Patio Door Selection

How to Select the Right Patio Door for Your Home and Patio

By Mark J. Donovan

Normally patio doors are found off of family rooms, great rooms or kitchens. Patio doors can make or break the entrance into your home from a backyard patio or deck. As a result, when choosing a patio door for your home design you want to find one that provides the elegance and charm that is consistent with the rest of the room that it opens into. You also want to install a quality one that will stand the test of time and keep your home energy efficient.

Key Patio Door Features

When it comes to patio door selection there are a plethora of options to choose from.

There are also a number of important patio door features and factors to consider when buying a patio door. For example, you need to consider the weather for your climate region when buying a patio door. If you live in a cold climate you will certainly want to buy a patio door that is well insulated and includes thermo-pane glass. And regardless of where you live, you’ll want to purchase patio doors with at least double pane Low-E glass for Ultra-Violet (UV) protection of your home.

Door weatherstripping is another critical component in patio door selection. Weather you live in a hot or cold climate it is important that the patio door not be drafty. If it is, you’ll waste money heating and cooling your home due to poor quality patio door sealing. So make sure to select a patio door that has high quality weatherstripping.

Lastly, consider the amount of window panes, or size of window panes, in the patio door. In some cases, you may want as much natural light to enter the home via the patio door as possible. In other cases, you may want less, depending upon where you live and the direction the patio door faces off of the home.

 What to look for when buying a patio door.

Summarized below is a short description of the various patio door types to choose from to help you in your purchasing decision.

Wooden Patio Doors

In general wooden patio doors are fairly inexpensive and have an overall decent insulation factor.

They are, however, more susceptible to the natural elements and thus need to be cared for more regularly. They are also more sensitive to moisture issues which can translate into door swelling and sticking, as well as rot. With proper water sealing the moisture issue can be somewhat mitigated.

Vinyl Patio Doors

Vinyl patio doors are also fairly inexpensive, and depending upon the construction can have reasonable insulation factors. They are also nearly impervious to the natural elements and thus will not warp or twist over time. In addition, moisture is of no concern with vinyl patio doors. Thus they will not rot or swell/contract with changing moisture levels.

Aluminum Patio Doors

Aluminum patio doors are also very affordable; however they are at the low quality end. They tend to have poor insulation levels, and their paint frequently ends up flaking off of them in time. They are also more susceptible to breaking and maintenance is fairly difficult. If they break, you are better off simply replacing them.

Deck Installation Bid Sheet

French Style Patio Doors

French Style Patio Doors have become increasingly popular in recent years because of their elegance and charm. They also allow copious amounts of natural sunlight to enter through them. They are typically constructed out of wood, and may be vinyl clad on their exterior side. French style patio doors are available in a variety of types including, doors that open inwards into a room, slider doors, and bifold doors.

Due to their construction and mechanical complexity, as well as their higher end look, French style patio doors are fairly expensive. The fact that they often consist of two or more doors, they are more susceptible to mechanical issues and foundation settling. This can lead to the doors not shutting well and air infiltration.

Sliding Glass Patio Doors

Sliding patio doors are very popular today with homeowners. Besides providing lots of natural light they don’t swing open which consumes interior floor space. They are also very easy to maintain and can resemble French style patio doors when grilles are installed in the glass. Sliding patio doors can be purchased in wood, vinyl, metal, or vinyl clad wood.

Patio Door Installation

Patio door installation should probably be left to the professionals unless you have previous experience installing them. Patio doors can be installed into existing walls, however, some demolition and framing work are required. Vertical wall studs, as well as a header, have to be framed into the wall, and during the construction temporary bracing will be required. Again, it is best to have a professional carpenter install a patio door to ensure it is installed correctly and safely.

For help on building a deck, see’s Deck Installation Bid Sheet. The Deck Installation Bid Sheet will teach your how to hire the right deck contractor, and help to ensure that your deck project is completed on time and budget.

Related Information

Additional Deck Building and Design Resources

Get Free Deck Building Price Quotes with No Obligation!

Fill out our 3-5 minute quick and easy form, and receive a free price quote on decks from one of our pre-screened and licensed deck contractors. This process is free and there is no obligation to continue once you receive your decks price estimate.