Doors are one of our homes’ major features; they take up a lot of space, and often have a large effect on our home’s overall functionality and aesthetics. And because looks and function are both such important considerations when selecting suitable doors for the home, here’s a quick rundown on the design features and options you’ll want to take into account:
When it comes to patio doors, the most important question you’ll need to answer is what type of door to go with. Your choice will, in all likelihood, end up being whether to go with a sliding door or a French door. While certain other styles exist, they aren’t as common as those two, or may actually just be variations on the two.
Sliding doors function by gliding open and closed on a horizontal track. This is why this type of door is also, alternatively, called a “gliding door.”
If the door is to be located near furniture, then sliding doors are an ideal choice: unlike a hinged door, which requires a small amount of clearance around the door frame, the sliding door’s method of operation means that it does not require any space within the room to operate properly. If the room is otherwise cramped or has little in the way of available space, a sliding door gives you a freer hand in arranging the contents of the room.
Sliding doors are also easier to adjust than hinged doors; should you find your home’s foundation shifting, it’s a simple matter to raise or lower the rollers by accessing the adjusting screws in the door.
Aesthetics-wise, sliding doors help to impart a more contemporary look and feel to your home; this may, however, not be as appropriate for homes in an older or more classical style. Compared to French doors, sliding doors are also generally less expensive, which for many is a deciding factor in door choice.
Functionally, sliding doors’ biggest disadvantage is that they cannot be opened as wide as a hinged door; if you anticipate moving a lot of large furniture, or foresee the kind of foot traffic involved in hosting large parties, then a sliding door may not be for you.
THE FRENCH DOOR EFFECT: Two-panelled french doors conventionally open and close on hinges.
French doors, more conventionally, open and close on hinges. With two panels to the door, one panel will typically remain locked in place, while the other will be used for regular traffic.
One of the biggest draws of French doors is the way they are able to give an elegant, classic look to rooms in which they’re installed. Additionally, because the door’s threshold sits on a lower level than they would with a sliding door, the risk of tripping associated with sliding doors does not exist with French doors.
As already mentioned, French doors typically open wider than sliding doors, as both panels can be opened fully. This is, however, offset by the fact that space will need to be set aside as clearance for opening and closing the door; furniture or other features that get in the way of the door’s swing space will affect the operation of the door. Also, since French doors are typically more expensive than sliding doors, cost can be a sticking point for many homeowners.
Glass Options for Sliding Doors
THE GLASS FACTOR: Sliding glass doors typically have impact-resistant glass, both to increase the safety factor of the glass and the security provided by your door.
One of the things that set a sliding door apart from other types of doors is the amount of glass in the door structure. Naturally, as with windows, your choice of glass options will affect the functionality of your sliding door.
Insulating dual-pane glass is pretty much an industry standard for today’s doors. For those living in colder climates, the choice to go with triple-pane glass instead of just dual-pane is also available. To go with these insulating glass options is the choice of whether or not to add an inert gas fill of argon or krypton to increase the amount of insulation the door glass provides.
High-end sliding glass doors, such as those offered by Renewal by Andersen, typically come with a low-emissivity, or low-E, glass option. Additional thermal performance options are the next step up; with Andersen windows, your options would be to go with one of the following, in addition to the low-E coating on the glass: 1) for passive heating applications, there’s PassiveSun glass; 2) to reduce the glare from sunlight, there’s tinted Sun glass; and lastly, 3) there’s SmartSun glass, which is designed to filter out up to 95% of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.
In addition to insulation and options for dealing with heat and light, sliding glass doors also typically come with an option for making the glass impact resistant. Not only does this increase the safety factor of the glass, but it also helps to increase the security provided by your door as well.
Picking a Door Color
YOU AND YOR DOOR: When picking out a door color, consider your home’s style and personality, and go with what will match the colors, shades, and textures that are already there.
Picking a color for your door is largely a matter of aesthetics; thus, there are no real “hard and fast rules” for this. There are, however, a couple of general principles that you can use to guide you.
Understanding color basics goes a long way towards helping you pick colors that go well with each other. Going by the color wheel, you can pick out color schemes that help you match your door to its surroundings. You can choose to go with a monochromatic color scheme, involving different shades of the same color; analogous colors, which you find side by side on the color wheel; contrasting colors, typically three hues spaced evenly around the color wheel; or complementary colors, which you will find opposite each other on the color wheel.
It’s also important to pay attention to your home’s style and personality. The easiest way to do this is to take a good look at what colors already exist in your home. Consider the colors, shades, and textures that are already there, and look for colors that will work well with them.
Ultimately. your choice of doors for your home will come down to a combination of what you need the door to do, and your personal sense of style and aesthetics. While some matters of door functionality might affect your choice, there is no actual “right” or “wrong” choice, except for a choice that doesn’t work for you. With a little consideration – and maybe moving stuff around – your choice of a new door to install can greatly add to the comfort and beauty of your home.
Christine Salamone has over a decade’s worth of experience in the window replacement industry. As creative director of Renewal By Andersen of Western New York, she and her team have provided, and continue to provide quality service to homeowners in Rochester and Buffalo.