Exterior Sliding Glass Doors: A Worthwhile Investment

July 19, 2010

Few features in your home can add as much aesthetic appeal as exterior sliding glass doors. Offering expansive views to the outdoors, sliding doors blur the distinction between indoor and outdoor space. They can increase the perceived size of a room and add value to your home.

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New Sliding Door Options

The standard size for exterior sliding glass doors is 6-feet 8-inches high. In houses with high ceilings, 8-foot-high sliding glass doors can add a striking design element. Many door manufacturers also offer matching transom windows designed to fit above the doors. Standard widths are 6 and 8 feet, although some manufacturers offer 3- and 4-panel sliders, which can span a width of 12 feet.

Many of the problems typically associated with sliding glass doors--namely draftiness and break-in potential--have been addressed by door manufacturers. New door options may include deadbolt or mortise locks, making them more secure than the traditional latching doors. Energy-saving features are also available, such as argon-filled panes and low-E glazings.

Sliding Door Prices

The price of your exterior sliding glass doors can vary considerably depending on their specifications. Wood and fiberglass doors are generally more expensive than vinyl doors, but are more attractive. Some homeowners choose to add decorative grilles and glass to custom doors, which can increase the price. Transoms and specialty insect screens can also cost more, as can energy-saving features.

The least expensive doors are made out of vinyl or composite materials. While prices vary considerably, you might pay roughly $500 for the least expensive sliding glass door on the market, not including installation. If you upgrade materials, add decorative features, and look for state-of-the-art energy-saving properties, you could pay upwards of $3,000.

Door installation costs also vary, and depend on whether you are adding a new or replacement door, as well as other factors. Installation costs range anywhere from $300 to $1200. Check with a local contractor for cost estimates.

Installing a Sliding Door

Should you install the sliding glass doors yourself to cut costs? Not unless you are a highly skilled carpenter. Even when it's a replacement, installing a door can be a major undertaking, one that is usually best left to a professional.

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