Tuesday, March 19th, 2019 by Barry Taylor
In Coastal Virginia, we enjoy three seasons of outdoor living each year. So, don’t let a problem patio door stand between you and the great outdoors! We’re here to help with tips on choosing a sliding glass patio door that will let in the breeze and stand up to Virginia’s hurricane-force winds -- year after year.
Sliding Glass Doors, also known as “gliders,” consist of a fixed panel and a sliding panel. They can be configured to open either from the left or the right. Rollers on the bottom (and sometimes the top) of the sliding glass panel glide along a track fixed to the frame.
Usually, the hardware is the first thing to fail on a patio door. If your sliding glass door sticks, creaks, or is hard to open, first check that your door is in alignment with the track. If you still have a problem, worn-out rollers are probably to blame. Dirt and moisture wear down the rollers over time. This is the main reason people replace their sliding glass doors.
(While it’s technically possible to replace the rollers on an existing patio door, we don’t usually recommend it. The heavy, unwieldy door panels must be removed from the frame, which is dangerous for homeowners to try on their own. Even then, the hardware is usually not accessible.)
At first glance, vinyl sliding glass doors all look the same. So how can you tell if you’re looking a high-quality product? Focus in on a sturdy frame, energy-efficient glass options, and high-quality hardware components.
At CVP, stainless steel hardware and precision roller bearings come standard on every sliding glass patio door. Stainless steel is extremely durable and extends the life of the door dramatically. Precision roller bearings keep your door gliding smoothly.
Some manufacturers offer a ‘coastal hardware package’ for humid climates. Generally, ‘coastal hardware’ refers to a powder-coated metal. The underlying metal is not corrosion-resistant. Over time, the powder coat wears off, allowing rust to form. Poor-quality components shorten the life of the door and end up costing you more money in the long run.
Did you know the average sliding glass patio door is 6-12 feet wide and over 6 feet tall? It’s likely the largest opening in your home. That’s why it’s important to make sure the patio door you’re considering is structurally sound.
Look for a wide and stiff vinyl frame. At CVP, we offer a 4 9/16” jamb depth. This means our sliding patio door frames cover the full depth of a standard 4” wall. Additionally, our sash profiles and the meeting-rail at the center of the sliding glass door system are fully steel reinforced for durability.
Quality craftsmanship prevents frame flex and joint failure. Naturally, houses shift and settle over time. An inferior patio door may not be strong enough to withstand these natural changes in pressure. Symptoms of a degrading door include water leaks, drafts, cracks, and difficulty opening and closing it.
A sturdy, well-constructed frame is an absolute necessity for oversized patio doors and glass panels, which are used in Florida rooms, sunroom conversions, and pool houses. At CVP, we can build glass doors up to sixteen feet (16') long and eight feet (8') in height for these applications.
The glass – or glazing – in a sliding glass patio door has a big job to do. Not only does it let in natural light, making your living space more welcoming. Glass also provides a protective barrier against inclement weather, extreme temperatures, and external forces. There are a few technical specifications one should consider before purchasing a sliding glass door.
First, energy-efficiency is key. Look for Energy-Star® rated glass options that have been certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In our area, residential windows and doors must provide a U-factor that is equal to, or less than 0.30 and a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) that is equal to, or less than, 0.40.
Our standard glass package for sliding glass doors is double-pane, Low-E 270 with Argon (an insulating gas). It offers a U-factor of 0.29 and an SHCG factor of 0.26, surpassing Energy-Star® requirements. Upgraded glass packages, laminated-glass, and triple-pane glass are always an option on our patio doors to give you leading-edge performance.
The next thing to consider is the strength of the glass. In Coastal Virginia, we have hurricanes and strong storms, especially along the coast. Some manufacturers sell a special storm-rated door for these applications. At CVP, we simplify by ensuring every window and door we sell carries a DP-rating of 50. You can trust our windows and doors to withstand hurricane-force winds and rain up to 173 mph. For perspective, that represents a category 4-5 hurricane, which would cause significant roof and wall damage before taking out your CVP patio door.
You could spend top dollar for a sliding glass door and still be disappointed if it’s not installed properly. Find a trustworthy service provider who can back up the sale with expertise and professionalism.
Custom Vinyl is more than a window and door company – we’re a custom manufacturing facility. We measure, design, build, and install your sliding glass patio door right here in Coastal Virginia. We inspect and correct defects before your sliding glass door leaves our factory. A second quality-check is done on-site by our professional installation team. We anticipate problems before they occur and can even rebuild our products if necessary to ensure your sliding glass door is a perfect fit.
So, stop putting up with your problem patio door. Call us today for a free, no-obligation estimate. And before you buy, be sure to get our bid. Compare us to the competition – we think you’ll discover a better value for performance than many of the well-known national brands.