With gorgeous views of nature at sunrise or a bustling city skyline at night, it’s no wonder many homeowners want sliding glass doors so they can enjoy their surroundings. These doors are functional, bring the outside in, and for entertainers, it is practically a must-have for patio spaces.
There are a number of options for materials and glass types, as well as accessories, that can be added to sliding glass doors to accommodate your lifestyle. Certain designs and features will be better for those living in particular climates, and likewise for homeowners who are searching for energy-efficient additions to their home.
Understanding your sliding glass door options will help determine which door is best suited for you and knowing what questions to ask potential contractors when the time comes to start your project.
Where Sliding Glass Doors Work Best in the Home
Sliding glass doors are popular options as an entry to the patio – so much so that some people exclusively call them patio doors. With patios typically located on the side or the back of the home, this area affords homeowners more privacy for such a large area of glass, while also allowing them to enjoy the views of their neighborhood. This is especially true for those who live in densely populated areas or who have a neighbor in close proximity.
Some homeowners may also want to install sliding glass doors inside to show off a certain room while maintaining an open floorplan. For instance, you may decide to divide your library or office from your living room with a trendy sliding glass door.
Sliding glass doors are often used as shower doors – however, keep in mind that shower door installations differ from exterior door installations.
Pros and Cons of Sliding Glass Doors
Even if you already have your heart set on sliding glass doors for your home, it is worthwhile to review the pros and cons. This can help you ensure you are making the most practical choice for a particular area of your home, as well as highlight some enjoyable benefits.
Space saving: Since sliding glass doors use sliders, they don’t take up extra space when opening and closing. This gives them a practical advantage over french doors.
More cleaning: Like any other glass in your home, these doors get visibly dirty quickly and can easily show fingerprints, streaks and dirt. Know that you may need to clean your sliding glass doors more frequently.
Natural light: These doors allow abundant natural light into the home. This can make a space feel larger, as well!
Price point: Sliding glass doors are often more expensive compared to more standard types of doors, such as paneled doors or even double doors.
Energy-efficiency and eco-friendly: With all the light pouring in during the day, you may find no need to turn on the lights. Glass is also more eco-friendly than all wood doors.
Security concerns: Because they have such large panels of glass, these doors can be a security liability. Always consider heavy duty locks and latches.
Larger door opening: Having a larger entryway in your home is convenient when you need to move large items in and out of your home, such as furniture.
Risks in extreme weather: Because of the large volume of glass, sliding glass doors can potentially shatter during harsh storms or extreme temperatures (cold or hot).
Sliding Glass Door Types and Materials
When it comes to choosing the right sliding glass door for your home, take types and materials into consideration in order to find the exact door that meets your needs and goals.
There are plenty of style choices for sliding glass doors. Homeowners can opt for single, double, or or multi-panel doors that slide on a track. Doors can be installed to be fixed at the wall or ceiling, as well as adding fanlights and sidelights for design appeal. You can also install blinds or shades with your sliding glass door to control the amount of natural light pouring into a room.
When thinking about types of sliding glass doors to choose from, it’s important to explore your different glass options.
Tempered glass: This is the most common glass used in sliding glass doors, especially for patios. Tempered glass uses a toughened material that is broken up into smaller chunks of glass rather than large, sharp shards that can cause injuries.
Impact glass: For homeowners who live in areas prone to heavy storms, like hurricanes, impact glass is often a high priority. Impact glass combines a heavy-duty door frame with laminated glass, working together to resist breaking even when there’s a direct from debris. Impact-resistant windows function in a similar way.
Low-e glass: This type of glass has an ultra-thin coating on it that reflects a large amount of infrared and ultraviolet light. Not only does this keep heat and harmful rays out of the house, it makes a big difference in energy efficiency. There are different types of low-e glass with benefits based on your climate.
Insulated glass: Single-pane glass tends to be less energy efficient, as it cannot block out as much heat or cold on its own. Some homeowners opt to have a plastic coating added to their doors for insulation to help with energy costs.
Tinted glass: When the location of your sliding glass doors does not afford you the level of privacy that you’re looking for, homeowners often turn to tinted glass. With this option, you will be able to see out, but those outside will not be able to see into your home. Other benefits are blocking ultraviolet rays, glare reduction, heat blocking, and an added level of security.
Textured glass: This is another option for added privacy. Textured glass essentially uses a texture or pattern on glass. However, this type of glass is more commonly found in shower doors rather than patio doors.
In addition to choosing a type of glass, you will also be able to choose the door’s frame and its material. There are specific design and functionality elements to consider for each.
Wood: This is a classic and popular choice for sliding glass doors, as homeowners have an array of options for color and style. However, as it is wood, there is a level of maintenance involved to keep it in good shape.
