged or sliding. French doors are a style of hinged door that traditionally have multiple panes of glass. Standard hinged doors usually have a single pane of glass, allowing for an unobstructed view.

Many homeowners choose double hinged doors to let in a maximum amount of light, make a room feel larger, and provide easy access to the outdoors.

Sliding (or gliding) patio doors slide open horizontally and are either mounted in or hung from a track.

Both hinged and sliding doors offer various optional features. Some homeowners choose grilles, decorative glass, and various hardware accessories for their new doors, making the doors themselves as distinctive as their homes.

Hinged or Sliding: Which Is Better?

Knowing the pros and cons of each door type can help you choose the style that is best for you.

Hinged doors are generally more energy efficient than sliding doors. Furthermore, they are more secure, as most have standard locking mechanisms. Single hinged doors can be installed in walls where there is limited space, or can replace a traditional exterior door.

Sliding doors, on the other hand, are often preferred by homeowners because of the expansive view they offer of the outdoors. Furthermore, open doors do not take up floor space, because the doors simply slide behind one another.

The main disadvantages of sliding doors are that they are prone to drafts, and are considered risky from a security standpoint: Their latching mechanisms can be broken, and the doors can be lifted out of their tracks.

Patio Door Installation

Installing a door is not for the casual do-it-yourselfer. Patio door installation should be handled by a qualified contractor, to ensure that the air seal is tight and that your new exterior patio doors have the longest life possible.


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