by Tim Liegler, CR
There’s nothing like a sliding patio door to bring the outside in with plenty of natural light and fresh air. If you have a patio door, that is in good condition of course, it’s an asset to your home.
When it’s time to replace your patio door, the options are many. A lot goes into choosing patio doors, from style and material to how the door opens, how the screens are hung, glass options, and more.
Let’s start with style options, of which there are two – Contemporary or French.
A Contemporary sliding patio door means the door has narrow stiles (vertical sash members) and narrow rails (horizontal sash members), and a large glass area. It’s a very clean, sleek look.
A French sliding patio door has a more classic design with taller top and bottom rails and wider stiles. This is not to be confused with a Swinging French door, where one or both panels open from the center.
When choosing a sliding patio door, you can choose from the following materials:
- Aluminum clad wood
There are also options in choosing screens: Most manufacturers have bottom-hung screens where all the weight is on the wheels on the bottom track. If you get dirt or a stone on the track, the wheel may pop off and the screen won’t function. A bottom track screen requires track maintenance to keep it clean and also lubricated. Top hung screens are like a bifold door in a closet. All the weight is up at the top so you don’t have to worry about it popping the track. Currently, Marvin Windows and Doors is the only manufacturer to have a top-hung screen.
Screens also can come in Standard or Hi-Transparency – a screen with a finer mesh that is more tightly weaved, which gives you a clearer, brighter view.
Other options for your sliding patio door include multiple grid styles and patterns, including between the glass grids or simulated divided lite. Hardware colors come in many beautiful finishes.
Another thing that surprises many homeowners when they are replacing a patio door is Wisconsin sizing. We have a unique size of patio door that was commonly installed beginning in the 1970’s called a Wisconsin-style door. From customers who have moved here from other parts of the country, they say they never heard of that before. We run into it quite a bit, since a number of these doors are now in need of replacement.
A Wisconsin sliding patio door comes in either a 6’3” or 6’6” width, compared to a standard size sliding patio door, which is 5’, 6’, 8’, 9’, and 12’ width. Replacement of a Wisconsin sized sliding patio door can be accomplished two ways, a custom size door can be ordered in all materials or a standard size patio door can be installed with wider trim on both the inside and outside of the home.