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How to choose new patio doors

Sliding patio doors or French doors? Vinyl, aluminum or wood? There are many available options when it comes to replacing or adding new patio doors. While the decision will inevitably come down to personal preference, there are certain factors to consider before making your choice.

The Look of your Home

As important as functionality may be, the truth is that aesthetics carry just as much weight. So if you’re planning a charming cottage-style kitchen, a colourful Dutch door may be the best bet. Or if your great room has a breezy coastal feel, then perhaps the openness of folding patio doors would be ideal.

You will also need to consider the size of your space. If the room containing your home’s backdoor is small, then swing-in French doors might not suit. By contrast, if the room leading to your outdoor living space is vast, then choosing one of the new taller and wider folding patio doors could provide incomparable impact.

Frequency of Use

In some households, back doors are used only during the summertime, and in others, they act as a main entrance into the home. Different frequencies of use will require different levels of durability. Be sure to keep this in mind as you shop around.

Energy Efficiency

Home energy saving is a priority, whether you live in Moncton, Mississauga or Medicine Hat. So, it’s important to consider energy efficiency when selecting your new patio door. Definitely pay attention to things like R-value, U-factor, Low-E glass and UV coatings.

Door Styles

There are presently four basic types of patio doors: single doors, sliding patio doors, swinging garden doors and folding patio doors.

Single Doors

Pretty much as the name implies, this is standard exterior door that leads to the backyard. However, within this category you can have several options, such as solid doors, glass-paneled doors and even Dutch doors –where the door is horizontally divided in half and the sections can open and close independently of one another.

Sliding Patio Doors

This is the most popular patio door option and can be seen in many homes across the country. The glass panels slide parallel to the wall, making them an easy, space-saving option.

French Doors

patio doors


French doors, (sometimes called garden doors) swing inward, like a traditional exterior door, and feature large glass panels, which let light into the home.

Folding Patio Doors

patio doors

Source: Build Team

Bi-fold patio doors allow homeowners to really bring the outdoors in. This folding style is comprised of multiple (typically 2 – 8) framed glass panels. When opened, these panels fold in, accordion style and can be tucked away, providing full access to the outdoors.


In terms of materials, there are typically six options available: fiberglass, wood, vinyl, aluminum, steel and metal-clad wood. Each option has its pros and cons in terms of cost, appearance and durability. However, one size most certainly does not fit all. When selecting materials, consider all of the previously mentioned factors, as well as your budget and how much work you’re willing to do before deciding.

Of course nothing compares to consulting your local door expert about choosing the option best-suited to your needs. Visit’s doors and windows category to find the patio door specialist nearest you!

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