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Security for Patio Doors

Sliding patio doors and French doors are often overlooked when it comes to security, making them vulnerable to break-ins. The following security measures are recommended for security.

Sliding door lock releases with a kick switch. Photo: Prime Line Products

Sliding door lock releases with a kick switch. Photo: Prime Line Products

With sliding doors, the handle latch is not enough to secure the door. A sliding patio door should be protected by a keyed lock fitted to the track. Several types of sliding door locks are available online. The one shown here has a handy foot release.

Keyed deadbolt protects hinged doors. Photo: Constructor

Keyed deadbolt protects hinged doors. Photo: Constructor

A hinged patio door requires a different type of lock. To protect this type of door:

1. Install a deadbolt lock that has a horizontal bolt at least 1 inch long.

2. Install a reinforced strike plate that is at least 18 inches in length and requires 3-inch screws.

3. Make sure the hinges are installed on the inside so that burglars cannot remove the pins.

4. Consider installing metal reinforcement around the door where it’s been drilled to accept the lock and knob.

5. Also consider installing a double-cylinder deadbolt that requires a key to open on the inside and the outside. This will prevent a burglar from just breaking the glass and reaching in to open the door. However, you will need to keep the key in a handy location in case of fire or other emergency.

Sliding & Patio Door Materials

Patio doors and sliders are manufactured from a variety of materials. A wood door isn’t necessarily just wood—some wood doors have steel interiors, and some steel doors have wood exteriors. A fiberglass or steel door may have a wood frame. And nearly any door may have an energy-efficient core of foam insulation. Some sliders are also made of aluminum.

For more about the materials used for doors, see Front & Entry Doors Buying Guide.

Wood patio doors. This is the most common material used for patio doors because of its natural beauty. Scratches are relatively easy to repair. Because wood is vulnerable to weather damage, it must be given a durable finish of stain or paint, and they must be re-stained or repainted every few years. You can buy wood doors that are factory primed or pre-painted in standard colors, or, for a premium, painted with custom colors.

Both hardwoods and softwoods are used, though hardwood is more common when a natural finish is desired. Various have their own advantages and disadvantages—some are very durable in weather and others are better for staining. Here are the characteristics of a few popular species:

• Poplar is an ideal choice because it accepts paints and stains well and is typically inexpensive.

• Red oak is the most popular and abundant of the hardwoods. It has excellent water resistance and will take more abuse due to its courser grain.

• Ash is slightly harder than red oak and stains well.

• Hickory is the strongest, heaviest, and hardest of the hardwoods. It looks best in a rustic application such as a log cabin.

• White oak is considered the best all-around wood and allows little or no water to penetrate its surface. It also offers excellent wear resistance and is highly stainable. White oak is commonly used on boats and in the making of wine and whiskey barrels.

• Cherry darkens with light exposure and also with age. It resists warping, and is hard, sturdy, and stains well. Cherry is sought after for use in furniture, cabinetry, and doors.

• Walnut is a tough, dark hardwood that sometimes has blonde streaks. Walnut stains to an exceptional finish and is second only to cherry as the choice for furniture, cabinetry, and doors.

• Mahogany is a tropical wood that is durable and will rarely warp. It is reddish-brown in color and has excellent finishing qualities.

Spanish cedar and white oak are other popular wood choices. Some companies offer sample kits for around $10. These kits contain samples of popular woods in thin rectangular pieces that you can sand and finish to see how they’ll look in your room.

Fiberglass composite doors. This man-made material has a clean, modern appeal and can be painted or stained. Due to the synthetic nature of fiberglass, doors made from it are durable and will never peel, swell, or warp. Fiberglass is moderately priced, dent resistant, energy efficient, and requires little maintenance. Fiberglass, however, can crack under severe impact.

Aluminum and vinyl clad doors. Combining the best of two worlds—the beauty of natural wood indoors and the durability of aluminum or vinyl surfaces outside—clad wood doors are an extremely popular low-maintenance option. Outside surfaces of aluminum cladding is prefinished with a factory coating.

