Types of Patio Doors Patio doors are sold in three main design types. These types can be installed in various combinations -- singles, doubles, or other multiples -- with or without fixed windows in order to fit the patio door opening. The main patio door types include:
Patio Door Materials Most patio doors are made from one of six materials: aluminum, fiberglass, wood, steel, vinyl, or clad wood. Each varies in cost and can perform differently based on climate stressors and temperature changes. In addition, the type of material as well as the glass used, such as low-E, influences how efficient the door is at helping your home maintain a constant desirable temperature.
Aluminum is very lightweight and costs less than wood or fiberglass. It is generally not susceptible to most climate extremes and does not need painting.
Fiberglass can be manufactured to resemble wood but will not warp or swell like wood and also does not need painting.
Wood patio doors can be made from a range of wood types, each of which has its own characteristics and some of which are heavier duty than others. Wood is generally more expensive than a choice like aluminum.
Steel patio doors are very strong and resistant to weather-related stressors, such as rust, with little maintenance.
Vinyl, which does not need painting, is also durable and stands up to weather and temperature stressors.
Doors can also be clad in metal over wood for even more durability.
Additional Patio Door Amenities There are other important factors to a patio door choice. Many patio doors are integrated with stationary glass panels, either in a symmetrical or asymmetrical pattern. Panels can book-end the door, or multiple panels can be placed just to one side. Doors can also be separated by a stationary panel. Color options exist, too, to best accent a home exterior color scheme or materials.
In much the same way as the doors can be designed to complement your home, the glass plays a role in enhancing the existing architectural style. Glass can be mullioned or an unbroken expanse. Patio doors can also have secondary screens, which help to ward off bugs. Some patio doors have internal blinds or grills that can help to control the light.