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Adding or Replacing your glass patio doors.

Whether you are adding or replacing your glass patio doors with French doors, sliders, folding or pivot doors, Chris Nelson, Peak Construction & Design, Inc. can help you with the selection and installation of your new doors.  Call him today 760 668 3991.

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Find the Right Glass Door for Your Patio

It’s more than just a patio door — it’s an architectural design element. Here’s help finding the right one for your home and lifestyle

The large glass patio door hasn’t been around for very long. It took modern manufacturing techniques to make it affordable. But what was once the province of the wealthy and aristocratic is now available in a wide variety of styles for every home.

From sliding to hinged, folding to telescoping, it’s likely that there’s a patio door that will fit your home’s aesthetic as well as your budget. So let’s look at some of the patio doors available and what you should know about each.

traditional entry by Siemasko + Verbridge

French Doors

The classic, in-swingFrench door is often anelegant and statelyarchitectural element that connects the inside to the outside.

Because it is a hinged, swinging door, it will take up floor space — it doesn’t just sit within the plane of the wall. Incorporating doors like these will have an impact on furniture placement and how the room functions.

Also, these doors havelimited width. Each door panel can’t be overly large as the hardware would get quite large or the operation of the door would suffer. These doors are typically no wider than about 6 feet.

modern entry by Schwartz and Architecture

The out-swing French door is a variant on the hinged patio door. While these doors won’t have an affect on the interior furniture placement, they do have a downside.

First, the screening would be on the inside. That means these doors are more suited to locations where screening isn’t necessary, such as areas where bugs aren’t a problem, or where the door leads to a screened porch.

Second, these doors should have hardware that prevents them from slamming shut in wind gusts. In fact, a strong enough gust of wind can do some serious damage to the door and door frame if the door hasn’t been designed and installed to accommodate that.

Another item to think about when considering a hinged door, whether in-swing or out-swing, is the threshold. This part of the door frame provides a weather-tight seal along the floor and can project up an inch or more above the floor, preventing a smooth transition from inside to outside. If this “bump” bothers you, talk to your architect about how it can be eliminated.

Cost: The cost of these doors varies widely. It’s ultimately a function of materials, glass type, finishing, hardware, muntin type, etc. While you should expect to pay a minimum of about $1,000, a high-quality aluminum-clad French door with multi-point locking system and simulated divided lights can easily cost several thousand dollars.

modern exterior by Fivedot Design Build

Sliding Glass Doors

The sliding glass door has got to be the most ubiquitous patio door. Made up of two framed glass panels that slide past each other, this door can be seen on contemporary, traditional and every style in between. Having said that, it really fits a contemporary aesthetic as the sliding operation and staggered planes are typically not quite right for traditional styles.

An advantage of these doors is that the opening can be quite wide. While the standard door will be 5 or 6 feet wide, doors that are 8 or 10 feet wide are available.

An important design consideration when selecting a sliding glass door is the frame size. The actual frame dimensions will vary considerably depending on the frame material. While metal frames, like aluminum, can be quite thin, vinyl frames will likely be thick.

Cost. A sliding glass door will typically cost considerably less than a comparable French door. It has to do with operation and mechanisms. Simply put, the sliding glass door is easier to engineer and build and has fewer moving parts. So a sliding glass door can be had for as little as $500.

modern living room by John Maniscalco Architecture

Variations on the Slider

A variant of the sliding glass door is what some manufacturers term theFrench slider. In many ways this door incorporates the advantages of a sliding glass door with the look of a French door.

Unlike the two-panel configuration of the typical sliding glass door, the French slider has four panels. The two outer panels are fixed in place; the two inner panels operate. When closed, the two operable panels butt into each other, resting in the same plane, creatingthe look of a hinged door.

Another advantage to these doors is the opening can be even wider than a regular sliding glass door. At widths of 10, 12 and 16 feet, these doors can create a wall of glass while also allowing for a lot of natural ventilation.

Whether it’s the standard sliding glass door or the French slider, an important design consideration is the track system. As in the hinged doors, these tracks can project up an inch or more and are typically 5 to 6 inches wide. The large track is something you’ll want to deal with by setting it down lower or specifying a lower profile system as some manufacturers can provide.

modern exterior by Stone Interiors

Another type of sliding glass door is thetelescoping patio door. This door consists of several — three or more — panels that slide past each other. The great advantage of a telescoping door is the ability to get a really wide opening that can eliminate the barrier between indoors and out.

As with the sliding glass doors, telescoping doors are sympathetic with a contemporary aesthetic but not so much with a traditional design. It’s just a function of the large, unobstructed glass panels and staggered configuration that yields amodern look.

Two especially nice features of this style: You can have the door open just a little and have it open at either side, as there isn’t a fixed panel like the one in the standard two-panel sliding glass door.

Keep in mind the track can be really wide. A four-panel door will have four separate parallel tracks that can encroach into the home a bit — especially when a screen system is added. With the glass panels and the screen panels, a four-panel door can have a track system 18 inches wide. If this is a concern, look at using a variation of this door that you’ll see next.

modern living room by Griffin Enright Architects

lift/slide door can have a single track that each panel uses until the panels reach the sides, where multiple tracks will start. For the most part, the track is inconspicuous, while the panels neatly fold up and disappear into an adjacent wall. It’s a truly wondrous way to have the largest opening possible.

Cost. Expect to pay a few thousands to several thousand dollars depending on size, materials, configuration, etc. While this type of door is more costly than a standard two-panel sliding glass door, the ability to get a really large wall of glass may be worth it. Plan on budgeting into five figures.

modern patio by Klondike Contracting

Folding Glass Doors

The folding glass door is another nice way of creating a large opening that allows the distinction between inside and outside to disappear. The advantage that the folding glass door has over, say, the telescoping door is that it allows for a big opening from corner to corner when there isn’t an opportunity to create pockets in the wall for the panels to slide into.

Folding glass doors can be set up so that one of the panels is hinged, acting like a standard door. This way, when you want to go in or out, you don’t have to open the entire door.

Cost: Folding glass doors can be pricey, especially the better ones that are easily operated. You should budget about $1,000 to $1,500 per lineal foot. So a 20-foot-wide opening would cost about $20,000 to $30,000.

contemporary entry by Charles Debbas Architecture

Pivot Doors

The pivot door works like a hinged door in that it swings in, out — or both. But unlike a hinged door, a pivot door is supported on pivots and pivot boxes. This allows the weight of the door to rest in from the edge, putting the stress closer to the center. This means that a really large opening with a single panel can be achieved.

Because of the door’s operation and configuration, it isn’t really suitable for an environment where any screening is needed (unless, of course, it leads to a screened porch).

Cost: Like the other large glass patio doors such as the lift/slide and the folding door, the pivot door is going to be more costly than a standard French or sliding glass door. But consider that these doors can add much to the intrinsic value of your home.

Peak Construction & Design is a residential/light commercial, general building contractor licensed/insured in California. We specialize in remodeling of custom/single family homes, condominiums, light commercial offices, as well askitchen and bathroom remodeling, along with new built homes, barns and out buildings . We also do general home maintenance.  We service Southern California and the communities  including Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Cathedral City, Indian Wells, Palm Springs, La Quinta, CaliforniaPlease call Chris Nelson today at 760.668.3991!

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