Steel doors. Steel doors are made of heavy-gauge galvanized steel applied over a core of rigid foam. Their surfaces are typically coated with a polymer or vinyl and are wood-grain embossed, but they only do a fair job of impersonating wood. Steel offers low maintenance and strength. However, steel can dent and is difficult to repair; also, this material can scratch and will rust if not repainted regularly. Because of their foam cores, most steel doors offer good energy efficiency.

Aluminum doors. Solid aluminum, used for the frames and tracks of some sliding doors, is lightweight and durable. Given an anodized finish, it resists corrosion and will not rust. It does dent easily.

Sliding & Patio Door Materials

Patio doors and sliders are manufactured from a variety of materials. A wood door isn’t necessarily just wood—some wood doors have steel interiors, and some steel doors have wood exteriors. A fiberglass or steel door may have a wood frame. And nearly any door may have an energy-efficient core of foam insulation. Some sliders are also made of aluminum.

For more about the materials used for doors, see Front & Entry Doors Buying Guide.

Wood patio doors. This is the most common material used for patio doors because of its natural beauty. Scratches are relatively easy to repair. Because wood is vulnerable to weather damage, it must be given a durable finish of stain or paint, and they must be re-stained or repainted every few years. You can buy wood doors that are factory primed or pre-painted in standard colors, or, for a premium, painted with custom colors.

Both hardwoods and softwoods are used, though hardwood is more common when a natural finish is desired. Various have their own advantages and disadvantages—some are very durable in weather and others are better for staining. Here are the characteristics of a few popular species:

• Poplar is an ideal choice because it accepts paints and stains well and is typically inexpensive.

• Red oak is the most popular and abundant of the hardwoods. It has excellent water resistance and will take more abuse due to its courser grain.

• Ash is slightly harder than red oak and stains well.

• Hickory is the strongest, heaviest, and hardest of the hardwoods. It looks best in a rustic application such as a log cabin.

• White oak is considered the best all-around wood and allows little or no water to penetrate its surface. It also offers excellent wear resistance and is highly stainable. White oak is commonly used on boats and in the making of wine and whiskey barrels.

• Cherry darkens with light exposure and also with age. It resists warping, and is hard, sturdy, and stains well. Cherry is sought after for use in furniture, cabinetry, and doors.

• Walnut is a tough, dark hardwood that sometimes has blonde streaks. Walnut stains to an exceptional finish and is second only to cherry as the choice for furniture, cabinetry, and doors.

• Mahogany is a tropical wood that is durable and will rarely warp. It is reddish-brown in color and has excellent finishing qualities.

Spanish cedar and white oak are other popular wood choices. Some companies offer sample kits for around $10. These kits contain samples of popular woods in thin rectangular pieces that you can sand and finish to see how they’ll look in your room.

Fiberglass composite doors. This man-made material has a clean, modern appeal and can be painted or stained. Due to the synthetic nature of fiberglass, doors made from it are durable and will never peel, swell, or warp. Fiberglass is moderately priced, dent resistant, energy efficient, and requires little maintenance. Fiberglass, however, can crack under severe impact.

Aluminum and vinyl clad doors. Combining the best of two worlds—the beauty of natural wood indoors and the durability of aluminum or vinyl surfaces outside—clad wood doors are an extremely popular low-maintenance option. Outside surfaces of aluminum cladding is prefinished with a factory coating.

Steel doors. Steel doors are made of heavy-gauge galvanized steel applied over a core of rigid foam. Their surfaces are typically coated with a polymer or vinyl and are wood-grain embossed, but they only do a fair job of impersonating wood. Steel offers low maintenance and strength. However, steel can dent and is difficult to repair; also, this material can scratch and will rust if not repainted regularly. Because of their foam cores, most steel doors offer good energy efficiency.

Aluminum doors. Solid aluminum, used for the frames and tracks of some sliding doors, is lightweight and durable. Given an anodized finish, it resists corrosion and will not rust. It does dent easily.

