Should I Get Patio Doors with Built-in Blinds?

Should I Get Patio Doors with Built-In Blinds?

Built-in blinds in patio doors may be an attractive option and do have advantages, particularly for certain types of people. However, there are drawbacks and may not be for everyone. DFW homeowners should do their homework and consider both the disadvantages in addition to benefits before deciding on purchasing them. You can learn about available options, what styles of doors have built-in blinds, and the pros and cons in this post.

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 How Patio Doors with Built-in Blinds Work

Patio doors with built-in blinds have two panes of glass with Venetian-style blinds situated in the space between the panes. They sit horizontally when opened and vertically when closed. Like external blinds, built-in blinds work in a similar manner to their traditional counterparts. There are several methods available for operation.  Most external blinds require a cord to raise and lower them and a rod-type mechanism to tilt the blinds open and closed. Internal blinds may offer these options as well but might also use a magnet on a sliding track to raise and lower the slats. Many models also accomplish this function using motors controlled by a switch or button mounted near the door frame or utilize a wireless remote control system. Some of the more recent types are programmable and can even be opened and closed from your smartphone via a mobile app.

Advantages of Built-in Blinds

Patio doors with built-in blinds are more streamlined than other models. Since the blinds are contained between panes of glass, they are protected from damage and offer you privacy without sacrificing convenience. The need to clean built-in blinds is eliminated in most cases because the blinds are encapsulated between the glass. Many models seal the blinds in between the window permanently and the slates are fade-resistant in addition to being protected from dust and dirt.  In some instances, the windows are designed to be taken apart for occasional cleaning and maintenance.  Built-in blinds also offer improved operation. Many homeowners struggle with keeping their traditional blinds level or having concise control in opening them to the desired height, not to mention slats can bind and tangle. 

Problems with Built-in Blinds

While patio doors with built-in blinds do offer the above advantages, there are several negatives to consider. For one thing, built-in blinds are more expensive than their traditional counterparts.  The selection is also far more limited in terms of colors, styles, and other options.  Not every manufacturer offers built-in blinds and those that do may not include them for every model or product line in their catalog. 

There are also numerous articles, videos, and complaints on the internet about the internal mechanisms breaking or the blinds binding, or simply stop working. In many cases, these issues are easy to resolve, particularly if the door is designed to be disassembled.  Some minor problems like sliders disconnecting from the blinds are as simple as snapping the connector back into the track without any disassembly. More complex issues might require calling a repair service, however. The degree and severity of operational issues will depend largely on the brand and design of the system you own. It is a good idea to do thorough research to discover known problems with any brand you are considering purchasing.

Perhaps the biggest drawback with built-in blinds in patio doors for North Texas residents is energy efficiency. Many windows use filler gases such as Argon and Krypton, which are colorless and help insulate windows to make them more energy-efficient. Patio doors with built-in blinds often lack entirely airtight frames preventing these gases from being installed. This design is intentional; air can move more freely between panes of glass than gas fills can. Air can also expand much quicker than gases can when exposed to heat. When sunlight heats the outer glass of patio doors with built-in blinds, the air trapped between the panes can expand, warping the patio door from the inside. To combat this problem, small ventilation holes are sometimes added to the frame. While non-airtight frames can protect an air-filled patio door against warping, they can also reduce the energy efficiency of these doors. 

Who Would Benefit

There are several different types of people who would benefit from built-in blinds in their patio doors in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. In addition to the benefits mentioned previously, safety is another factor.  If you have young children in your home or are planning to start a family in the next few years, cords for curtains and blinds are a leading cause of injury↗ for children in the US. They are also prone to damage from being tugged on and played with by curious small hands as well as pets, particularly puppies and cats.  Busy homeowners with active lifestyles that don’t have the time for cleaning and maintenance required by traditional Venetian blinds would also strongly benefit from owning patio doors with built-in blinds. 

Options

There are several manufacturers that offer built-in blinds for patio doors and you can find them for the most popular styles such as folding, French and sliding doors. Andersen offers multiple patio doors in several of its lines with built-in blinds in different styles including its 200 Series and A-Series gliding doors and its hinged patio doors in the A-Series and 400 Series. ProVia offers several lines of patio doors with internal blinds including their Endure line of patio doors, and select hinged-style models from their Heritage and Legacy series.  Pella offers options for both built-in blinds and shades for their patio doors in their Lifestyle, 250 Series, and Encompass by Pella line. Milgard has sliding doors with internal blinds in their Tuscany Series and French Rail sliding patio doors. Jeld-Wen only sells sliding patio doors with built-in blinds. The blinds are remote controlled and the doors come in a variety of color choices and styles, but currently, there are no options for the blinds themselves. ThermaTru manufactures external doors that have internal tilt blinds but they do not function like true blinds.

Patio doors with built-in blinds can be a worthwhile investment, particularly for homes with small children, pets, and those with busy lifestyles that may not have time to provide the care that traditional blinds require. If you are considering built-in blinds for your patio doors, it is advisable to do thorough research regarding the reliability of any brands you are interested in purchasing. You should also research the energy efficiency issues, particularly if you live in North Texas and are worried about your electricity bills during long, hot summers. If you do live in DFW and would like to learn more, please contact us by filling out the provided form and we’ll be happy to answer all of your questions. 

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     -Bobby

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