Replacing a sliding glass door is different from upgrading any other door in your home. There’s more to consider, which can make it a bigger investment of both your time and money.
That doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. Follow these simple steps in the sliding patio door replacement process and you’ll soon have a new patio door that completes your space.
Picking Out Your Patio Door Style
Just because you’ve had a sliding glass door for years doesn’t mean you have to stick with the same old style. There are other types of patio doors that work in different ways.
Hinged patio doors, or French doors, open and close on a hinge just like a standard door. You can choose whether you want one or both doors to open, and which way they swing. Folding patio doors open and close along a track, similar to sliding patio doors. They fold and stack at the edge of the doorway, creating a wide, unobstructed opening.
Your choice between sliding, hinged or folding doors depends on your space on the wall, in front of the door and out on the patio. Each type of door is installed differently into the opening. So you may have to account for the transition, room for the patio door to operate and space for the panels to stay when the door is fully opened.
Selecting the Number of Glass Panels
The standard sliding patio door has two glass panels: one that is stationary and the other that glides overtop the stationary panel to create an opening. But you’re not limited to your typical two-panel design.
You can add up to 10 glass panels with both multi-slide patio doors and bifold patio doors — assuming you have the wall space. Even staying within the same size as your current sliding glass door, there may be room to add more panels.
Patio door panels are customizable. With a narrow size, you may be able to fit in more panels to create a unique three-panel or four-panel configuration.
Choosing Between Vinyl, Fiberglass and Wood Patio Doors
There’s one way sticking with a straight sliding glass door replacement actually gives you more flexibility: patio door materials. You can choose a wood, fiberglass or vinyl sliding glass door:
- Wood is an excellent choice for energy efficiency, natural beauty and flexibility. Paint or stain it any way you like to match your interior design.
- Fiberglass combines the look of a painted wood texture with the durability of a strong composite material.
- Vinyl is simple yet sleek. Plus, it provides lasting performance with little maintenance.
Hinged patio doors aren’t available in fiberglass. And folding patio doors are only available in wood. So if you love the easy care of vinyl or the durability of fiberglass, a sliding patio door gives you the widest range of design choices.
Weighing the Costs to Replace Sliding Glass Doors
You might come into the sliding patio door replacement process with a rough budget in mind. But to get an accurate estimate on patio door pricing, you need to have a better idea of the style, number of panels and material you like.
Once you know what you want, rank each by priority. Is wood patio door number one on your list? Are you looking to upgrade to multiple panels? Each factors into the overall sliding glass door replacement cost:
- Style – Sliding patio doors offer the most cost-effective options. Hinged and folding patio doors provide a high-end look and primarily use premium materials.
- Panels – The math is pretty simple. The more panels of glass, the more you’ll likely pay for patio doors. While there’s a big cost difference between 10-panel bifold doors and a single French door, three-panel and four-panel sliding patio doors come a lot closer to the cost of a standard sliding door.
- Size – Similarly, the wider the opening the more glass you’ll need. So large patio doors will carry a bigger price tag than small ones.
- Materials – Wood patio doors are on the upper end of the price range. Fiberglass compares in both aesthetic and price with the more economical wood options. Vinyl is the most affordable of all materials.
- Features – Once you have the main configuration figured out, there’s still plenty more to customize. Grilles, hardware, glass, between-the-glass blinds — anything additional ups the final cost of a patio door replacement.
Installing Patio Doors
Like most home improvement projects, you can find any number of guides or videos on “How to Replace a Sliding Glass Door.” But sliding patio door replacement is no project for the average DIY enthusiast. It takes skill, experience and a whole lot of know-how to correctly remove a sliding glass door and install a new patio door in its place. Especially if you’re upgrading to a different style or creating a wider opening.
Patio doors have large glass panels. Any misstep in the installation process can lead to a long list of performance issues — air leaks, poor energy efficiency, water damage, operational issues and more. Unless you’ve previously handled major home renovations or are a contractor yourself, it’s best to leave the removal and installation to a professional. Not only does a professional install patio doors every day for a living, they’re also expertly trained in the specifics of a brand’s products.
When you’re searching for an installation expert, look for a contractor certified by Pella or another manufacturer. Certification signifies a contractor has the proven skills and experience to get the job done right. Or, by working with your local Pella Windows & Doors showroom, you can trust that everyone on the installation crew has patio door expertise.
Making the Right Decision When You Buy Patio Doors
Replacing sliding glass doors is an investment, so you want to get it right. As you work your way through the steps of the sliding patio door replacement, carve out time for plenty of exploration.
You can find all the info you need on patio door styles and Pella’s product lines on the web. But there’s no replacement for exploring patio doors in person. Browsing the collection, feeling the materials and testing out the functionality help you envision how a new patio door will look and work in your own home. And whether you explore in-store or have a Pella professional come to you, you’ll also save countless hours of your own research by walking through your sliding glass door replacement options with an expert.