Aluminum: For those looking for a more contemporary look, aluminum is a strong and sleek choice that is also energy efficient and durable.
Fiberglass: For homeowners who live in areas with climates that change dramatically—say, scorching summers and frigid winters—fiberglass can withstand the temperature changes without compromising strength.
Vinyl: The most cost-effective choice of the bunch, vinyl also works well to keep out noise and the weather, lending to lower energy costs.
Sizes and Dimensions
The most common sliding glass door height is 82 or 96 inches, ranging between 6-foot-10-inches and 8 feet tall. There is more variation on the width of the doors based on the type of door you opt to install:
2-panel sliding glass door widths: 60 inches, 72 inches and 96 inches
3-panel sliding glass door widths: 108 inches and 144 inches
4-panel sliding glass door widths: 117 inches to 189 inches
There are also companies who specialize in installing sliding glass doors that can accommodate the needs of people with disabilities, such as wider doors and lower hardware. Already, sliding glass doors are home accessibility friendly since they provide a larger area for entering and leaving the home.
If these common specs do not meet your needs, there is always the option to have custom sliding glass doors installed. While custom sliding glass doors will ensure the exact look and functionality you want, they will be more costly. If this is the route you want to go, be sure to find a contractor who is skilled in creating custom pieces.
Accessories for Sliding Glass Doors
There are a number of appealing add-ons for sliding glass doors that homeowners can purchase to accommodate their needs and lifestyle. Here are a few add-ons to consider.
Handles: Match your new door’s hardware and shape with the rest of your home by choosing a new handle. Many door handles are universal and easy to replace.
Coverings: If tinted windows are not your ideal design aesthetic, opt for curtains, blinds or shades to keep out weather and passersby in a stylish way.
Soft-close systems: Avoid the sounds of doors slamming open and shut with a track system that creates more gentle movements.
Screens: Keep out critters, leaves, and bugs with sliding screen doors, especially for days when there’s heavy traffic in and out of the house.
Dog doors: Of course, there are some animals you do want to allow in and out of the house! A panel can be added to a sliding door that allows dogs (or cats) to enter and exit through a flap. You can also replace the entire door with one that has an already-made dog door included.
Locks: The traditional latch is not the only option you have for sliding glass doors. Keep reading for other choices to make sure your sliding glass door is highly secure.
Sliding Glass Door Security
Perhaps the number one concern for homeowners when it comes to installing sliding glass doors is security. How do we keep our family safe from intruders with such a large panel of glass in our exterior doors?
As mentioned, there are types of glass that are made to be impact-resistant for weather, but this can also include intruders. Something as simple as adding a security bar can prevent intruders from knocking the door off its tracks.
Homeowners can also install a more secure lock than the traditional latch that many doors come with. This includes double-bolted locks and keypads. Finally, utilizing tinted glass or simply closing the blinds when the doors aren’t being used can prevent potential criminals from taking a peek at the goods inside your home.
How Much Do Sliding Glass Door Installations Cost?
Sliding Glass Doors
Sliding glass doors are popular, convenient, and aesthetically pleasing door options for patios and showers.
Provides natural light and energy-efficiency
Various design options
Average Cost to Install:
$2,000 - $5,000
On average, homeowners should expect a price range of $2,000 to $5,000 to have a sliding glass door replaced or installed, including material and labor. The cost of the project is going to vary based on a number of factors:
Where you live
The type of door you want installed
The scope of the project (timeline and labor)
Labor should cost around $250 – $1,000 depending on the scope and complexity of the project, as well as your location. Materials vary in cost depending on type and quality – for instance, a high quality wood frame will cost more than a vinyl frame. You can expect materials to range anywhere from $300 to $4,000.
Keep in mind that sliding glass door installations take a bit longer than standard door installations. The contractor will need to make sure part of the door is fixed in place and the other will smoothly glide open and shut. The sliding glass door installation should take less than a day, unless there are additional labor requirements.
Sliding glass door add-on features will increase the price, including installing a doggy door, vertical blinds, and more costly wooden doors. Also, if you opt for shatterproof glass (those in hurricane-prone areas may know this as impact or hurricane-proof glass) this will also affect the price of materials.
Finding Sliding Glass Door Installers
As you scope your sliding glass door replacement project, there may be the temptation to try and take on the task on your own. However, even the most handy DIY homeowners will probably find that installing a sliding glass door is better left to the professionals. With the help of Modernize’s directory of reputable and skilled door installers in your area, your project will get done right the first time.
As you search for your contractor, be sure to check out our handy checklist to help you in your quest to find the best professional for the job.
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Homeowners who are exploring sliding glass door installations tend to find the following resources to be helpful: