Last week, we jumped into a discussion of why patio doors might be your next best home improvement project. Among other things, we talked about how additional natural light in your home can be a boon to your health and to your energy bill. This week, let’s explore some patio door options. Keep in mind the architecture and design of your home, as this will help you decide which patio door system is the best fit for your space and your style! Patio doors are great in all areas, but especially down toward Rehoboth and Lewes, Delaware, where they are next to essential to let the cool ocean breeze into the house.

Sliding Patio Doors

Floor to ceiling sliding patio doors are one of the most popular options, and for good reason. They impart a simple and clean look from both the inside and the outside, and they provide the broadest view of the outdoors.  Because this style of door slides along a track, you can increase livable space and decorate as you please around the doors without having to account for their opening and closing.

Most sliding patio doors feature one large pane, though some companies offer grilles which can be internal or external, and which create a look of many smaller panes. As Lowes.com explains, “low-maintenance internal grilles add a nice design element, while external grilles have a more substantial, traditional look. Removable grilles offer easy snap-on, snap-off versatility.”

This style of patio door also allows you to include a sliding screen door. This feature is particularly attractive for homeowners who spend a lot of time outside on the deck or in a patio area, as it encourages freer movement to these locations. In addition, a sliding screen allows you to enjoy fresh air during mild seasons.

The wider door opening that comes with a sliding patio door is another benefit for families who spend a lot of time on decks or patios, and especially for those who enjoy hosting, grilling, or dining al-fresco.

French Patio Doors

French patio doors - wooden

French patio doors provide their own beautiful look to your home. They are best suited to a more traditional aesthetic, with doors that hinge open instead of sliding to allow passage. French doors can feature several panels, like in the image above, or just one large pane, similar to a sliding door. The type of panelling you choose will also affect the look of the door, and will allow you to create a more or less traditional look.

Functionally, French patio doors will require you to think a little more about furniture placement and ornamentation, as the doors need room to open and shut. Some models offer one stationary door and one hinged door to maintain the look of French doors while providing a bit more versatility with door placement. This is a good consideration if your living space is smaller.

Patio Door Materials

You will find that patio doors are available in four materials: clad wood, which is wood that features an metal or fiberglass shell on the outside, fiberglass, vinyl, and steel.

Clad wood is a good option if you love the look of real wood and would enjoy a view of it from the inside, but want to make sure it’s protected from the elements. The frame that faces indoors may require some upkeep, though, to keep it looking beautiful.

Fiberglass is great because finishes are often indistinguishable from real wood, but this material is much more durable. You won’t need to repaint or refinish your fiberglass patio door as it ages.

Vinyl patio doors are among the most affordable options, and they’re a cinch to clean. They don’t impart the same look as fiberglass or clad wood, but if you’re prioritizing function, vinyl could be a good pick.

Steel patio doors are also a low-maintenance option. As Lowes.com notes, steel is “great at insulating.

Steel patio doors have insulated cores and therefore tend to be more energy efficient.”

Security & Privacy

As with any entry door, you should always consider security and privacy when designing your patio door.  There are many options available that will give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your door for years to come.

Build in blinds or shades in sliding patio doors are a great way to bring privacy into your home without compromising style or messing with large curtain panels. An added bonus: built-in blinds and shades are completely maintenance-free.

If you love the idea of letting natural light in through your patio doors but aren’t sold on the idea of built-in options, glass bevelling, textured glass, or opaque glass can provide more privacy while still allowing the sunshine in. And these options often add character and style to your patio doors!

When it comes to making sure your door is securely locked, you have several options. Locks can be installed at the door’s handle, as well as at the top and/or bottom of your patio door. A footbolt will give you an additional measure of protection, and can be installed so as to allow for a small opening for ventilation while still providing security to your home.