Sliding Glass Door Options

You can pick from a wide variety of sliding glass door options.

Security: Most new sliding glass doors have standard security features like reinforced latches and anti-lift stops. For the greatest level of sliding door security, several designs have optional two and three-point deadbolts. When locked, it is impossible to get these doors open from outdoors.

Frames: The newest sliding glass door material being used is maintenance-free pultruded fiberglass. Fiberglass is a natural insulator and it will not split, warp or oxidize. With glass fibers embedded in durable resins, fiberglass grows and shrinks very little with weather changes.

Aluminum alloy and reinforced vinyl frames (select fusion-welded corners) are efficient and low maintenance. Several manufacturers add insulation inside the cavities of vinyl, aluminum and fiberglass sliding doors to improve comfort and lower utility bills. This insulation is foamed in place to eliminate energy-wasting voids.

Natural wood sliding glass doors are most attractive and can offer a wider range of profiles and finishes, but they require more maintenance. Wood is also susceptible to damage and swelling from moisture. Exterior aluminum and vinyl cladding eliminates much of the maintenance.

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Thermal Break: Most modern glass doors with metal frames have a “thermal break,” which is a plastic insulator between inner and outer parts of the frame.

Glass doors are also optionally manufactured with several layers of glazing, low-e coatings, and low conductivity gases between the glass panes. Some sliding doors are equipped with safety glass. These options are a good investment, especially in extreme climates. Over the long run, the additional cost is paid back many times over in energy savings.

Sliding storm doors: High quality storm doors use low-e glass. Frames are usually made of aluminum, steel, or fiberglass. Metal-framed storm doors and windows might have foam insulation in their frames. Some storm doors have self-storing pockets for the glass in summer, and an insect screen for the winter.

Sliding screen doors: Most professionally installed sliding glass patio doors include a sliding screen door.

Sources: Police department, Dummies.com - Taking Care of Sliding Glass Doors, Handyman USA - Sliding glass doors, Q&A, Do it yourself.com

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