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Sliding Door/Hinged Patio Door? (etc)

Carrie B
9 years ago

This is a cross post (posted yesterday) from the Windows Forum:

My new kitchen will be a wide galley at the back of my city row home. My
current plan is to have a sliding glass door out to the garden at the
end of the galley. The door will be used very, very frequently - I spend
lots of time going in & out to the garden. I don't have AC, will
want screen doors, and, when the weather is nice (and even if it is very
hot) the doors will be open most of the time that I am home during the
day.

I am ambivalent about sliding doors because my experience with them
is that they're often sticky, heavy, and otherwise tricky for frequent
use. I don't know if that's because I've only experienced cheap and/or old ones.

I saw hinged patio doors (is that the same as French?) at the Anderson website and thought that might be a decent alternative, though, then, there's the issue of them taking up more space either in or out.

So... thoughts? Any other information that would be useful?

-Sliding glass vs. hinged patio? What should I consider here?

-Are sliders always/often a pain for one reason or the other?

-What else should I be thinking about here?

I'm going to post the four photos in my HOUZZ ideabook that show kitchens/doors in a similar layout to my own future layout

Row House Kitchen and Bath Renovation · More Info


Small Philadelphia Row house Renovation · More Info


kitchen and breakfast room · More Info


kitchen · More Info


Many thanks, Carrie, in south Philadelphia

Comments (33)

  • Carrie B
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Coincidentally, that third image: Queen Village Row Home belongs to people I know who live not far away (also, interestingly, all four images are from Philadelphia homes!) I messaged the people who have that QV Row Home & asked them how they like their slider - they love it, though I don't know that they use it nearly as often as I do - though they are a family of three.


  • raenjapan
    9 years ago

    Good (read: expensive) sliders work great. We have a high-end, 8' wide one from Anderson that we got used from Craigslist, and even though it's at least 10 years old, it slides beautifully. The nice thing about sliders if you want to keep them open, they're not in your way and they aren't going to slam shut when the wind blows. So for your application, I think a good quality slider is the way to go. Go to Lowe's or Home Depot and check out the good quality sliders. They've gotten better.

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  • zwizzle1
    9 years ago

    I agree with raenjapan - I think you'll be happier with the slider door. We have one in the center of a 3 panel unit in the back end of our kitchen and it has worked well for many years.

  • highendredneck
    9 years ago

    I have a galley kitchen with an eating area at one end, and french doors past that. They open out onto a pool and the back yard, family of 4 with 3 dogs, warm climate. We use the door more than most doors get used. We are very happy with the french doors. When we have a lot of people here for parties or if the weather is super nice and we want the air flow, or even if we need to move in something extra wide, we can open both up. Otherwise we use one side and a table tucks into the area on the other side. I love being able to just open up the whole thing.


  • AnnKH
    9 years ago

    It depends on your space. I agree with the others that a quality slider will last a long time - my Mom's house was 37 years old when he sold it, and the slider was in perfect condition. Since her kitchen table was next to the patio door, a hinged door would have been in the way all the time. We have had both, and I like the slider better - though possibly because we had a cheap hinged door.


  • Carrie B
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Thanks, all!
    Raenjapan & zwizzle1 - I'm so glad to hear that the good sliders actually work well!

    Highendredneck (nice handle!) - I do really like the idea of leaving big doors open for air circulation - especially in a rowhome without AC. I do think that given my space constraints (entire first floor is approx 25' x 12' ) that sliders may be more practical for me.

    AnnKH - Again, so good to hear that quality sliders work well & are durable. I've just had so much experience (though I've never lived with one) with bad/cheap sliders that I was afraid it might just be the nature of the beast.


  • Lily Spider
    9 years ago

    I have a very highly used door in our kitchen. 2 dogs, 2 kids. That door is always in use! I just replaced an old slider and I would recommend a slider also especially if it's gonna be open on nice days. It won't slam shut & the wind won't catch it. They have pretty sliders that "look" like French doors. I agree with the others. Get the best door you can & the widest door you can. You will be much happier with it.

  • Carrie B
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Lily - thank you so much for sharing your experience! A slider it is - and a big one at that. I'm so, so glad to hear that sliders can be easy & functional to use!


  • Illhhi
    9 years ago

    Another note on sliding patio doors....make sure to get a high end brand that puts the screen on the outside such as Anderson or Marvin. Pella puts there's on the inside. In the winter you feel like your looking at the screen all the time, and it's harder to clean the screen, because you can only vacuum it from both sides, you can't hose it off.