Glass for Patio Doors & Sliders

decorative-door-glass-ODL

Door glazing can be as decorative as it is efficient. This stunning “Mohave” pattern is a combination of Southwest and Craftsman styling. Photo: ODL

Because both sliding and patio doors are primarily glass, it’s very important that they be fitted with high-performance glazing in most climates. Strict energy requirements in building codes demand that large expanses of glass be able to perform with minimal energy loss. For this reason, double-insulated low-e or Argon-gas filled glazing is used in high-quality products. For more about high-efficiency glazing, please see High-Efficiency Glazing. In addition, UV protection helps protect floors and furniture from the damaging effects of the sun’s radiation.

When it comes to door glass, safety and security are also important so it is almost always tempered for safety. Tempered glass is four to five times stronger than standard glass and does not break into sharp shards when shattered but rather crumbles into tiny round-edged pieces. It is not storm-proof, but it is relatively reliable against the elements. If storms or intruders are a concern, you can also buy special-grade glass strong enough to withstand hurricane winds and high-velocity objects without fracturing.

Door glass can also be decorative. The varieties of glass that are the most popular include:

Frosted glass. Available in a wide variety of options, frosted glass allows in a degree of light. Frosted glass is typically used in bathrooms, bedrooms, or home offices where light is desired along with a measure of privacy.

Grooved glass. Since ancient times, grooved glass is simply glass that has been ground on the surface to make a pattern or design. Grooved glass creates a period look.

Beveled glass. The edges of this glass are ground at a slant and then polished back to clear. The bevel acts as a prism when sunlight hits it, creating a rainbow display of colors.

Tinted glass. Slightly tinting glass can save on utility bills during both summer and winter because it maintains indoor temperatures at a more constant level.

Glass for Patio Doors & Sliders

decorative-door-glass-ODL

Door glazing can be as decorative as it is efficient. This stunning “Mohave” pattern is a combination of Southwest and Craftsman styling. Photo: ODL

Because both sliding and patio doors are primarily glass, it’s very important that they be fitted with high-performance glazing in most climates. Strict energy requirements in building codes demand that large expanses of glass be able to perform with minimal energy loss. For this reason, double-insulated low-e or Argon-gas filled glazing is used in high-quality products. For more about high-efficiency glazing, please see High-Efficiency Glazing. In addition, UV protection helps protect floors and furniture from the damaging effects of the sun’s radiation.

When it comes to door glass, safety and security are also important so it is almost always tempered for safety. Tempered glass is four to five times stronger than standard glass and does not break into sharp shards when shattered but rather crumbles into tiny round-edged pieces. It is not storm-proof, but it is relatively reliable against the elements. If storms or intruders are a concern, you can also buy special-grade glass strong enough to withstand hurricane winds and high-velocity objects without fracturing.

Door glass can also be decorative. The varieties of glass that are the most popular include:

Frosted glass. Available in a wide variety of options, frosted glass allows in a degree of light. Frosted glass is typically used in bathrooms, bedrooms, or home offices where light is desired along with a measure of privacy.

Grooved glass. Since ancient times, grooved glass is simply glass that has been ground on the surface to make a pattern or design. Grooved glass creates a period look.

Beveled glass. The edges of this glass are ground at a slant and then polished back to clear. The bevel acts as a prism when sunlight hits it, creating a rainbow display of colors.

Tinted glass. Slightly tinting glass can save on utility bills during both summer and winter because it maintains indoor temperatures at a more constant level.

How to Paint a Patio Door

The recommended procedure for painting a patio door is as follows. paint-can-brushProper preparation of the wood is key. For more about painting see How to Paint Interior Doors.

1Hang your doors unfinished for two to three days and then remove them from the hinges. This will allow the wood to adjust to the temperature and humidity levels of that location.

2Thoroughly clean the door surfaces, clearing off any dust or debris. Note any slight imperfections or blemishes. Sand with 120-grit sandpaper to smooth these problem areas. Always sand with the grain to avoid cross-grain scratching.

3After sanding, wipe the door clean again.

 

4Apply at least one primer base coat and let it dry thoroughly. Apply a second coat if the wood is porous.[GARD align=”right”]

5Apply a minimum of two coats of finish paint, making sure to allow for adequate drying time between applications.

6Rehang the door after it is thoroughly dry.

 

7Install airtight and watertight seals if the patio door opens to the outside.

Featured Resource: Find Local Pre-Screened Door Painters