Find the Best Patio Doors for Your Home

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for Direct from the Designers

Most homes these days feature some kind of patio door. It’s not just about connecting to outdoor living spaces—they also brighten the interior and bring sweeping views inside because they’re comprised of larger panes of glass than typical windows. Of course, patio doors also come in a variety of types to suit different needs, both practical and aesthetic. Here’s how they compare!

Pella Architect Series Sliding Patio Doors

With natural wood frames available in a range of factory pre-finished colors, Pella® Architect Series® Sliding Patio Doors are great if you’d like to put a beautiful border around your scenery. Want to keep views perfectly clear like this? Opt for the Rolscreen® retractable screen that stores itself out of sight when not in use!

Sliding Patio Doors

The go-to option for years, sliding patio doors might seem plain to some, but they offer tons of flexibility. Just think about how they work—they open and close by sliding within the door frame. This allows you to use more of your floor space because you don’t have to worry about interference; the swing of a hinged door might limit where you could place furniture, for example. You can also open a sliding door however much you like without needing a doorstop to maintain the position, which is handy whether you have people coming in and out or just need to let some fresh air inside. Sliding patio doors have wonderful options to outfit homes of all styles and budgets, but they stand out as the best choice for smaller rooms and houses that need to preserve as much space as possible.

Pella Reserve - Contemporary Wood Hinged Patio Doors

A chic take on a classic style, Pella® Reserve™ - Contemporary Wood Hinged Patio Doors make a bold design statement perfect for a modern scheme. They are available in single and double door configurations and you can choose between inswing or outswing movement.

Hinged Patio Doors

Considered a more elegant solution by many, hinged patio doors are typically seen in pairs that open the full breadth of the doorway. In this arrangement, you’ve probably heard them referred to as French doors. Many homeowners prefer this style because the aperture is double the width of a standard two-panel sliding door, making it possible to move larger items through. Hinged doors can open to the inside or swing out, so make sure to consider and plan for the clearance needed on the side of the door swing. In either case, a single set of French doors will suffice if you have a smaller wall to work with, but you’ll probably want to use them in series—with regular wall space between—for a broader patio. This is a great way to add symmetry to a traditional home!

Pella Architect Series - Traditional Multi-Slide Patio Door

Looking for a sliding patio door with greater breadth? The Pella® Architect Series® - Traditional Multi-Slide Patio Door comes in designs with up to 10 panels that can open from the center as shown here, all to the way to left or right, or from somewhere in the middle. The panels can even disappear into a pocket, if you want!

Multi-Slide Patio Doors

Patio doors have come a long way from the simple two-panel options most homes have had for decades. If you really want to blur the line between indoors and out across a wide expanse of wall, consider a multi-slide patio door. They come in extended widths and have up to ten panels that lock in place to form a wall of windows when closed and open up to completely remove the boundary when you want. Multi-slide patio doors can be configured in a number of ways—where they open from, which direction(s) they move, how they stack on the side(s)—so think about the layout of your home and the arrangement that works best for your design goals. Just remember that the jamb of the doorway will get wider with every panel that slides in one direction, so if you want to install a multi-slide patio door that opens from one side, it will have a wider jamb than one that opens from the center. Depending on the number of panels, you may need to increase the width of the wall to accommodate the door, so be sure to discuss your goals with your designer/builder early on if you want to go big.

Pella Architect Series - Traditional Wood Bifold Patio Door

The Pella® Architect Series® - Traditional Wood Bifold Patio Door also comes in designs with up to 10 panels that can fold away to the left, right, or both. The panels pancake to the side(s), so they only need a narrow jamb while a multi-slide door would need a progressively wider jamb for each panel.

Bifold Patio Doors

Perhaps you’d prefer another unique option for extra-wide applications? Bifold patio doors also slide open to the side(s), but the panels are connected to their neighbors by hinges and to the top and bottom tracks, so they stack perpendicular to the doorway when fully opened. This means they don’t require a wider jamb and are much better suited to renovations than multi-slide doors. Of course, bifold doors extend beyond the doorway when opened, so you have to remember clearance. They can stack up on either side of the wall, but doors that stack to the exterior are more popular for residential use. It’s easier to keep the outside clear of obstructions for most families!

Pella Lifestyle Series Sliding Patio Doors

If you want to tailor your egress to the patio, look into Pella® Lifestyle Series Sliding Patio Doors. They’re available in configurations with up to four panels, have a variety of hardware and grille pattern options, and you can add shades or blinds between the panes of glass. As a Lifestyle Series product, you also get to choose the performance package that suits your needs!

Customization Options

There’s a lot more to patio doors than meets the eye. Check out all the options offered by the products that interest you to find the best solution for your style and practical sensibilities. For example, patio doors are large, so make sure they are optimized for your location. Energy efficiency is a given—for the glass and the seals in the frames/between the panels—but you may also look into sound dampening if you live in a busy area. Perhaps you’d like the privacy afforded by internal blinds, a special grille pattern to complement your home’s architecture, or even a totally custom design to fit a renovation? The number of possibilities might surprise you!

Whatever sort of patio door you have in mind, Pella® has you covered. They offer beautiful, durable, and efficient patio doors for all budgets in popular materials like vinyl, fiberglass, and wood. There’s a lot to consider, so schedule a free consultation with a pro who can help you find what you’ve been searching for!

Therma Tru Doors For House Plans Online