What Type of Material is the Best for my Patio Door?

the Best Material for my Patio Door

Before deciding what material is best for your patio door, you should take a minute and consider the needs or requirements of your home. Not all materials are best-suited for every situation. The main factors you should take into account are your architectural design, functionality, and, of course, budget.

You can do this by asking yourself the following questions: Does this color fit with the rest of your home? Is this style contemporary or classic? Would you need a specific mechanism for your door? How big is your family? How much can I spend on this?

Having those questions in mind, we will look at some of the most popular materials on the market, but first, let’s consider some designs.

I. Types of Patio Doors

All of the following types are very different from each other and may be preferred in specific situations. It may be a matter of functionality and space or just taste, here are some of the most popular styles:

1. Sliding Patio Doors

Offering excellent views of your garden or backyard, those patio doors are equipped with two large glass panes. This sliding type door is preferred because it requires minimal space and doesn’t need room to open inwards or outwards. They are a perfect choice for smaller patio areas and in rooms with a lot of furniture. They do not offer the best security, but the main reason homeowners usually choose them is convenience.

2. French Patio Doors

A stylish addition to any property, French patio doors can open outwards into the garden, giving them a unique feel while connecting interior and exterior spaces.

French doors are usually paired with casement windows on either side to allow even more natural light in the room. This option provides excellent insulation.

3. Bi-fold Patio Doors

This long folding door installation allows you to basically peel off a side of your wall to open up your garden more than any other type.

These doors are made of separate glass panels with hinges between them (and the door frame). This means that they can fold off completely, living a huge space open. Bi-fold patio doors are preferred by homeowners who want to have the widest view of their garden with a completely unobstructed view.

II. Materials Used in Patio Doors

Many materials are provided by many different suppliers. The most important aspect you should keep in mind is that not every material can be used for every home. Do you live in a humid area? Can you expect extreme changes in temperature? Is your home by the sea? Considering those types of questions will prompt you to reduce the number of material options you have.

While keeping this in mind, let us look at some of the most popular choices of patio door materials.

1. Glass

A sought-after material, glass is one of the most stylish design elements you could bring into your home. Glass patio doors will brighten your room by letting in increased amounts of natural lights. This is sure to make your living space seem bigger and friendlier. Not only are they beneficial to your home, but also to you, personally. There are studies that link limited sunlight exposure to depression and other mental conditions. You do not need to worry about such things if your home is well-lighten as this will provide you with feelings of comfort and coziness.

Another benefit to glass patio doors is that they will allow you to take in the view of your backyard (since that’s where they are usually installed). Keep an eye on your kids or pets playing outside, while you enjoy a cup of coffee through the unobstructed views of the outdoors.

Depending on the type of glass, you can save surprising amounts of energy. Triple-paned options with insulation gas in-between are the best choices in this regard, but you will have to pay more for it.

Glass Patio Door

On the downside, not all types of glass provide enough security to satisfy customer’s concerns. So if that’s a concern for you too, you may have to pay more for stronger glass. Also, if you choose clear, transparent glass, keep in mind that stains are very easy to spot so you may need to clean it often to keep it in top shape.

2. Vinyl

Vinyl patio doors are a low-maintenance and affordable option that has become rather popular in recent years due to advancements in manufacturing technologies.

They provide good insulation against air, winds, and water. Most options do come with a certain level of noise-suppression capabilities included, but you will generally have to inquire about this quality to your supplier. These doors are energy-efficient and will keep your home comfortable throughout the seasons while helping you save a bit on your energy bills.

Vinyl is a lightweight material that doesn’t rot, so it is generally rather durable. In most cases, it does not warp or crack unless exposed to extreme temperature changes, so it’s a good choice for homes in more temperate climates.

Vinyl Patio Door

3. Wood

A classic option, wood is appreciated for its natural beauty and high versatility, coming in a variety of styles. You can choose between hinged, sliding, bifold, and multi-slide designs.

In general, furniture products made of wood have the most customization options out of any material. Wooden patio doors are also naturally energy-efficient due to the properties of the material but require more maintenance than most options to ensure optimum performance.

This is especially the case if you live in a rainy area, as wood can rot and so, will need to be refinished every few years. Special finishes are available, with weather-resistant capabilities to minimize this effect.

Wood Patio Door

Wooden patio doors will ensure your room gets a timeless look filled with the natural beauty wood grains are known for. You should, however, keep in mind that wood is generally on the more expensive side of products and that special maintenance is required to keep it looking as the day you bought the wooden patio doors.

