Sliding patio doors (and glass doors in general) can be a dream in sunny, breezy summer. But come Connecticut winter, they can be a nightmare–leaving homeowners shivering or desperately looking up DIY insulation hacks online. Unless you decide which sliding patio doors are going to function the best for your household, you may end up seriously regretting your decision.
If you’re looking for a home update, or just feel like it’s time to replace your sliding patio doors, we have a guide for CT homeowners based on our years of experience to keep you enjoying them year-round.
How to pick which sliding patio doors are best in CT: 4 Tips
1. Look for double- or triple-pane windows
If your sliding glass patio doors only have one sheet of glass, they simply cannot be insulated. What’s worse, condensation over-time can lead to water or mold damage, which requires remediation. Single pane windows may be significantly cheaper if you look at the sticker price, but long-term they are normally much more expensive for Connecticut homeowners.
2. Look for the ENERGY STAR sticker and rating on all sliding patio doors
According to ENERGY STAR’s website:
ENERGY STAR products are the same or better than standard products, only they use less energy. To earn the ENERGY STAR, they must meet strict energy efficiency criteria set by the US Environmental Protection Agency or the US Department of Energy. Since they use less energy, these products save you money on your electricity bill and help protect the environment by causing fewer harmful emissions from power plants. And you get the features and quality you expect.
3. Go High Tech
Glass companies have patented systems that make inefficient storm windows look like something out of a Puritanical history textbook. One example (although certainly not the only one) is the patented “High-Performance™ Low-E4® SmartSun™” system by Anderson Replacement Windows. [source] Companies put a lot of money into those copyrighting symbols, but they’re not just for show–they’re there because home improvement companies are fighting for your money, which means that they hire scientists to engineer systems that keep your investments working for you.
Many of these brands will have huge explanations on their websites, or even demo videos.
4. Finally, pick which sliding patio doors style that works well in your CT home
There are 4 major types of styles that we see, and each has their own strength:
- Vinyl sliding glass doors are generally what people have come to expect with the classic glass doors. They require little maintenance, are incredibly durable, and generally energy efficient. Some homeowners think they look a bit dated (since they were quite popular home additions in the 80s) but they’re generally non-intrusive and still open up a space.
- Fiberglass patio doors are extremely strong and low maintenance. They have more of a boldness to them, aesthetically, than vinyl sliding doors do, and can be either sliding or swinging (depending on your space and preferences). Generally, they are found in homes which have a more luxurious or historic feel than simple, modern homes.
- Aluminum sliding glass patio doors are the most modern of all of your sliding door style choices. Many homeowners choose to add not only the doors themselves but side windows around the door to expand the space, and the narrow frames increase visibility out of the wall. Installing these normally requires a full remodeling project, but can make just about any home feel ultra-luxurious and modern.
- Glass walls are gaining popularity as “open concept” is now the standard in most homes, especially for homeowners who love their backyard or the landscapes their home looks over. The opportunities are endless here, although generally require a full remodel.
Additional Sliding Patio Door Tips
5. Check your existing door frame for gaps
Any holes, even invisible ones, will mean you can never keep the cold or draft out–often, you can feel the cold much better than you can see the hole. These holes could be found in the door’s frame itself, or be between the glass and the frame (due to the glass being hung incorrectly).
6. When reinstalling sliding patio doors, get a professional
If you’re making an upgrade, especially if it’s to invest in your house and keep costs down, hiring a professional can often save you much more money long-term. They will be able to install the door correctly the first time, making sure there are no invisible gaps, and normally will guarantee their work.
Want to get a quote? Our experts not only install but advise homeowners on which sliding patio doors are best for their home, click here to get a custom quote for your next home project!