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Patio and Sliding Doors for Any Budget

By Kelly Isley Rise Writer
Apr 15, 2021

Today's patio doors have wide-open views and the light that homeowners expect. For homeowners looking at high-performance options, the manufacturers that received the top J.D. Power rankings offer patio and sliding doors with style whether you want to save or make an investment. 

If your patio project is under construction or about to begin, it is time to take a closer look at patio doors. They are an essential element that adds natural light, efficiency, and beauty to your living space.

What is a Patio Door?

A patio or sliding door is a door with a large glass window opening in a structure providing door access from a room to the outdoors. A traditional sliding glass door is generally a single unit consisting of two-panel sections to slide open. Another modern design, a wall-sized glass pocket door, has movable panels that slide into wall pockets, disappearing for a 'completely open' indoor-outdoor room experience.

From a historical perspective, a patio or sliding glass door first appeared as an element of pre-war style architecture in Europe and North America. The earliest example is the sliding Shōji panel door originating from Japanese architecture.

Tilt and Turn Patio Doors Synthesis Designs
Tilt and Turn Patio Doors. Photo Credit: Synthesis Designs

What Types of Patio Doors Are Available? 

With the selection of swinging, sliding, bi-fold, and French patio doors currently available, homeowners have the flexibility to create a custom design for a reasonable investment. A plan that complements their style and further defines an outdoor living space. The type of patio door selected depends on the home's design and the owner's lifestyle. For example: is the door opening to an extensive outdoor living space that flows from an interior living space? Is the door for a tiny balcony? Or is it part of a giant wall of windows?

Cascadia Windows Compression Slider
Cascadia Windows Compression Slider. Photo Credit: Cascadia

Are Patio Doors Less Efficient Than Other Doors?  

Previously, patio and sliding doors were heavier; they had a reputation for being less energy-efficient and getting misaligned or stuck in their tracks. Today's patio and sliding doors generally offer slimmer designs, resolving misalignment problems that caused sticking. Due to lighter materials and design improvements, they typically provide a larger viewing area as well.

Pella Patio Door
Photo Credit: Pella

What Makes a Patio Door More Efficient? 

The anatomy of an energy-efficient door includes: 

  • Improved Core Materials: Fiberglass or steel with a polyurethane foam core and wood are among the most energy-efficient door materials in today's market.
  • Multiple Glass Panes: Double or triple-paned insulating glass can reduce heat flow and block harmful UV rays. 
  • Tighter Fit and Improved Weather Stripping: New door frames may include a magnetic strip to create a tighter seal that reduces air leakage around the edges.
Thermo-Tech Sliding Door
Sliding Door. Photo Credit: Thermo-Tech

Do ENERGY STAR Patio Doors Save You Money?

Depending on the project scope, homeowners can save energy and money by updating their homes with ENERGY STAR patio doors. Before starting the search, review this recent list built by ENERGY STAR and its partners, including the most efficient sliding doors. The list includes Associated Materials, Great Lakes Window, Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork, Pella, Ply Gem Windows, Thermo-Tech Windows and Doors, and Winchester Industries. 

Are you ready to save money? Here are two ways to reduce your energy bills: work with local utilities that offer financial incentives and claim Federal tax credits when purchasing ENERGY STAR-certified patio doors. Check out the Rise Rebate Finder for options in your region!

What Are the Benefits of Patio Doors?

Beyond the energy-saving potential, adding patio doors can transform your home and lifestyle. These benefits allow you to enjoy more natural light, make the most of the garden, improve flow within your home, and in many cases, extend your living space.

How Long Do Patio Doors Last?

With consistent cleaning, care, and little maintenance, a sliding patio door can last approximately 30 years. Cleaning sliding doors can extend their life as dirt and grime can clog the track. This dirt makes patio doors hard to open and can reduce the lifespan if the track or seal becomes damaged.

Installing Patio Door

What Is the Average Cost to Install a Patio Door?

Patio doors are unique because they need to offer a broad opening for exterior living space and insulate your interior. In many cases (e.g., custom products, more oversized doors, et al.,) hiring a professional will help you get the project done quickly, safely, and correctly the first time. If you wonder how much installation may cost, Home Advisor's knowledge base identifies a range of $1,200 and $10,000 with an average cost of $2,500. This estimate includes professional installation, which runs between $70 and $120 per hour, with a standard job taking between three and five hours. Lowes offers a clear, 14-point roadmap that might help you along the way for homeowners accomplished at renovation and familiar with installing preassembled patio doors.

