The Peril of the Sliding Glass Door

Ever run right into a sliding glass door? Ever stub a toe on the raised track that a sliding glass door needs to operate? Ever broken a nail or jammed a thumb trying to open up a sliding glass door that was stuck?  A glass door is a fantastic way to make a home more accessible to natural light, but a sliding glass door creates new problems even as it solves others.

Installing a sliding glass door often requires thicker walls. Whether the door slides over another pane of glass or slides back into a recess in the wall, the walls themselves have to be thicker to support the sliding glass door.

The metal tracks on the floor and the ceiling of the glass door are also prone to warping. It also doesn’t take much to jamb the door. A loose screw can cause the sliding glass door to jump out of the track or get stuck. Warping of the metal where the glass door meets the wall can also prevent it from sealing or closing correctly.

The glass in the glass door also needs to be a high quality to reduce glare and the leaching of interior heating and cooling. Many old style sliding glass doors are a heat sink in the summer and extremely cold in the winter. The temperature near the sliding glass door is usually three to five degrees different from the rest of the house.

When a sliding glass door jumps out of its tracks, it can be a two-person job to get it back into place. The framework for the tracks running along the floor is typically four to six inches wide. Homeowners and visitors need to step over it in order to walk into and out of the home. Stepping on it in bare feet is uncomfortable and it’s not uncommon to stub a toe on the track of a sliding glass door.

The popularity of the sliding glass door is related directly to the amount of light it provides. However, the aesthetics of the sliding glass door environment can detract from the beauty of the light. Homeowners should investigate their options before choosing a sliding glass door or any glass door system.  This process will help insure that you maximize not only the light, but also the functionality of the door.