Beyond the Slide - Trends in Sliding Glass Patio Doors

By Liz Snyder, April 1, 2016


Sliding glass patio doors have been around for the past fifty years – made popular by the postwar building boom of Mid-century modern and ranch-style track homes known for large sheets of fixed glass and traditional sliders opening up the patios and balconies. However, you don’t have to stick with tradition. The latest trends in patio doors include panoramic, uninterrupted panes of glass, which create less of a barrier between inside and outside living spaces. If you are thinking of installing or upgrading sliding glass patio doors, doors, here are some choices.


Traditional Sliders

Traditional sliding glass patio doors give you a contemporary, streamlined look without taking up any living space. Less expensive than French doors, they vary in size from five to ten feet. Securing these doors against intruders is a problem, but there are solutions – using tempered or laminated glass, and installing specially designed security bars or track grips.

French Doors

French doors swing on hinges. Unlike patio sliding glass doors, they do take up floor space, and functionality is limited to the center of the opening. They can be designed to “outswing” in which case they will take up space on your patio rather than inside your home. Typically, they are no wider than six feet and need special hardware to prevent slamming.

(SwingSlide by NanaWall)

French Sliders

Another option with a more classic look than a traditional slider but available in wider sizes than a regular French door – ten to sixteen feet. French sliders consist of four panels, only the center two of which move. With the two sliding panels closed, the appearance is of adjacent, hinged French doors. This is a way you can achieve the best of both worlds – a French door with the ability of a sliding glass door. This system actually goes beyond the traditional French doors and the traditional slider. It has a French door in the middle but unlike the traditional sliding door that only opening partially, this system opens up full and can slide away into hidden pockets.

Pivot Doors

A pivot door swings in or out similar to a hinged door, but the weight is distributed closer to the center on the axis from which it swings. It’s another choice if you want a wide opening and a more distinctive look. One drawback is that this type of door doesn’t accommodate a screen.

Telescoping Sliding Glass Patio Doors

A contemporary style with clean lines, also suitable for a wide opening and providing a seamless connection between indoors and outdoors. One disadvantage is that they require a wide, staggered track.

Lift Sliders

Lift sliders provide your home with the appearance of a large, uninterrupted glass wall that can be as high as sixteen feet. They work via an opening that slides or lifts up to completely disappear into a track in a neighboring wall. Lift sliders are often more costly than typical sliding glass patio doors, but can have a beautiful effect on an outdoor space.


Bi-Folding Glass Walls

These are another way to have a big opening and make your indoor habitat seem more spacious. They are designed to smoothly fold and stack against side walls, so, unlike lift sliders, they don’t require tracks or space in an adjacent wall. They can be designed with one panel as a hinged door so that the entire door does not have to be folded when going in and out. This arrangement also helps to control the quantity of fresh air and natural light you would like to have in your indoor space. This provides you with so many more options than the traditional sliding glass patio door.


Multi-track Sliding Glass Walls

To go even further, you could choose a multi-track sliding glass wall as an alternative to the traditional sliding glass door. This type of glass wall allows for the ultimate creative freedom. For example, the minimal sliding glass door, cero by NanaWall, offers full floor-to-ceiling glass panels with recessed top and bottom tracks. The cero allows for maximum transparency with smooth sliding. This multi-track glass wall can be configured with one, two, or three and more tracks. This is a great glass wall for opening entire rooms or a corner of a room. Clean lines and maximum light-filled spaces make up the beauty of the multi-track sliding glass wall system. To learn more about the cost of a multi-slide glass door system for your patio please reach out to a representative or showroom in your area.

About NanaWall Opening Glass Walls

As you can see, you have many options when it comes to glass doors for your patio. We offer a variety of single track sliding, folding and frameless systems, and we’d love to give you our best ideas on opening up your home to endless design possibilities. Please contact us for more information.