Homeowners desiring to bring more of the outdoors into their home are increasingly turning to patio doors. In fact, the residential patio door market grew by nearly 25 percent in the 1990s alone, according to research statistics from Andersen Corporation.
Patio doors provide an expansive view of the outdoors, whether it is a wooded glade, the ocean or children playing in the back yard. Many homeowners and residential architects further enhance those views by combining the doors with specialty windows, creating a focal point for a great room, dining room or master bedroom.
Gliding patio doors
The post-World War II building boom saw the advent of the gliding patio door, whose popularity began on the West Coast and gradually spread eastward.
Gliding patio doors help large volumes of fresh air to circulate throughout the home, and adds another extra-wide entrance to one's home. They also free up both interior and exterior space by eliminating the need to swing the door in one direction or the other.
Hinged patio doors
Also known as French doors, hinged patio doors have been used in American homes since the early 1900s. In the building boom of the 1980s this door style began to cross over from luxury homes to middle-priced homes.
Hinged patio doors are a great way to open a home to the outdoors, allowing breezes to flow freely inside. Like its gliding counterpart, this patio door style allows homeowners to get the most out of their yard, patio and home. Many hinged patio doors are sold as two-panel units in which both panels open for convenient access and expanded natural ventilation.
Hinged patio doors swing to the interior or exterior of a home. Outswing patio doors free up valuable interior space, providing more room for furniture and accessories, while inswing patio doors do the same for a patio or deck.
But not all patio doors are created equally. Andersen® experts remind consumers in the market for new patio doors to keep these features in mind:
- Does the door come with a solid warranty?
Products are only as good as the warranty that backs them. Make sure of what the warranty covers, if it's fully transferable and if it's prorated.
- Does the door display the NFRC performance certification label?
Because patio doors often constitute a home's largest exterior wall opening, wise homeowners insist on doors carrying the National Fenestration Rating Council (NRFC) performance certification label. The NFRC label gives consumers easy-to-understand, comparative numbers representing a product's ability to minimize a home's heating and cooling costs. If the patio door isn't labeled, don't buy it.
- Does the door have a low-maintenance exterior?
The highest-quality patio doors are made of preservative-treated wood for maximum durability and energy efficiency, with an exterior cladding material that minimizes maintenance and helps protect the door from the elements.
- Does the hinged door have a multi-point locking system?
Quality hinged patio doors provide locking points at the top, center and bottom of the door panel for improved security and weathertightness.
The Andersen® brand is the most recognized and most used brand in the window and patio door industry. For a local dealer, more information, or a copy of the Andersen 20/10 limited warranty, visit www.andersenwindows.com or call 1-800-426-4261, ext. 3018.