Patio doors are designed to provide access to and views of your backyard patio, and you can choose from several different types. All of the types offer these advantages to one extent or another, but each one is has its own unique features and usefulness. If your home has an outdoor patio, here’s a guide to help determine which type of patio door is right for your home.
Sliding Glass Doors
Sliding glass doors often have one fixed panel and one sliding panel that lets you out into your backyard. One of the panels is fixed in place, while the other one slides back and forth as you open and close the door. This type of patio door is especially practical in two situations.
First, you may want a sliding glass door if you have only a small backyard patio. Since the moving panel slides parallel to the fixed pane, a sliding door doesn’t take up as much space as a door that swings out. Thus, you have more room on your patio for furniture or decor.
Second, senior adults sometimes appreciate how easy sliding glass doors are to use. Since the moving panel is held up on a track, it can be moved back and forth easily.
Additionally, a sliding glass door may also be a good option for a doorway that leads from a walk-out finished basement to a backyard patio.
Sliding glass doors aren’t always ideal, however. Because the fixed panel cuts the useable width of the doorway in half, a sliding door isn’t well-suited if you need to move large objects through the doorway.
French doors are made up of two swinging doors that stand opposite each other, so their hinges attach to either side of the doorway opening, and they meet in the middle of the opening. Many people who opt for this type of patio door simply like the French door style, but this style also has practical advantages.
First, French doors provide full access through the doorway. With both of the doors open, nothing obstructs the opening.
Second, opening up both doors also lets more air pass through the doorway. In the summer, this can help cool a cottage or home that doesn’t have air conditioning.
The downside of French doors is that the two doors need enough space to swing open, so they decrease how much of a patio’s width you can use. Generally, you need at least 30 inches — and sometimes 36 inches — between a door and any furniture. If a patio is only 10 feet deep, taking away 2.5 to 3 feet of the patio reduces its usable area by a minimum of 25 percent.
Bifold doors slide back and forth on a track. Unlike a sliding glass door, however, both sides of a bifold door slide open. They often open up at the middle, with both sides of the overall door sliding to opposite sides of the door frame. Additionally, bifold doors can open from one end of the door frame and fold in as they move to the other side.
Whichever way you want your bifold door to go, these allow you to use the full space of your backyard patio and completely open the doorway when you need to.
Bifold doors can also be great options if someone in the home is wheelchair-bound. These doors can be installed with a low threshold, so you can take a wheelchair easily back and forth through the doorway.
To find patio doors that will work well for your home, contact Pella Windows & Doors of Wisconsin.