There are lots of different types of patio doors, and all of them have their unique charms. However, choosing the one that’s right for your home isn’t always straightforward. In this guide, we help homeowners decide between the different styles of new patio doors by explaining the various benefits of each type. We also provide a list of three main functionality-related considerations when making the final decision.
Types of Patio Doors
There are four main door options, with a broad array of styles, frames, and colors to choose from. The main function of these doors is to provide entry to your outdoor space, and in many cases, they incorporate glass panels to let light in and provide a view between the indoor and outdoor living spaces.
French patio doors are the most traditional style, but there are plenty of modern styles for more contemporary homes. They let in less light than some other types of doors due to being smaller and featuring wood, aluminum or PVC grilles that block some sun. The fact they’re not fully glazed also means they’re slightly less energy efficient, but the aesthetic fits in perfectly with rustic, cottage core-style home decor.
Steel-framed panel doors with fixed sidelights are gaining in popularity. They let in plenty of light, and their industrial look fits in well with chic, modern decor. Durability and light transmission are strong points of this style, and many people who’ve previously installed bi-fold aluminum or wood patio doors are opting for steel frames.
You can customize the number of panes according to your preference and the size of your home, and it’s possible to install this type of door throughout your property for a fully coordinated look.
Sliding Patio Doors
Sliding glass doors are another classic choice, but they suit traditional and contemporary home decor equally. The fact that they often feature almost nonexistent frames and grilles means they let more light in than most other types of doors. You also save a significant amount of space because the doors don’t open outwards, which looks neat and tidy. For the cleanest look, you can opt for pocket doors, which retract into subtle cavities in the wall.
Folding patio doors are gaining popularity among contemporary home decor connoisseurs. A major reason for this is that hinged doors let you easily open up an entire wall or even two or three for the ultimate gateway between indoors and outdoors. They stack accordion-style to save space and come in a wide range of styles, including decorative glass and specialist locking systems for extra security and energy efficiency.
Considerations to Make When Choosing Types of Patio Doors
Now that you understand the visual appeal and some technical specifications of each type of door, we’ll explain some additional considerations to make sure you get the most suitable patio doors for your property.
Getting new patio doors can improve the energy efficiency of your home, making it kinder to the environment and saving money on utility bills. Using modified fiberglass and choosing the right frame could let you turn down the heat during winter and chilly evenings throughout the year. There are other types of glass to consider as well, including fireproof, noise-canceling, and self-cleaning.
Low-E glass is the most energy-efficient because it’s coated with an invisible layer of metal. By reflecting sunlight, it keeps the room at a steady temperature and prevents heat from escaping when it’s colder. Sliding doors and bifold doors are the most energy-efficient, especially when combined with treated glass and frames.
Patio doors are such a large feature of any room that they automatically become a focal point. As such, the most important aesthetic consideration is what will fit best with your home’s architecture. Here are some ideas to think about regarding design:
- Bifold patio doors are the most versatile style, allowing you to customize them according to your preferences and the style of your home.
- If space is limited, sliding patio doors are the most efficient.
- Hinged doors can be difficult to open if they’re covering a larger space.
Door Frame Material
Now that you know which style is best for your home, here are some tips to help you pick the right material for the frame.
- Aluminum doors are durable and low-maintenance, and it’s possible to install them with a thermal break to save energy.
- PVC doors are durable and affordable and come in a wide range of styles. They’re easy to maintain, but they might not have the same visual appeal as the other two.
- Wood patio doors are perfect if you’re a fan of a traditional, rustic look — but they require lots of maintenance and might not last as long as PVC or aluminum.
Patio Door Tips
Here are some final tips in case you’re still stuck over which type of door is best for your home:
- Ensure the materials you choose fit nicely with the rest of your home.
- Make sure you have enough space for the doors you select.
- Look for doors with sturdy hook-and-bolt locks, and think about adding a bar for sliding doors.
- Go for low-E glass to prevent heat from escaping.
- PVC, fiberglass, and aluminum doors are the easiest to maintain.