Author Topic: Sliding Door (Patio Door) Quality: What to Look For  (Read 2748 times)

El_Viajero

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Sliding Door (Patio Door) Quality: What to Look For
« on: March 28, 2016, 08:52:43 AM »
At some point this year, I want to replace my current sliding door. It was installed in the 1980s the EARLY 1980s. Ha! It's a black aluminum one with a little metal notch that you use to open and close it. You know the type.

Anyway, it's warped; the track is out of alignment; it requires herculean strength to open and close; it's ridiculously leaky; the felt weatherstripping is dead; the rubber between the glass and the aluminum is all twisted inside of itself; etc.

We're going to replace it with another slider. We've decided against French doors for a number of reasons, so I don't need any advice about those. However, I do need advice about the quality of sliding doors that are out there.

Lowe's has vinyl ones for less than $300. My thinking is that I'll probably get what I pay for with these.

The guy at my local hardware store sells pricey Marvin Integrity Series fiberglass sliding doors, and he told me he wouldn't put a vinyl slider on a doghouse. He obviously has a financial interest in my purchasing his $1000 door, but still.

What's the best bang for the buck with regard to materials, hardware, etc? I want a high quality door that's going to last a long time! I have no doubt the fiberglass one would perform wonderfully, but I feel like a good vinyl one (not the cheap vinyl one) would be a good compromise. Thoughts?

One thing to keep in mind is that the door will come in contact with rain on a regular basis. There's no awning over it, and there's virtually no overhang. Thanks in advance for your insights!

ketchup

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Re: Sliding Door (Patio Door) Quality: What to Look For
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2016, 09:00:47 AM »
I'd like to piggyback on this too, as I'm basically doing the same thing at some point this spring/early summer.  Our sliding glass door in our house we bought last year is basically junk, with poor insulation and looking lousy, not to mention the fact that it doesn't actually open.

I too feel like (from my gut intuition and not much else) that one-tier-above-cheapskate seems to be the way to go here.

GuitarStv

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Re: Sliding Door (Patio Door) Quality: What to Look For
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2016, 09:24:47 AM »
My experience has been that sliding doors never work very well long term, just because of the nature of the sliding action.  I'd be inclined to replace with something like a french door which is relatively simple to replace the seals when they go bad.  They also let you open up the room for an astounding amount of fresh air compared to sliding doors (which limit you to half the opening size).

Another Reader

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Re: Sliding Door (Patio Door) Quality: What to Look For
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2016, 10:18:11 AM »
French doors do not seal well, have a tendency to warp, and are difficult to screen or use drapes or blinds.  I would never install them again, especially not in a rental, where I made that mistake. 

Given that OP has foundation issues described in another thread, it may be difficult to install a slider without some adjustment for settlement.  I would figure out if that is part of the problem before doing anything.  I would probably spend a few bucks to get a decent fiberglass unit.  Vinyl does not hold up well in extreme weather, especially if there is direct sun on the door and frame.

I can't speak to Marvin doors, but I bought a house 12 years ago in the Phoenix area with a south-facing Anderson wood sliding door.  That door is at least 15 years old, and has held up well.  I'm putting a fiberglass Anderson sliding door in another house down there now.  We will see how that one performs.

El_Viajero

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Re: Sliding Door (Patio Door) Quality: What to Look For
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2016, 12:16:30 PM »
Given that OP has foundation issues described in another thread, it may be difficult to install a slider without some adjustment for settlement.  I would figure out if that is part of the problem before doing anything.  I would probably spend a few bucks to get a decent fiberglass unit.  Vinyl does not hold up well in extreme weather, especially if there is direct sun on the door and frame.

Thanks!

Fiberglass: 1
Vinyl: 0

Yeah, it's going to get a lot of direct sunlight. The door faces east, and there is no overhang.

Regarding my foundation "issues" nice catch, by the way! I spoke with the structural engineer about doors and windows before he prepared my report. He said not to worry about replacing windows and doors and to just install the doors and windows that I like. I'll just need to be aware of the fact that they could come out of alignment at some point due to settlement. I'll just have to get them adjusted if it ever happens.

Interestingly, the current slider is 30+ years old and it still slides. Not easily, mind you, but it does work. I'd say I'm in good shape.