A brief look into the pros & cons and different design features of patio doors.
Traditional Sliding Patio Doors
Easy to Use
- Panels slide along a track to open and close.
- Controlled ventilation: Open sliding panels only as much as needed at the time.
- Screen door available to allow airflow while keeping bugs out and pets in.
- Sliding panels do not encroach on living space or deck area at any time.
- Furniture can be placed close to the door on both the inside and outside.
- Screen door is low profile and slides near panel.
- Larger glass panels can offer a great open view of the outside when the panels are closed.
- Less vertical separators than a folding door.
- Sliding panels are not connected to each other.
- No stress between panels.
- Simple operating system.
- Easy to repair.
- Bottom-track supported.
HOWEVER… ALL SLIDING PATIO DOORS SHARE THE SAME DISADVANTAGE!
The Door Does Not Fully Open!
- Because the sliding panels must remain on the track at all times, even when fully opened, much of the opening is blocked by both the stationary and moving panels.
- You do not get full use of the opening
- The view is obstructed by layers of door panel frames and screens
Configure the Opening for the Need
All Panels Closed
All Panels Open
Main Swing Door Open
Panels Configured for Opening in Center
Panels configure for Opening On Both Ends
Panels Spaced for Dispersed Airflow
Simple and Easy to Operate
Open the main swing door.
Slide adjacent panel to end and swing open.
Continue with each panel until door system is completely open.
Unlike the sliding patio door that is greatly limited on total open space, the bifold door offers a way to maximize the open area. It is for this reason they first became very popular with restaurants and stores. The bifold door offered a way to add an extra level of elegance or grandeur while helping to create an open atmosphere.
However, bifold patio doors loose many of the benefits of the sliding door and have added limitations.
- Bifold patio doors hang from the header often requiring substantial retrofitting before installation.
- Bifold patio doors require much more hardware to operate making the door more difficult to maintain.
- More difficult to operate because you have of the many locks and pull handles that must be used.
Door panels leave the line of the track when folding. This prevents the positioning of furniture or other items near the door.
- More space is needed on the inside and outside.
- The operation often deteriorates over time as the panel-to-panel hinges age.
Expansion of the panels can cause binding.
Complete operation failure is a possibility.