When it comes to replacing your doors as part of your home improvement project, there are not that many options to consider as there are with windows. For your entry door, you only need to consider aesthetics, security, and perhaps lighting.
For your backdoor, your options are even more limited, especially if you have a large opening, with many homeowners having to choose between patio doors and garden doors. Both options offer function and style, but how do you choose the right door that will give you access to your backyard for the next decade-plus?
Patio doors are known to be more energy efficient than garden doors and other backdoor options for large openings. Vinyl sliding patio doors are basically oversized windows that offer the same benefits as other energy efficient windows.
In fact, patio doors can be custom-made like your windows with double- or triple-pane options, depending on your insulation and noise reduction needs. Many patio doors also feature low-emissivity coatings to control solar radiation.
Garden doors, on the other hand, are ordinary doors made from a combination of wood and steel, which have poor insulation compared to vinyl. They also don’t offer the option for increased panes, making it hard to increase their efficiency.
Many homeowners prefer that the opening at the back of the home provides as much natural light as possible, which is a capability offered by patio doors more than garden doors. Patio doors are designed to maximize the area occupied by glass and the glass-to-frame ratio, letting in plenty of natural light while providing an unobstructed view of your backyard. The area occupied by glass in a patio door is usually about 33 per cent larger than that of a garden door.
Garden doors, on the other hand, have limited space for glass, with most of the structure comprising steel and wood. This design may be preferred where privacy is a top concern, but if you want to let in more light and enjoy the outside view, patio doors are your best option.
Access Versus Ventilation
You should consider how often you intend to use your back door, and for what purposes. For instance, if you only need a back door for ventilation during the spring to fall months, a patio door is preferred.
On the other hand, a back door that is primarily used as a primary entry point to the home should be one that does not have to be opened the full width. This allows elements into the home each time, so a garden door would be more appropriate.
Garden doors are appropriate for frequent use because they allow for smaller openings when entering or exiting, where you just need to open one of the doors. When transporting large items or if you want to maximise air entry, the double-door design allows both doors to be fully opened when the need arises.
Sliding patio doors can also be opened slightly to just the right width to squeeze through, which also helps to keep the elements out and heat in. But depending on the size of your door, this may not be easy to accomplish, especially for young children and seniors, who may lack the strength to easily slide the door.
To address this concern, you can choose BiFold patio doors that feature a “traffic door” that acts like a normal door. It can be used independently from the other panels, so you don’t have to open the full door every time you need to pass through.
An important consideration that many buyers often overlook is how their choice of door will interact with their back patio or deck. Patio doors are designed to open by sliding the panes such that they overlap each other, maximizing your space.
Swing doors that open outwards can impede your space and interfere with your furniture arrangement. To avoid this limitation, garden doors can be designed with double doors to provide a wide opening for the convenient transfer of furniture and appliances indoors and outdoors.
So, you should consider whether you have sufficient space, either inside or outside the home, for proper operation of a garden door that opens toward the inside or outside, respectively.
Patio doors offer a range of security features for enhanced security and protection, compared to garden doors that typically come with a standard lock. The sliding design of patio doors makes it possible to integrate additional safety features, such as kick locks or security bars to prevent break-in attempts.
Garden doors are generally great deterrents for burglars, since they can’t see valuables inside the home that are worth stealing. For patio doors, you may need to install window treatments so that burglars can’t look inside your home.
While patio doors are usually preferred by most homeowners because of their versatility, you should keep in mind that your choice of door replacement will impact your day-to-day activities for many years to come. So, weigh the pros and cons of the each option available before making your decision, and then get it professionally installed.