Patio and Slider Doors

Choosing a patio door or slider door for your home can sometimes come as shock to some people. The barrage of information coming at you can be very confusing if you do not understand the lingo. If you know what to look for and ask the right questions, you will be more satisfied with your purchase knowing that you bought the right door for your home. The doors that are manufactured today are far superior to their predecessors.  The basic components of both types of doors (swinging and sliding) are the same with the exception that one will swing and the other slide. This should be the decision that you consider, first and fore most because it is critical to the functionality of your deck, patio and living space. A conversion from one style to the other is very easy and usually presents no major issues. The required framed openings are very similar.

Here are some common brand names that you might consider for a door manufacturer, (Andersen, Pella, Marvin, and Harvey.) Because of the expense of replacing a patio/slider door, quality, warranty and guarantee should be the deciding factors and not price. Age and lack of maintenance can really wreak havoc on these doors because they are so exposed to the elements in the north east. Construction components can range from vinyl in various colors, solid wood with maintenance free exterior, pre-painted cladding material such as aluminum and the newest type are fiberglass. Some home owners prefer a natural wood interior but do not want to paint outside and prefer something maintenance free. Vinyl doors are the most trouble and maintenance free product offered today but with a catch.

The vinyl doors that are offered at the local home improvement store are at the bottom of the quality list and should not be considered as a good investment. Vinyl components are made up from extrusions, the thickness of these extrusions are directly related to overall strength. A small extrusion means a flimsy door that will not hold up very long, especially in the Northeast. Harvey Industries, manufactures one the heaviest gauge extrusions offered on the market, and you can truly feel the difference in you hand. They also offer one of the best warranties among vinyl patio doors. All in all, Harvey is a fantastic brand and one we will put our name behind. Andersen doors are pricy but you will not be disappointed with the quality or warranty. Pella and Marvin are comparable products with different options and are also good purchases.

The amount and type of glass in a patio door is the driving force behind much of the cost. All modern doors are supposed to have “tempered safety glass,” this glass is similar to the glass in your vehicle as it will disintegrate into small pieces if the glass is broken. Older doors which do not have tempered glass will have large, sharp, jagged edges of glass hanging out of the door if the glass is broken. The state of Massachusetts requires that all new door and windows be double pane and have a “Low-E rating” that conforms to the Massachusetts building code. Low-E glass is a nearly invisible silver coating applied to inner pane that works as a reflector to the suns damaging rays during the summer months and works in reverse during the winter months. Argon gas is pumped to fill the void between the outer and inner panes in the glass and is supposed to give the glass a better insulating value. Many new doors now offer triple pane glass which means more weight and a higher insulating factor. I always try to remind the consumer that glass is still glass and when you have nearly 42 square feet of glass it might still feel cold on a cold winter night or likewise, hot in the summer.

The term “grids” are referring to a pattern design that you can chose that will give the door a style rather than just having plain glass. The grids can be put between the glass panes, making it just as easy to clean as a solid pane of glass or they can have a snap on design making removal easy when washing the glass. The grids come in all sorts of styles, colors, and designs. Harvey Industries even offers a custom grid that the home owner can design.  The installation of all these doors usually will take two men about a whole day to complete.

Patio doors that are 10 years old or more, often do not have sufficient weatherproofing materials. When removing the old doors we often find rotted wood, loads of ants and in some cases termites. The most common cause is a splash back effect from the deck or patio outside the door causing rain and snow to seep under the sill and rot the wood. During the installation process we will replace the rotted wood and install proper weather proofing membranes and non-rotting materials to prevent future problems.

Please contact me directly at or 508-791-3424 to talk about a new Sliding or Patio door for your home!


Check out some of our recommended brands. Their websites have excellent design tools and images of all the sliding and patio door styles available for your home. If you need help please email me at

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