Traditional sliding patio doors have been a popular architectural detail in the US and Europe since the early 20th century, largely due to their ability of increasing the amount of natural light in the room.
While this basic style is still a staple in homes, apartments, hotels, and other structures, there have been many improvements in the appearance, function, energy efficiency and security of patio doors. Today, there are many choices for the appearance, materials, and functioning of patio doors.
Sliding Patio Doors
Ranging from 5 to 8 feet in width, traditional patio doors are glass panels that slide from one side to the other. A fully open door is half the size of the entire framed unit. They lose heat, leak water when it rains, and pose security risks, yet they are still a popular choice due to their ease of use.
Currently, these doors are used as the basis for a larger door system where fixed and moving panels are used to create a large expanse of glass. Homeowners with scenic vistas, such as mountains, foliage, beaches, or cityscapes, incorporate these panoramic sliding door systems into their home to get the best view. Regardless of size, one of the biggest advantages of a sliding door is that the panels slide atop one another so that the door does not intrude into the room or out onto the patio.
Other Popular Styles
Several other types of patio doors are popular as well. Swinging patio doors utilize full glass panels that open much like a regular exterior door. One variation of this type of door is the French door, which is hinged at the side jam so that all the panels of the door meet when they are closed. The French door pulls back so that whole area between the hinges is clear.
Folding patio doors, which have numerous sections that slide and fold on an overhead track, stack away neatly at the sides for easy access and great visibility of the outdoors. They are available with any number of panels that can cover nearly 50 feet of width.
Both of these types extend into the room more than a slider does, and in larger sizes, has the same potential to lose energy.
Improvements in Patio Door Technology
Modern patio doors are still subject to losing some heat because they are made of glass, but a combination of glazing techniques and frame technology has reduced their potential for energy loss. They can be fitted with glass that factors in R-value, U-factor, low E-glass, UV coatings, double and triple panes, and other upgrades that make them energy-efficient and even resistant to windstorms. The frames for the doors, made of material such as vinyl, wood, clad word, steel, aluminum, or fiberglass, are insulated, and the metal ones have a have thermal breaks to reduce temperature transfer.
What distinguishes modern patio doors is variety that allows you to enjoy a broad view of the landscape without sacrificing energy loss. For a large selection and free estimate on your new patio doors, contact Rocky Mountain Windows and Doors, a distributor and expert installer of high quality patio doors and windows.