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Patio Doors

A door onto a patio is a convenience, but it can also dramatically change the look and feel of a room. With a glass siding door, the room seems to open up to all of nature, bringing light as well as the view. Beyond the expected features of size and appearance, what should you look at closely when buying a new or replacement patio door?

  • The frame may be made of wood, vinyl, or fiberglass clad. Nothing can match the appearance of real wood or the finishing options, but vinyl and fiberglass frames are permanently colored and require little or no maintenance.
  • The construction of the slide is important to how quietly, easily, and smoothly the door moves. Metal glides are standard. The best doors use ball bearing rollers.
  • The insulating value of the glass can make a big difference in the comfort of the room if you live in a climate with hot or cold extremes. The resistance of the glass to heat flow is measured by R value (or its reciprocal, U value), from 1 or 2 to about 4 with low emission glass (U values from 1 to .25). Larger R values provide better energy economy (smaller for U values), but even the best do not compare favorably with the typical modern wall insulation (for example, R-19 in New England states).

Finally, the lock construction makes an important contribution to your security and peace of mind. Look for solid mounting, strike plates, and locking pins as well as a track lock that will prevent moving the door even if the handle lock fails.

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