4. Aluminum

Aluminum patio doors are an elegant and durable option for your home. They are usually installed in contemporary or modern homes due to the sleekness of the material, but those doors can also fit in other styles if the appropriate finish is applied.

Fitting to their modern style label, those doors usually come with modern hardware operating systems that are easy to handle and are appreciated for their smoothness and convenience.

The aesthetically eye-pleasing slim lines of those doors are appreciated by many homeowners, increasing the value of the home they are installed in. With aluminum in general, you do not have to worry about corrosion, marring, chalking, or fading as it is an extremely durable material. Tough surface coating is usually applied to add to the strength of the doors, providing impact-resistant qualities.

Aluminum Patio Door

Aluminum is a natural conductor, so if you want to improve its energy-efficiency, thermal breaks will need to be installed. This option is preferred since aluminum patio doors are usually paired with double or triple-paned glass windows for maximum thermal efficiency. Keep in mind that this option is on the expensive side.

5. Steel

As with aluminum, steel patio doors are very sturdy and easy to maintain. An important aspect to keep in mind is that if paint peels off or if scratched or damaged in a way that the surface is revealed, they are susceptible to rust. If this does not happen, you can expect them to last for many years with little maintenance. They are usually more affordable than wood doors but offer better insulation.

Steel patio doors are also thin, a quality highly-appreciated by homeowners for the clean and sleek aspect it provides. They can be considered part of the minimalist design style, but various finishes and paints are available for customization purposes. Paints or finishes are also very durable and generally only need replacement if some kind of damage is done to the doors.

Because of the slim sightlines and natural strength of this material, it is possible to manufacture large-sized patio doors (over 3 meters high), so homeowners with such wall sizes may be limited to this material for this reason. Other materials may not support such sizes since distortions can appear.

Steel Patio Door

If security is a primary concern for sure, know that steel is the strongest material for this purpose. Depending on the glass and installation, steel patio doors can also offer limited-time protection against fire. Not more than 30 minutes in the best-case scenario, but it may just be enough to escape from an emergency situation. On the downside, steel, like aluminum, is rather expensive.

6. Fiberglass

Fiberglass is a highly durable material. It is also non-porous, waterproof, and extremely strong. It is made by mixing heavy-duty plastic and fiberglass resins which provide those properties while still allowing light to pass through it. These doors require little maintenance and tend to be resistant to scratch or minor damage.

In terms of security, fiberglass is a very good choice, proving higher levels of security than wood. Due to its resin composition, the material is also tamper-resistant.

Regarding customizations, since fiberglass is created using a mold, it is possible to create a product that looks similar to wood but without the added price.

On the downside, fiberglass patio doors are rather expensive. While you can find them at a price a bit lower than wood, they do not have the same resale value as wood doors do. Therefore, if you decide to buy this type of patio doors, you should aim to keep them for as long as possible, in order for the investment to be worth it.

Fiberglass Patio Door

These doors are also hard to adjust, so while you may be able to some minor cutting to make wooden doors fit into their frames, this is not possible for fiberglass patio doors. The adjustments will be made to the frame if the door is too large.

7. uPVC

uPVC is a durable and rather affordable material that is very popular with low or medium-budget homeowners.

uPVC patio doors are resistant to the elements, being equipped with all sorts of mechanisms that prevent rain and ice from getting into your home. Interlocking panels, u-shaped channel framing, and weather-resistant seals are some of them.

They are also good insulators. The double-glazed feature is a standard when it comes to uPVC doors. Both the glass and the frames provide high thermal efficiency so that only leaves how tight the doors are closed and whether or not it allows any air in around the edges.

Those doors provide relatively good security, but this aspect is usually controlled with additional features such as multi-point locking systems and steel reinforcements. Due to interlocking panels, significant soundproofing capabilities can be achieved, but this depends on the manufacturers and the features they provide.

uPVC Patio Door

All in all, uPVC is a balanced, budget-friendly option that performs well. Do not expect, however, the durability and strength of aluminum or steel or the natural beauty of the wood.

III. Costs of Patio Doors

Let us provide you with a table regarding the usual prices you can patio doors made out of different materials. Keep in mind that those prices should only be taken as references and the price you will actually pay for your door can be wildly different. It depends on many factors, such as style, finish, size, and type. You should also consider the installation costs which we have not included here. So, the average cots of a sliding patio door:

MaterialEstimated Cost of a Simple Model


Many different materials are available on the market. Some have similar properties to each other, others are completely different. Few are versatile enough to be used in almost all scenarios you might find yourself in, so a selection by relevant criteria is definitely needed.

While you browse through those materials, keep in mind your budget and how flexible it is compared to the features or qualities a specific material will bring you.

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