Whether replacing an existing patio door or installing one in a new home, there are a range of styles and options to choose from. When seeking out new patio doors, consider the space you are working with while you decide. Some types of patio doors such as sliding doors are suitable for small spaces, while an expansive pair of French-style patio doors can be used on a large patio. Depending on the area where the patio doors are being installed, other considerations should be taken into account such as the ability to make the doors weather tight against rain, wind, and snow.
Patio doors break down into two basic types: hinged and sliding or gliding. Hinged patio doors usually come in a set of two, such as French doors. The doors generally open to the outside, and may incorporate large amounts of glass in their construction for an outside view. Some hinged doors take the form of accordion doors, and fold open. Accordion doors are popular in warmer climates, and are very space efficient. Sliding patio doors usually come in a set of two, with one door sliding past the other, and are commonly made entirely of glass.
A wide variety of construction materials are used for patio doors. The most common is glass, which may be found in a solid panel on some doors, or in a multitude of small panels set within a frame. For cold climates, glass can come insulated, double paned, or specially treated to keep the heat in. Wood is another popular material, because it looks beautiful, insulates very well, and is relatively easy to care for. Patio doors can also be made from vinyl and aluminum, materials which tend to be cheaper although as a result they do not wear as well.
Installing patio doors can be difficult, because it is important to get a tight seal and ensure that the weather stripping in the patio door frame is properly placed. Especially in older homes, it can also be difficult to hang the patio doors so that they are plumb, sealing out the elements and still opening and closing with ease. For this reason, many homeowners choose to use a professional installation service.
If you are installing your own patio doors, make sure to measure the existing patio door frame, and try to get a door which will fit in that space without modifications. You may want to consider sliding patio doors as they are among the easiest to install, and usually come with detailed instructions to assist you.