Patio doors come in all shapes and sizes, from elegant French doors and simple sliding-glass doors all the way to multi-paneled telescoping options. But one thing that remains the same is the fact that they're all made of glass. You may be thinking about ways to improve energy efficiency, add on safety features, or implement a bit of aesthetic improvement to your space, and this can all be done fairly easily. Here are three great reasons to replace the glass in your patio doors, even when they're not broken.
Many people don't think about all the advantages of unbreakable glass. But considering how vulnerable windows can become to breakage—depending on your environment—this could be a very good reason to replace the glass in your patio doors. It's important to note that they are not 100% shatter-proof, but it does take a lot more force to break them than standard windows.
So what are some things that can cause your patio doors to shatter?
- Rocks that are thrown or kicked up from weed eaters and lawn mowers
- Stray balls from nearby sports (baseballs, footballs, golf balls, etc.)
- Tree limbs and other debris blowing around in a storm
- Burglars and generally unruly neighborhood kids
There are two types of unbreakable windows. One consists of several panes of glass sandwiched over a film of clear plastic. While it doesn't sound very tough, it's actually incredibly resistant to tearing and stretches when pressure is applied. So if enough force comes at the window, the glass may shatter, but penetration will still be extremely difficult. A lot of homes and businesses use this type of glass in hurricane zones because even if breakage occurs, the plastic barrier prevents rain water from coming into your home.
The other type is made of polycarbonate plastic, and it looks and feels just like regular glass. Again, the amount of force needed to break a polycarbonate window is much greater than what's required to shatter a standard window, and just how much force is required will depend on how thick the material is.
Double or Triple Pane
If your patio doors are single pane, you might want to upgrade to double- or even triple-pane windows. Single panes not only are less energy efficient, but they also don't block as much noise as the others, so it's not always about saving money.
Double panes have air or gas between them, effectively trapping cold air in the winter and warm air during the summer. It's estimated that double-pane windows can save you as much as 24% off your heating costs in the coldest months. Add a low-E coating to the glass, and you've just incorporated a great way of blocking infrared light (the "heat" part of light), adding to your summer energy savings.
Triple panes are also an option, and they are by far the most energy efficient. They're also more durable than double and single panes, but the trade-off is that they're more expensive. You can get triple pane windows that only contain air, or you can choose between argon and krypton gas to improve energy efficiency.
Doors with Blinds
If your patio doors have window treatments you aren't happy with, why not consider getting doors with built-in blinds? You'll get all the advantages of privacy and light control without dealing with the negatives that often accompany external curtains and blinds.
The blinds are contained between the panes of glass and are usually opened and closed with a slide feature. They don't collect dust (very easily), they're out of the way of pets and small children so they are less likely to get damaged, there are no cords to pose a strangulation risk, they won't get blown around when you open the door, they retain that "new" look much longer since they're protected by the glass, and they're more energy efficient than single-pane glass doors.
A contractor at a company like Mr. Go-Glass can help you come up with the best option for you and your budget.