What Are The Best Brands of Patio Doors?

The J.D. Power patio doors study spotlights customer satisfaction based on performance in several factors. The study's rankings include Renewal by Andersen in the manufacturer segment capturing a score of 891, closely followed by Infinity from Marvin (879) and Champion (878). Looking at the retail segment, Renewal by Andersen also ranks highest with a score of 890. Window World landed second place with a score of 883.

Renewal by Anderson
Renewal by Anderson. Photo Credit: Andersen

A Closer Look at The Top Companies

Andersen

Renewal by Andersen LLC is the full-service window replacement division of Andersen Corporation. They are also winners of the US EPA's 2019 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – sustained excellence award. Renewal by Andersen also offers a replacement process that includes custom manufacturing, in-home consultation, and installation through their large nationwide networks of window replacement specialists.

Infinity Sliding Patio Door Marvin
Infinity Sliding Patio Door. Photo Credit: Marvin

Marvin

Marvin is a family-run business proud to have provided customers across the United States with quality doors and windows for over 100 years. But they are not content to rest upon their heritage. They created Infinity from Marvin to provide homeowners with a new way to shop for replacement windows, which provides ease, confidence, and a quality experience each step of the way. Infinity from Marvin backs up its products with innovative materials and timeless designs that support the best goal.

Champion Locking Mechanism
Locking Mechanism. Photo Credit: Champion

Champion

Champion was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is proud of its more than 65 years of quality and experience. With locations nationwide, you can trust you'll find a Champion location near you that helps you bring enhanced comfort, beauty, and energy efficiency to your home. Every door is ENERGY STAR certified (in all 50 states), available in a wide variety of colors, styles, with argon-enhanced, tempered, double-pane Comfort 365® glass window options. Security spotlight: their patio door multi-point lock system.

Window World
Photo Credit: Window World

Window World

Window World, headquartered in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, is the United States' biggest replacement window and remodeling company, with more than 200 franchises. The company was founded in 1995, sells and installs windows, siding, doors, and other exterior products. Window World is also an ENERGY STAR partner, and its windows and Therma-Tru doors have all earned the Good Housekeeping Seal.

Accoya
Sliding Door. Photo Credit: Accoya

Options for Historical and Sustainable Spaces 

If you search for a timeless addition to a period home, one solution may be bi-fold patio doors. Generally built from timber in classic styles, these best-sellers consist of a series of open, concertina-style panels and stack at a right angle to the wall.

Finding a trusted professional or group in your area that can inspire and assist you in the historical segment can be a good investment that will take research.

Accoya makes doors from treated softwood that are Cradle-to-Cradle and FSC Certified for homeowners wanting a natural material. Their process maintains the timber's durability and aesthetic, making it an ideal material for patio doors. Another benefit, Accoya does not swell or twist. Even in challenging weather conditions and temperatures, it will maintain its composure. These products are sustainably sourced from fast-growing trees, also making them a low-carbon, renewable choice.

Bifold Doors
Bifold Patio Door

Looking Ahead and Protecting Your Investment 

Once you have installed your new patio or sliding door, how do you protect your investment? Here are simple steps to follow:

Fix Cosmetic Damage

Quick repairs of deep scrapes, worn-out paint, or scratch marks can mitigate more significant issues before they begin.

Address Drafts and Heat transfer

  1. Reduce pest infestation and keep your home comfortable by ensuring your patio door fits snugly in its frame.
  2. Check the weather stripping on your doors each year and replace them as needed. Although weather stripping keeps drafts from coming in, they will wear down over time.
  3. If the door shows signs of warping, repair it or work with a professional to solve issues quickly.

Eliminate Water Intrusion

Similar to windows, the seal around your patio door can wear out over time. If you notice water dripping near your doorway, puddles of water, or a large amount of moisture around the door, reach out to a reputable door contractor to determine your options.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-08-17T19:59:22+0000
Kelly Isley

Article by:

Kelly Isley

Kelly Isley is a writer, author of four books and ASJA member. She has also been renovating homes for 12+ years, is an engineer, pilot, football fan, and lover of ice cream.