How to choose Patio & Sliding Doors – Buying Guide
What are the differences between Patio doors, French doors and sliding doors?
Patio doors can be single-paned and multiple-paned, in-swinging, out-swinging, and much more.
The main distinction between sliding and patio doors is that sliders glide and patio doors swing.
A sliding door usually has one stationary panel and a corresponding panel that slides sideways in top and bottom tracks.
As a rule, patio door has a pair of doors with at least one hinged panel and one fixed or hinged panel. Doors swing in or out, depending upon what variant you prefer.
Sometimes patio door are called French doors. A French door is typically a pair of glazed patio doors that hinge at opposite sides and meet in the middle; when both parts are opened, there is a large entryway between them.
Sliders and patio doors are made as a complete system and are sold with the jambs, threshold, and all necessary weatherstripping. The doors interlock for energy efficiency and the hardware is constructed as part of the system.
Not all French doors are used as front doors—connecting French doors are made particularly to adjoin one interior room to another, to offer division when closed or a lot of access between rooms when open. Any typical interior wood can be set up in a double-wide jamb to create an interior French door.
Single or Multiple Glass Panes
Typical French doors have multiple glass panes (called “lites”) separated by wooden muntins. A typically divided lite is when each pane of glass in the construction of a door is built in separately. For example, if you order a 10-lite door, it will be built with 10 separate lites which are set up detached.
You can still buy this type of door for a premium, but doors with faux divided lites are more preferred. These have snap-in wood grilles or grills placed between the panels of dual glazing. They are substitutions but are less expensive to construct and are easier to clean than typically divided lites.
Some grille types have an evenly-spaced gridwork of lites in pairs: 6, 8, 10 or 12 lites. Others have horizontally-shaped panes, yielding 4, 5, or 6 horizontal lites. And others divide the glass into interesting patterns or designs of certain architectural styles, such as Craftsman.
Sizes of Patio & Sliding Door
A minimum door width that most companies have is 16 inches and a minimum door height is 60 inches. Any changes have to be order of greater expense.
The thickness of a door usually is either 1 3/8 or 1 3/4 inches. Aditionally to the standard 6-foot-8-inch height, doors are made 6 feet, 11 inches tall and 8 feet tall. You can also buy three- or four-door-wide configurations that get about 16 feet wide. Newer high-end sliding doors can actually curve around a 90-degree angle.
Some door constructions have windows at the sides (“side lites”) or windows over their tops. Most manufacturers make corresponding rectangular and circle-head transom windows.