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Do the words ‘Patio Door’ conjure up the six feet wide, two panel door from when you grew up in a sub-division? Maybe five feet wide? Eight feet, nine feet or even twelve feet wide? Maybe even a three panel patio door! You know, the one with the screen door whose mesh was patched with duct tape but basically didn’t slide anyway, so no one actually used it?
Of course, these doors still exist and are still common in most modest, new homes. LOL – In some cases the home is so new that the door opens into space because the owners have not yet had a chance to build the patio deck to which it is intended to lead.
Even these two panel doors don’t have to be as boring as they previously were and there are still some excellent reasons to have one in your home. The alternatives all take up extra space for their operation. Patio Doors slide over themselves and objects nearby do not interfere with their operation as would be the case with any kind of hinged doors, such as a two-panel garden door.
Patio doors often acted as a cold plate and were unpleasant to be near on a cold winter day. Condensation and even frost were common on the glass. Now these doors can have a Low E coating and argon gas fill. Many of them are designed to handle triple glazing, making them quite warm even in the coldest weather conditions.
The days of the white patio door may not be over, but you can easily paint the exterior of the door in a rainbow of standard and custom colors. Wait! At GEM we can even give you a patio door with a painted interior to match your custom decor. (Here is a quick quiz, what is the colour that is fastest growing in popularity with today’s homeowners? The answer will be at the end of this article.)
While most patio doors are used in the back of a home, today’s houses are often close enough together that there may be very little privacy between your patio door and a second-floor bedroom window on the house on the next street that backs onto your property. Interior blinds are an option to consider where privacy is desired. These blinds can be built inside your sealed units. They can operate up and down and they can even tilt. You have complete control of visibility and there is an added benefit over regular blinds or curtains. Because they’re built in to the sealed unit, they can’t become dust collectors!
Another option would be grill work to complement the grillwork in your windows. A hanging grill that is only at the top of each glass pane can be an artistic touch used by a designer, working with a backyard patio and wanting to integrate the patio door into a trellis concept for the backyard.
We started this article talking somewhat negatively about that old sliding screen door that is the norm in most patio doors. But, this is not the only option available to today’s homeowners. There are a variety of hidden screens that are aftermarket products that can be provided by GEM Windows. These can range from the same fiberglass screen mesh used in the basic sliding screen door, but on a spring-loaded roll to the side of the door. An advantage for these is that they don’t block half of the glass, as does a normal sliding screen door. One outstanding option in a screen door offered by GEM is the Spartan Screen. This is a different form of retractable screen because the material is not wound on a tube. Instead it is retractable. Much like one would describe the bellows of an accordion.
Patio Doors are often considered a weak point of home defense and an easy point of intruder entry. A low end, box store patio door would likely have a single point lock which is basically a single hook. If a sudden pressure is applied to the door by a knowledgeable person,it is sometimes possible to bounce the door panel enough to disengage the single point lock. An upgrade is a two-point lock where there are two facing hooks. This arrangement prevents bouncing the panel and disengaging the lock.
Anyone who has owned a patio door probably had a piece of broom handle to drop in the track to prevent the operating sash from sliding. Sometimes, these were cut to allow the door to open a few inches. There are foot lock options that can offer a variety of settings and locations to both help a door’s security when closed and are equally useful for keeping the door slightly ajar, but still not free to operate.
What about the handle on the patio door? These days there are different hardware options to match your home’s ambience, including chrome, gloss bronze, pewter and more. Different door companies have different available options. It could come down to which is more important to you, the specific door or the available hardware options!
Remember our quick quiz? The answer is… drum roll… black! Henry Ford (“Give them any color they want as long as it’s black!” would be pleased!)