When choosing a door for your patio, you need to take several factors into account. How do you want your home to look? Will it bother you if the door needs frequent upkeep? What is the climate like in your back yard? How big is your home improvement budget? Answering these questions will help you choose the best material, since each one has its own unique strengths and weaknesses.
Classic Wooden Doors
The most expensive option available, wooden patio doors have a classic elegance that many consider to be unmatched by metal or synthetic materials. If your home's facade is comprised of natural materials, a wooden door will fit right in and enhance its appeal. Another of wood's greatest selling points is the beautiful patterns that may be carved into it, unlike other types of door.
Though wooden doors will require frequent upkeep, they are also easy to repair if they get scratched. In extreme cases, you may need to replace a panel in the door if there is extensive damage. Still, some owners find the process of repainting or staining wood to be too laborious. Wood can also become permanently warped if used in an area with frequent rain or high humidity.
Sturdy Steel Or Aluminum
The second most expensive material for your patio door is metal, specifically aluminum or steel. These metals won't warp with humidity, and they are more resistant than wood to the effects of harsh weather. If you live in an area with extreme changes in temperature, however, you'll need to thoroughly insulate patio doors made from metal.
Steel doors tend to be heavier than aluminum and more resistant to denting. On the other hand, they are more likely to rust if scratched or dented. Aluminum will not rust, only corrode, and the corrosion is not easily visible. Metal doors may need periodic repainting, but not as frequently as wooden doors will. They also need to have their dents pushed out manually whenever they are damaged.
The most expensive synthetic material, fiberglass is heavy and sturdy. It resists most inclement weather conditions and does not scratch or dent easily. Some types of fiberglass can crack in extreme cold, but temperatures need to be far below zero before this becomes a serious worry. Doors made from fiberglass are typically well insulated.
Fiberglass doors are also highly versatile in appearance. The material can be made to mimic natural wood grain, and it can also be painted to resemble a metal door. The only trouble is that scratched and cracks in fiberglass can be very difficult to repair, requiring either a fiberglass patch or a replacement door panel.
Vinyl is a tried-and-true synthetic material used in a wide range of home improvement applications, from doors to siding. It's sturdy, resists weather damage well, weighs little, and generally costs less than the alternatives. A vinyl door is fairly well-insulated, and certainly requires less additional insulation than a steel or aluminum one. Like fiberglass, it can be given a wood grain appearance or left flat.
Also like fiberglass, vinyl is at risk for cracks in very cold temperatures, making it ill-suited to frequently snowy climates. Some vinyl may also fade in color over time, reverting to a pastel version of its original shade. If you choose to have your door made from colored vinyl, it's a good idea to consider an extended warranty on it.
Ultimately, the material you choose for your patio door will depends on your specific priorities and needs. If you aren't sure which door would be best for your home's aesthetics, climate, and budget, consider talking to a door installation contractor from Fas Windows and Doors.