Patio with wooden floors

The Usual Downsides of Sliding Patio Doors

Sliding doors have become a popular choice for patios for several reasons. They are easy to operate, allow plentiful daylighting, and save floor space. Compared to hinged French doors, sliding door systems are usually more affordable.

However, any honest expert in door replacement in Utah will say that sliding units are not as perfect as often portrayed. Yes, they do have the edge over traditional swinging doors in certain areas, but they can have their own shortcomings, too.

Below are the five potential downsides of having a sliding patio door system.

1. Excessive Solar Heat Gain

Sliding door panels are known for their generous use of glass, which is both an asset and a liability. Lots of glazing translates to more extensive panoramas and bountiful natural illumination. The abundant sunlight, though, can warm up the adjacent room significantly. When facing the south, expect them to be in the sun most of the time and receive a tremendous amount of heat.

To combat solar heat gain and constant exposure to intense ultraviolet radiation is choosing an ENERGY STAR–certified product. In Salt Lake County, the ideal ENERGY STAR–approved door with ¾ or full glass must have a combination of a 0.30 U-factor (insulation) or less and a 0.40 Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (heat admittance) or less. Check the map printed on the label to see whether a unit is appropriate in your location.

2. Severe Loss of Privacy

A basic two-panel sliding door configuration involves full sheets of glass, which might inadvertently show off the goods. If you are uncomfortable about being watched by prying neighbor eyes, this can be a concern.

To raise your level of privacy, you can either cover the glass with drapes or blinds or use translucent glass.

3. Questionable Impregnability

Sliding patio doors have a bad reputation for being easy to jimmy. This notion stems from the fact the ordinary units are equipped only with simple latches.

Fortunately, contemporary products come with multiple sophisticated locks. Made from high-quality material, the locking mechanisms of today’s sliding doors can give even the most determined intruders a tough time.

4. Limited Access

Sliding door with screensSliding doors can appear wider than swinging ones, but they have less net opening. In other words, only one panel can open completely, leaving the other half unavailable for access. This limitation might cause a problem when there is high traffic or when there is a need to move furniture from inside to the outside and vice versa.

If your entry is wide enough, opt for a four-panel configuration. In this design, the operating units are not staggered and can provide a large opening for convenient access.

5. Unexpected Tripping Hazard

A sliding door system always comes with a track where the operating panels glide. This pronounced threshold can cause an unwitting person to trip. If you live with someone with mobility challenges, a sliding patio door might not be the safest bet.

Not one type of patio door is right for everyone, so understand what works with your home and lifestyle before you buy. Once you know what you need and what you like, explore all of the products and customization options to find the one closest to perfection.