How to Choose a Patio Door: Key Considerations

Patios are a terrific way to expand your living space. As the warmer weather approaches, people look forward to sometime in the sun, even if it is just from one’s own patio. Time spent outdoors serves as a welcome respite after suffering through the chill of winter.

If you’re in the market to install a new patio or update your existing one this coming spring or summer, then you’re also in the market for the perfect set of patio doors. You may ask; what kind of patio doors are the best for my home? For starters, there are a couple of key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Homeowners are always on the lookout for savings, and I’ll bet you’re no different. As a builder, I’d say one sure way to increase your savings is by looking for energy-efficient properties and functionality in your door selection.


  1. Another aspect you’re sure to care about is how the door looks, and how it fits in with your home’s design.

With these considerations in mind, draw up a list of questions to ask yourself. These questions should help you decide which type of patio door will suit you best. Ask yourself:


patio-doorsDo I live in an area where the seasons are marked?

If so, look for doors that won’t boost your energy costs, but instead energy efficiency in the home. Use double pane glass, or thermally insulated panes, at the very least. Better yet, opt for High Performance™ Low-E4® SmartSun™ glass, available through top-ranked door and window manufacturers. This glass is 70% more energy efficient in summer and 45% more energy efficient in winter as compared to ordinary dual panel glass. Also, go for high-quality weather stripping that can prevent airflow between the indoors and outdoors.

How much room do I have for the sliding door?

With limited wall space, a sliding door may not be a possibility for you. A more practical choice would be doors that swing inward or outward. However, you will have to sacrifice some patio or indoor space if you use swinging doors. If you have enough room in the wall, the sliding door option is the best choice, as it will maximize your patio and indoor space.

What do I gain from a wider door opening?

Sliding doors take up twice the wall space, but because they allow for a wider wall opening, they can also considerably improve airflow and allow in more natural light.

What’s the downside to a sliding door?


Insulation can be a bit of a problem with the wider wall openings required by sliding doors. To maintain comfortable temperatures in the home year-round, look for energy-efficient glass panes. Also, keep in mind that professionally installed fabricated or custom-fit doors are the way to go if you want to keep things airtight.

Will my sliding door last?

Wood has a lot to offer aesthetically, but requires constant and regular upkeep to retain its stunning appearance. Fiberglass is a great alternative, but Fibrex®, a patented composite material that combines the beauty of wood with the ease of maintenance for vinyl, is the top choice. Fibrex® performs superbly and lasts longer than most other materials will.

The only thing now left to consider is your personal preferences in design. Your patio doors need to enhance both the beauty of your home and the beauty of your outdoors. At the same time, don’t forget that you need to strike the best balance between your energy efficiency needs and your personal aesthetics and style.

Making the right choice can make all the difference in how happy you are with your final choice of patio doors.

Author Bio:

Samuel Carter is an operations manager at Renewal by Andersen of Northern Virginia and DC, where his customer-centric, hands-on approach makes him a favorite among customers. Apart from writing blogs, Samuel loves to dabble in creative pursuits such as painting and music in his leisure time.


Erin Emanuel


  1. My family has a sliding door, and it desperately needs to be replaced. Getting the door to open is very difficult. I have been wondering whether replacing it with a door that opens in or out might be better than getting a new sliding door. However, as you pointed out, a sliding door is really nice for saving indoor and patio space. I will be sure to consider what you’ve said when I get my back door replaced.

  2. These are all the things that I have been taking into consideration before I purchase a new set of patio doors for my home. This is not something that I can just go with any patio door that seems good at that moment. I need to take a bunch of things into consideration. The good thing though, is that this post has helped me to quite a bit in deciding which type I should go with.

  3. Asking if your new sliding door will last seems to be one of the most important things you can ask yourself. You’re right about evaluating different materials to choose the right patio door. Going with a fiberglass door seems like a great suggestion. I was considering installing a wood door, but I also felt like they would require a lot of upkeep. If a fiberglass door requires lees maintenance, but still has a lot of style, then that seems like the door for me.

  4. I like both your tips for choosing a patio door. It needs to fit the style of your house, but is also a good idea to look at the functionality and energy-efficiency of it. That way you can get your money’s worth for your patio door.

  5. My husband and I have been wanting to install some glass doors to our patio for a while now. We really love the look and feel that it can bring to a room and it would be nice to have some more light entering our living room. I’m not sure what design plan we want to go with yet so we will have to do some more research. Thank you for sharing this information!

  6. I didn’t think about the kind of glass I want on my new sliding doors. Thanks for mentioning the various kinds that I should consider. We do have marked seasons where I live, so I’ll need to go for some of those thermally insulated panes. Do you know what the pricing difference might be for some of those as opposed to regular double pane?

  7. A patio or sliding door is a great addition to your house especially in the summer months. You should always keep your budget and your own personal preferences in mind when choosing one though. What could be better though, having the nice sun coming through the nice panes of glass.

  8. It would be really helpful to get the energy efficient patio doors you were talking about. The area where I live has all 4 seasons and I think getting special glass would help us with heating/ cooling costs. I’ll have to see if I can hire someone to come do this new patio door installation for me, thanks!

  9. I like that you mentioned sliding doors allowing more light and airflow. We have a sliding door in leading to our backyard and when it gets cool at night I love to open it up and get some air in the home. I think it is great for those who have kids going in and out also.

  10. I agree that it is wise to look for a patio door that can help preserve energy in your home. This can be especially important in those areas that have big differences in temperature throughout the year. There is a lot of money to be saved in conserving home energy use.

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