Pick the Perfect Patio Door
Check the hardware, and consider the energy-performance rating for a smart purchase.
Synopsis: In homes with decks and outdoor-living spaces, patio doors can be real workhorses. The need to operate effortlessly, be energy efficient, repel pests and weather, and be attractive. In this article, associate editor Patrick McCombe takes a look at what you need to consider when choosing a patio door. All patio doors should meet certain performance criteria (multipoint lock and specific U-factor and solar heat-gain coefficient standards). Hinged and sliding patio doors then have their own sets of performance criteria, including locks and screens. Other choices to make include swing vs. sliding doors and doors vs. foldaway walls. Patio doors also come in a variety of materials, such as aluminum, fiberglass, steel, vinyl, and wood.
We ask a lot of patio doors. These huge panels of glass that provide wide-open views of the outdoors are expected to operate effortlessly while keeping us safe from drenching rains, high winds, pests, and intruders. We also expect them to keep our indoor-living spaces comfortable during the depths of winter and the dog days of summer. If that weren’t enough, we want our patio doors to be attractive, complementing both the interior and exterior of our homes.
With myriad choices available, consumers buying patio doors face a challenge. The typical 6-ft.-wide patio door comes in dozens of styles and can cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars. But fear not. Here, I’ll give you the tools that you need so that you can choose the best patio door for your situation.
Performance ratings are easy to come by
According to Rob Garofalo, patio-door product manager for Andersen, the best way to know you’re getting a quality sliding patio door is to look for the performance-grade (PG) rating. This rating, developed jointly by the Window & Door Manufacturers Association…