Choosing a patio door

23 October, 2014

Many people want their backyard aesthetic to serve as an extension of their indoor design, spurring them to purchase beautiful outdoor furniture, patio dining sets and other outdoor entertaining decor. A great way to make this transition even more seamless is through strategic patio door design. When chosen correctly, patio doors can make the divide between the inside and outside of a home almost invisible, and best of all, their customizability means that there is an almost unlimited volume of options. 

Choose a style
The three major patio door styles are sliding, swinging and folding. The style best for your patio is determined by how much space you have and how you have your outdoor furniture situated, though you will want to choose a design that has a wide doorway to more fully connect your indoor space to your patio. 

Sliding doors are best for balconies and smaller patios, as they don't interfere with furniture placement and don't require any opening room. They are also almost completely made of glass, so they let in the most light of the three options and can save quite a bit of money on electricity. 

French doors, an incredibly popular patio selection, are classified under the swinging category, though they offer a much different look than their standard exterior door counterparts. These doors need adequate room to open but offer the widest variety of options, as you can customize a multitude of door style accessories. 

Folding doors open and close accordion style in a system of two to eight leaves. They are easily left open, making the barrier between your backyard and your home the most transparent. 

Select a material
The optimal material for your patio door will predominantly depend on your durability needs and your home's decorative appeal. While wood is a popular option, it requires the most upkeep of any option – we recommend you choose vinyl, aluminum, steel or fiberglass instead.

Fiberglass closely mimics the look of wood, but is much more likely to withstand the elements and requires virtually no upkeep. Aluminum is resistant to corrosion, making it ideal in more humid or wet climates. Steel, on the other hand, is the most economical option and is the most rust-resistant. If energy efficiency is your greatest concern, consider choosing vinyl. As a bonus, this supremely durable material will never fade or peel. If you absolutely must have a wooden patio door, then consider clad-wood; the metal armor around it will mean much less maintenance for you.  

Think about the door's surroundings when picking your material; what color is your patio stone or balcony? What color are your patio dining chairs? How about the walls in the connecting kitchen or living room? Keeping the feel of your indoor and outdoor decor similar will be a crucial when creating a seamless transition.

Factor in energy efficiency
Glass is a major component of patio doors, particularly if you've opted for sliding glass. Selecting Low-E glass can help you lower energy bills and protect your home from UV fading, while decorative tempered glass will give you a bit more privacy. If you need additional view control, install blinds or grills on the interior of your door. 

Picking out the perfect patio door will go far beyond making your backyard a beautiful extension of your home. It saves electricity, provides insulation, facilitates outdoor entertaining and compliments both your indoor and outdoor furniture.