Swinging vs Sliding – Window professionals call the way doors open and close their “operation.” Patio doors have two main types of operation, swinging (on hinges) or sliding (on a track). When choosing between these types of doors, consider the amount of space that’s required to swing a door open. Sliding doors are a great space saving option, and both swinging and sliding doors can be configured with non-operating (fixed) panels to direct traffic. Two more unique operating styles of patio doors include bi-fold doors and Marvin’s Lift and Slide doors, both of which can add a dramatic effect by creating larger, clear openings where they are installed.
Security – As an entry point to your home, patio doors must be secure. The most important feature to look for is multipoint locking, where the lock engages to the frame in more than one spot, to provide maximum security. Foot bolts are another option that making secure locking convenient. Remember to ask if your doors can be unlocked from the outside with a key – some models can only be locked with a lever from the indoors.
Energy Efficiency – The large expanse of glass in patio doors can make them an energy drain. But quality patio doors have low E glass, which has special layers that block solar heat during warm weather and help retain indoor warmth during winter. Look for doors that close and seal tightly, with rugged weather stripping.
Screen – A good screen makes your doors a pleasure to enjoy. Look for top hung screens. They stay easy-gliding for years to come, not depending on the track below, which can hang up or get stuck. To make your views more beautiful, consider hi-transparency screens. They are beautiful to look through, and made of a tougher material, too.
Track and Sill – Since sliding doors depend on their track to operate, find out how ruggedly they are made. Fiberglass is strong as steel, looks attractive, and endures moisture and abuse with flying colors.