This article is the third in a series of 15 articles where we “decode” some of the industry terms surrounding replacement windows. Stay tuned for upcoming posts that we hope will help educate San Diego homeowners and allow them to make more informed decisions.
When most people think of patio doors, they tend to think of the common two-panel glass sliders. This style of door serves a lot of San Diego homeowners well, but it isn’t the only option for patio doors.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the other options available to San Diego homeowners looking to better enjoy the indoor-outdoor lifestyle that is so popular in San Diego.
As mentioned before, two-panel sliders are the most common type of patio doors out there, but what you may not know is that you can get sliders (called such because the doors slide open and closed on tracks) with three or even four panels. With a three-panel slider, one of the panels is operable (able to be open and closed) while the other two glass panels are fixed. With most patio door manufacturers, you can choose which panel you want to be the operable panel. If you have a large wall that you want to fill with glass, you could go with a four-panel slider. Not only will you let a huge amount of light into your home, but you will also get a large opening to the outdoors, since the center two panels can both be opened at the same time.
Swinging French Doors
Swinging French patio doors (sometimes called French hinged doors) are another popular choice for San Diego homeowners. Many consider them an upgrade compared to the more common sliding patio doors. They contribute a casual elegance to any home they’re installed in and are particularly fitting for homes with a more traditional style.
Swinging French doors open and close on hinges like a standard exterior door. The two doors that make up swinging French doors typically swing outward and away from each other, creating a nice, wide opening. The only downside to swinging French doors is that they require a certain amount of clearance, which means they sometimes don’t work well for small patios or balconies.
French Sliding Doors
If you like the look of swinging French doors, but don’t want your doors to swing outward, you can opt for French sliding patio doors. They operate much like a slider, with one panel sliding in front of the other panel, but have the look of French doors with the wider frame around the glass. However, unlike traditional French doors, only one panel is operable in French sliding doors, which means you won’t get the wide open space you would with swinging French doors. They’re still a great option, however, if you want to give your space a more sophisticated look.
Folding Patio Doors
Folding patio doors have increased greatly in popularity in the last decade or so. They are highly customizable and give you the largest opening available. You can have a folding patio door built for your space with multiple panels (four panels seems to be the most common), and all panels can be opened at the same time, virtually eliminating an entire wall and creating a great connection from the inside of your house to the outside. The panels fold back on themselves while they slide open almost effortlessly.
Many folding patio door designs feature what’s known as a “traffic door.” This is a hinged door that’s installed within the entire set of doors that can be used for regular, everyday traffic, when you don’t want to open up the whole wall of doors.
Folding patio doors are a great option if you have a more modern look to your home, although you can find them in more traditional styles as well. Their only downside is that they tend to be pricey and are prone to leaks if not installed correctly.