Patio Doors: A Handy Guide

Jul 14, 2016

Patio Door

Image via trendslidingdoors.com

It’s summertime in Madison. There’s nothing better than strolling through the Dane County Farmer’s Market in the morning, and later taking in a relaxing evening on your patio, enjoying your locally sourced dinner. Summer is a particularly stunning season here in Madison, and you like spending it outside–who doesn’t? The correct patio door for your home facilitates the outdoor living that you’re looking for; it is the perfect way to extend your indoor living space into the great outdoors. Patio doors enhance your home’s interior and exterior beauty, add value to your home and are energy efficient. Choosing the ideal patio door is one way you can soak up all that Madison sunshine.

Different Types of Patio Doors

Patio doors do a lot for your home. An additional benefit for you, the homeowner, is that they’re simple. There isn’t a ridiculously long list of styles to choose from. They aren’t confusing to operate or maintain. Anything that is straightforward and adds value to your home is a win-win. This video explains the different types of patio doors, and we’ll go through them here, too.

Hinged or French

Hinged or French doors have a few benefits if your home and patio have the space to accommodate them. They can be embellished with decorative options such as window grilles and arched tops. You can choose to have them hinged in the middle (hinged style) or on the side jambs (French style).

Maintenance: Good news–the maintenance is simple, but it will look different depending on what material you’ve chosen (wood, metal, vinyl). If you chose wood, you’ll need to keep an eye out for wood rot, and you’ll need to re-paint or stain at some point in the future. Metal, look for rust. Vinyl…pretty much zero maintenance. The rule of thumb is to perform the same kind of maintenance you do for your windows.

French style Patio Doors

French Style Patio Doors

Image via pella.com

Hinged Style Patio Door

Hinged Style Patio Doors

Image via newsonair.org


Sliding doors are probably the most popular style patio doors because they let in a lot of light, have modern, straight lines that go with all decorative styles, are simple to maintain, and can fit smaller indoor or patio spaces. Typically, one door slides and the other stays fixed, but they can be made so that both doors slide.

Maintenance: Again, not a ton of maintenance! Most sliding doors come in vinyl because it’s cost-effective, although it is possible to get them in wood or metal, too. You’ll want to pay close attention to the seals and weather stripping; you’ll need to call a handyman if you notice these coming loose.

Sliding Patio Doors

Sliding Patio Doors

Image via vinylprowindows.com

How to Choose

Before purchasing a patio door, there are a few things you’ll want to consider so you can be as happy as possible with your patio doors.


The first thing to consider is the space your home and patio have. Do you have enough room to accommodate a hinged door that swings open? Or would a sliding door be a better option as it doesn’t take up space?

Door Material

The second thing you’ll want to consider is what kind of material you’ll want for your patio door. Some materials are more expensive than others, and some require more maintenance than others. You might even like one kind of material aesthetically more than another. You even have the option to do two types of materials. For example, wood inside and vinyl outside. Consider this list of different materials and their benefits to help you decide.

List of patio door materials and benefits

Image via homedepot.com


Hinged doors often come with a dual locking system to keep your home safe. Sliding doors, however, may need additional security, depending on your comfort with your surroundings. Adding a security bar that can be locked is a good option.

At Larson Home Services, we want you to enjoy every free moment you have this summer. And we can help free up your time with our Gutter Shutter maintenance-free gutters! Instead of cleaning your gutters, you can spend your time exactly how you should in the summer–relaxing on your patio.

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