Tips

Parts of a patio door

The best way to get the exact door you want? Talk the talk. We’ll teach you what each part of a patio door is called so you can make the right selections and communicate clearly with contractors, dealers, or anyone else. 
An exterior photo of Justina Blakeney’s olive, two-panel 200 Series Narroline Gliding Patio Doors with Albany hardware.
When you think of a patio door, what comes to mind? If it’s a two-panel sliding glass door, we have news for you: A patio door can be so much more! Today, there are options that tuck away into walls for completely unobstructed openings, meet at corners to open two walls at once, and even scale down to window size. With such an expansive and flexible array of patio doors, we’re sure there’s one that’s just right for your lifestyle, and your home’s size and style. Understanding what to call each part of a patio door will help you identify the features you like and communicate clearly with your pro throughout the selection and installation process.  

What are the parts of a sliding glass patio door

A diagram of an Andersen 400 Series Frenchwood® Gliding Patio Door with arrows pointing to labeled door parts.

Panel: The glass and supporting pieces around it together form the panel. A traditional gliding patio door has two panels — one that moves and one that doesn’t.

Frame: The outer structure of a door that holds it in place and connects it with the wall.

Stiles: Vertical pieces of a panel found outside the glass on the left and the right sides of a panel. Also called “side stiles.” On a French door, the side stiles may also be wider than on a contemporary-style panel.

Rails: Horizontal pieces of the panel found outside the glass at the top and the bottom of a panel, and called, respectively, the top rail and the bottom rail. A French door typically has a high bottom rail.

Trim/casing/millwork: Although it’s not technically a part of the door, it’s a key component of its finished look. On the interior, the decorative framing that outlines a door bridging the gap between the door and the wall is called casing. On the exterior, decorative trim around the door is referred to as the “exterior trim.”

Hardware: The handle and lock that allow a door to be moved and secured.

Glazing: The glass in the door panel.

Sill: The horizontal piece at the bottom of a door frame aligning with the floor.

Talk like a pro: Patio door handing

Whether your door opens from the right or the left is called handing. You can decide on the handing when you order your door. It’s important to know that handing direction is described as viewed from the home’s exterior. This decision should be made with the larger context in mind. Think about the flow of your space when you make this decision because it’ll make everyday life more seamless. It’s also a decision that cannot be reversed after installation. 
An exterior shot of a courtyard patio with outdoor furniture; a black, pocketing MultiGlide™ Door; and complimentary blue skies and surrounding greenery.
Handing is the direction your door opens. When you order one of our front doors, you can decide whether it opens from the left or right. To make this decision, consider the flow of your space. 

Patio door FAQ

What are my hardware options? 
You can select from a variety of hardware options when choosing a new patio door. Styles range from traditional to contemporary, with many different finishes to choose from. Explore our hardware collection.   

Do you offer any smart locks? 
Yes, the Yale® Assure Lock® is available on our patio doors and front doors. This smart lock allows you to monitor, lock, and unlock your door from anywhere — no keys required. Get more details

Are screens available for patio doors? 
Yes! Our new retractable insect screen is made specifically for our patio doors. A retractable screen offers all the benefits of a traditional panel screen — keeping insects out and facilitating fresh airflow — but it also disappears when not in use, so it won’t block your light or views. Check out more information
An exterior shot of a woman opening a black 200 Series Narroline® Gliding Patio Door and retractable insect screen to her deck where her dog awaits by a potted plant.
An exterior shot of a woman opening a black 200 Series Narroline® Gliding Patio Door and retractable insect screen to her deck where her dog awaits by a potted plant.
I have a patio door: How do I identify its manufacturer and type? 
Examining the product may be the easiest way to identify the manufacturer. Two common placements of branding include hardware and glass. For Andersen® products, you’ll find the logo on both — engraved on the locking hardware and etched in the bottom right corner of the glass.
Andersen bronze door handle
If you see this branding on your product, you can use the "Identify My Window or Patio Door" worksheet to identify your Andersen product, accessories, and features. 

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patio door selection guide brochure with ipad view and printed versions

Up next:

We’ve got plenty more patio door pointers as well as a homeowner-friendly tool that’ll let you start visualizing your perfect patio door!
A sliding patio door lets this couple and their dog move seamlessly from the bedroom to playtime on the patio

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Patio doors: Hinged v. sliding doors?

Which patio door is right for your home? It all depends on your style, space, and needs. We'll help you think through these factors, so you can land on exactly the right door. 

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Design your perfect patio door

Dreaming of better indoor/outdoor living? Try out or design tool and design your own patio door!