If you’re looking to install patio doors, there are many factors you’re likely looking into. You might be deciding between sliding, folding and swinging door models. Maybe you’re looking at which doors are most energy efficient, as well. Then there’s the decision about which frame material to use.
In this article we'll cover:
Look around and you’ll find options such as wood, steel, fiberglass, vinyl and aluminum. They all look good, and they’re all available, but which one should you choose for your door?
Here’s a look at these different door materials:
Wood provides that elegant, traditional style for your patio doors. It has a distinctive appearance and finish. Scratches and similar small damage can be repaired easily, which spares homeowners big headaches.
If you can’t decide between these two options, consider clad-wood patio doors. These doors are wooden doors with a layer of metal on their exterior. Clad-wood patio doors are expensive, but they provide the benefits of wood doors with the minimal upkeep needed for metal doors.
However, wood patio doors are very expensive, and other materials can be more energy efficient. Since wood is a natural material, these doors require constant upkeep, which can be a hassle.
Furthermore, moisture in the atmosphere can actually warp wood-based patio doors, and extended exposure to sunlight and heat can cause the wood to fade.
If you’re going to install wood patio doors, you likely had your mind made up on the material long before reading this article.
Steel patio doors are built to stay sturdy in a variety of weather conditions. They might not be as stylish as wood, but they won’t bow or get warped when whether conditions change.
Steel patio doors are less expensive than wood patio doors, and easier to maintain. They also provide good insulation, which helps make them energy efficient.
All that said, steel doors can rust if they get scratched or dented — or if protective layers of paint peel off. Since metal conducts temperature, these doors can get very hot or cold, depending on the weather. This is even the case when there’s a layer of paint separating your hands from the metal.
Much like steel patio doors, aluminum patio doors are designed to be sturdy and require minimal upkeep.
However, aluminum patio doors are even lighter than their steel counterparts. These patio doors are very reasonably priced, and they can be energy-efficient.
It’s not all roses, though. Many of the issues with steel patio doors are magnified with aluminum patio doors. Since these doors are lighter than steel patio doors, they can be dented more easily.
Although aluminum patio doors are designed to resist corrosion, scratches, dents and other breakdowns in protective layers can cause big problems.
It seems like vinyl is used everywhere in home products these days — including for patio doors. Although vinyl is plastic-based, it can be designed to mimic more stylish patio door materials.
However, there are a few minor issues with vinyl patio doors.
First, extreme temperature shifts can potentially cause cracks in the vinyl. Second, vinyl can be more flammable than some other patio door materials. Still, both of these issues are relatively minor compared with the benefits this material provides.
These patio doors are made of glass-based material, but you’d never know it. They can be designed to mimic the look of wood almost perfectly. Yet, they have none of the flaws of wood patio doors.
Fiberglass patio doors are energy-efficient and require virtually no maintenance. They’re sturdy and can handle shifts in weather and atmospheric conditions without warping, rotting or deteriorating.
Vinyl and fiberglass are the best materials for patio doors. You really can’t go wrong with either material. So which one should you choose?
If you’re looking for a less expensive patio door, go with vinyl. These doors can be designed to match your home’s style, they require minimal upkeep, and they have minimal issues associated with them. However, if budget is no issue, fiberglass patio doors are the way to go.
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