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If you’re shopping for patio doors, you’ve probably seen a few with built-in blinds. Regardless of whether or not you were awe-stricken from this discovery, you probably wondered if patio doors with this feature would make sense in your home. In fact, that sense of wonderment might have led you to this very blog article.
Well, have no fear! We’re here to answer your questions and assuage your fears. Let’s take a closer look.
How Do Patio Doors With Built-In Blinds Work?
Patio doors with built-in blinds have two panes of glass. The Venetian-style blinds sit in the space between the panes. They sit horizontally when opened and vertically when closed. Patio doors with built-in blinds feature less intrusive window treatments than doors like this one (Image courtesy: Elise Hines/Flickr).
Benefits of Built-In Blinds
Patio doors with built-in blinds are more streamlined than other models are. Since the blinds are contained between panes of glass, you won’t have to worry about window treatments flying around in the breeze, getting attacked by your dog or being bent out of shape by your kids.
Better yet, built-in blinds allow you to have privacy without sacrificing convenience. Free hanging window treatments can get easily damaged if they swing into the areas of doorjambs and the doors close on them. In fact, many sliding doors have limited window treatment options for this very reason.
Built-in blinds eliminate this issue since the blinds are restricted to the window sash. Since the blinds are encapsulated in glass, you won’t have to worry about cleaning them. And of course, the space between the panes (where the blinds live) provides extra insulation as well. Patio doors with built-in blinds aren't very energy efficient.
Are There Problems with Built-In Blinds?
An old saying goes, “If it were perfect, everyone would have it.” This sentiment applies to patio doors with built-in blinds. While the design is beneficial, there are some drawbacks to watch out for.
For one thing, these doors aren’t very energy efficient. Most double paned windows and doors have gas fills between the panes. However, windows with built-in blinds have air between the panes instead.
Why? Well, gases are denser than air, so they move slower. So if patio doors with built-in blinds had gas fills, it would be difficult to open and close the blinds.
Unfortunately, air doesn’t insulate nearly as well as Argon or Krypton gases do. So the insulation benefits of many double paned windows and doors don’t exactly apply to patio doors with built in-blinds.
Patio doors with built-in blinds often lack entirely airtight frames. 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 ventilating holes are often drilled in the frames.
While non-airtight frames can protect an air-filled patio door against warping, they can also reduce the energy efficiency of these doors. After all, energy now has a clear (albeit small) path to transfer between the outside of your home and the inside. So don’t expect to save a whole bunch on your energy bills when you have patio doors with built-in blinds.
The blinds in these patio doors are normally protected from dust and damage by panes of glass. But if a seal breaks or the glass gets cracked, watch out! Dust and condensation can wreak havoc on your blinds, and it can be extremely difficult to clean them off (since they’re, you know, encapsulated in glass). Often times, the entire window portion must be replaced to fix these issues, and that can get expensive. Although the doors in the image don't have built-in blinds, they're energy efficient.
Looking to install patio doors with or without built-in blinds?
If you’re looking to add patio doors to your home, turn to Brennan. We’ve been installing patio doors in homes across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex since 1979. Let us work with you! Request a free consultation today!
Patio doors with built-in blinds can be a worthwhile investment, but they can also bring major headaches. It makes sense to add these doors to your home only in areas where freestanding blinds or window treatments are functionally intrusive — where those features legitimately hamper your ability to open and close the doors.
Of course, given the cost of patio doors with built-in blinds, we’re guessing you won’t want to install these doors in every corner of your home anyway.