Patio Doors Windows: Four Problems; Many Solutions!

April 08, 2011

Patio doors usually feature large areas of glass. This visually brings the outside in, and makes interior rooms look larger. But there are disadvantages, too.

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Patio Doors Windows Problems

  1. Security: The glass on patio doors is often the largest breakable area on a home's exterior. Often, patio doors are not easily visible from the street.
  2. Energy loss: Many climates have big temperature swings either day to night or season to season. Glass is the poorest insulator in your home's shell. Power company energy audits usually show your utility dollars flying out doors windows. Single pane aluminum framed sliding doors maximize undesirable thermal transfers.
  3. Furniture placement: Placing furniture inside the stationary part of glass doors defeats the indoor-outdoor visual advantage. Both upholstered furniture and wood furniture are subjected to deterioration by the sun. Wood furniture with unfinished backs or electronics' wires look unattractive from the patio side. If you avoid placing furniture there for those reasons, you have unusable wall space.
  4. Safety: Modern patio doors are usually made of glass that crumbles like a car window rather than shattering into dagger-like shards. Nevertheless many accidents still happen from people and pets colliding with a sliding glass door they think is open. Broken teeth, injuries from falls, broken bones, and concussions are common injuries from glass doors.

Glass Doors Problem Solvers

  1. Security: Replace glass doors with standard exterior doors which have a solid lower half and an operable window above. Mounting dead bolts or long-throw locks is easier in these doors. Alternately, get an electronic security system and post its label prominently on the door. Bars that lie in a sliding door's track, or articulated bars that mount on the frame to prevent it from sliding are other alternatives. The bars don't prevent a burglar from cutting out a large section of glass to gain access. Externally-mounted security doors are yet another option.
  2. Energy loss: Depending on your climate, replace your doors with double or triple pane insulated doors with insulating inert gas between the panes. Or order insulated doors with windows only in the top half. Or replace one door with a wall and window.
  3. Furniture placement: Replace one door with an insulated wall, possibly with a window the size of the upper half of your remaining patio door window.
  4. Safety: Replace existing doors with tempered safety glass doors. Install a grille on the bottom half for a visual barrier. Add attractive bars at waist height as a visual barrier. Buy French doors with multiple small panes.

Analyze your patio doors windows problems, and choose the solution that fits your home best.


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