Exterior Patio Doors

Exploring the World of Sliding Door Options

Living in Arizona means having access to gorgeous landscapes, skylines, and natural views. However, these features can only enrich your life when you can see them. For this reason, sliding doors tend to be a very popular option in home design since they can open your home up for airflow and natural beauty. The psychological feel between an open hinged door and an open sliding door is distinct. Let’s look through some of the traditional door alternatives that are more suited for a single-purpose entryway. Then we can explore the types of sliding glass doors one might see on a patio. Lastly, we will consider more contemporary sliding door options that have emerged as alternatives to sliding glass doors.


sliding door options


The Traditional Door Alternatives

Though they may not be as well suited to appreciating nature as sliding glass doors, traditional doors are used frequently for a reason. Hinged doors are one of the oldest types of doors that are still used in architecture today. This is largely because they are so convenient to produce, maintain, install, and secure. Hinged doors are most frequently formed as a single large piece connected to the wall by two to three metal hinges. There are a wide number of locking systems available for hinge doors, and they are easy to customize with features like coat hooks. The biggest downsides are their space requirements and lack of aesthetic customization. And they block the line of sight. French doors are a style of double-hinged door that is crafted with panes of glass to improve visibility, so they let in more light than a hinged door. 

Another hinged door subtype with a subtle charm is the Dutch door. Dutch doors are hinged door alternatives where the top half and bottom half of the door can be swung open separately. These types of doors are ideal for kitchen setups connected to the outside. Folding doors are a different kind of door setup that stack against each other when closed. They have a unique aesthetic feel that is difficult to replicate with other door styles. They do have some significant weaknesses, namely, they require space for the panels to be stacked when open. Additionally, because they have a much larger number of frames, they tend to be less energy efficient from an insulation standpoint. Still, what they lose in efficiency they gain in coverage. Folding doors can cover as wide of a distance as sliding door options can at a potentially lower cost.


types of sliding glass doors


Types of Sliding Glass Doors

Sliding glass doors are far and away the best option for opening your home to natural light and the beauty of your landscape. The reason they are called sliding glass doors is because, rather than opening via hinges, the doors themselves slide along a track parallel to each other to open and shut.

Standard sliding glass doors are the bread and butter of patio entryways. They offer an immense amount of visibility and natural light, customization for the dimensions, number of frames and door width, and can be supplemented with screen doors for virtually no additional hassle in installation or use. They are also quite energy efficient since the multiple doors tend to be separated creating layers of insulated air. Unlike folding doors, they don’t require additional space when open, and can easily open any distance and stay that way. The difficulty usually lies in larger installations. Larger panes of glass can be expensive, especially when custom-produced.

There are sliding door options to consider in this category beyond the standard sliding glass doors. Pocket doors are sliding door options where the installation lets the moving door panel hide in the wall. These types of sliding glass doors have several advantages. They are by far the most open option for creating a connection between your indoor and outdoor space. They are also quite energy efficient and low maintenance. However, pocket doors present difficulties in installation since it is not common to find a pre-existing wall in a house that can accommodate the sliding door cavity and load-bearing equipment. This makes them more expensive upfront. 


Beyond the Standard Sliding Door Options

One of the other alternatives to sliding glass doors is barn-style doors. These are better suited for indoor use since they do not fully seal around the door frame. While they are not exclusively made of glass, it is not unheard of to find a barn-style door with glass panels. They have a rustic aesthetic and a satisfying tactile method of opening and closing. 

Unfortunately, they don’t block sound very well, and depending on their hardware, they can be loud when opening and closing. The last of the sliding door options we will cover here is pivot doors, which are unique statement doors in any property. Pivot doors open based on a swivel around a central point, which makes them easier to size for larger entrances, silent to operate, and customizable to an unprecedented degree. However, this means they are also difficult to fully seal or weatherproof and are much more expensive.


door alternatives


Sliding Door Options for Installation

With all of these options, it can be difficult to discern which sliding door would suit your home best. Fortunately, if you’re in the Phoenix area, AZ Valley Windows has two decades of experience installing windows and doors on residential properties. From the first free consultation to the final walk-through, our experienced crew can consult with you to ease the decision-making process and guide you towards window and door fixtures you will love. There’s no reason to wait to remodel your home closer to your dream. We offer a range of sliding glass doors, entry doors, and more. With year-round discounts and affordable financing options, we do our best to make renovations as accessible as possible. Contact us today if you have any questions and let’s get started on the road towards your sliding door renovations.

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