  • Carrie B
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Thanks, illhhi - good advice! When I was growing up, at the end of every autumn, we went through the house & switched out all our screen windows for storm windows, and then reversed the process in the spring. I guess people don't do that anymore.


  • Lily Spider
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Lol! I bought a Pella at lowes because it was the nicest one they had & the screen is on the inside!! Ugh!!! Hate it. I just push it to the left in the winter but I forgot about that. Also, my pella was wood on the inside which I didn't realize (look at both sides of the doors), so I had to paint it & my dogs scratch it up. It's always something!

  • Lily Spider
    9 years ago

    I am actually considering taking off the screen & replacing it with one of those magnetic screens (total infomercial). Everyone, including adults & dogs run into it and tear it off anyway. Drives me nuts. I even put magnets on it but that doesn't help. Anyone try those magnetic screens? Do they work?

  • Carrie B
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Good point to think about the screen. I have two indoor cats that are occasionally tempted to go outside. They once ripped through one of my bay window screens & got out. I live in the city, and feel pretty strongly about my cats staying indoors. I need good, sturdy screens.


  • basketlacey
    9 years ago

    We replaced a slider in our house about 5 years ago and the window company we used convinced me to go with a new good quality slider. He knew I'd be unhappy dealing with the space issues with French doors. Our door is used constantly it's how we get to the backyard and how we let the dog in and out. I love it and I'm so glad I listened to the salesperson. Our screen is on the outside. We also have integrated blinds which I love. Mine is in a family room though, not a kitchen. You might want yours wide open.

  • texasgal47
    9 years ago

    I would suggest going to the GW Windows Forum and asking them for slider recommendations for your area. I believe the pros on that forum recommend staying away from the big box stores when it comes to windows and doors. By the way, I have a slider that was installed in the mid-80s and operates fine. However, some of my neighbors have new French doors they are happy with, and use a quite often, so suggest you check them both out for yourself.

  • Carrie B
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Basketlacey - what brand did you go with? I probably won't want it wide open for the space it takes up, as much as I would like it wide open for the air circulation.


  • Carrie B
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Valpogal - thanks, I will ask the forum @ sliders. I'm a few months away from the project - don't know how frequently models, etc. change.


  • Mags438
    9 years ago

    What about those accordion glass doors that 'folds' up and pushes to one side so it looks like an indoor/outdoor space? So cool, but have never seen them with screens. Just throwing it out there to confuse you more ;)

  • Mags438
    9 years ago

    I'd be interested in any local sources since I need an exterior door/storm for my kitchen.

  • Carrie B
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Mags - I've seen photos of them. They're pretty cool looking! My hesitation with them is that they would (I think) block the pantry & part of the fridge, assuming they "fold up" in the direction away from where I open them.


  • happyallison
    9 years ago

    I am replacing doors and am debating this as well. We prefer to the look of the french (or garden or patio) door with the one side being stationary as in your last picture. The thing I don't like about sliders is the track collects dirt, leaves, bugs more easily. We will have a door to a screened in porch however, with a dining table somewhat in front of it. and another dining table outside on the porch Ugh, I am thinking we might have to just go the slider route just so the door swing doesn't get in the way of furniture. I don't think you would have that issue. I had Anderson sliders in my last home and they were heavy duty and worked just fine.

  • crcollins1_gw
    9 years ago

    I love my outward swinging french doors. One side is usually stationary, but both sides come open when the weather is nice. We have considered adding the retractable screens that you slide into place as needed, then slide back into a channel when not in use so are practically invisible. I love being able to have both sides wide open for breezes and easy access to the outside. I would not like them nearly as well if they were inward swinging though, and I understand that in some places, outward swings are not allowed.

  • basketlacey
    9 years ago

    Hmm - I had no idea what brand mine are! Is that crazy LOL?? I used a local company and I went with their recommendation. I just dug out my info and looks like it is a Polaris. We really like it. We upgraded to the multi-point locking mechanism so it locks at the bottom and at the handle. We also have the internal mini blinds which I love for our family room. I can open them to let the light in or close them if there is a glare (or at night).

  • timothyalbana94
    8 years ago

    I would ask you to take sliding patio door. They work great and yet are stylish and elegant. I got one from Heritage home designs here in Toronto. And again I would suggest you to take up energy efficient doors for they would trim up to 10 percent of your energy bills saving up to $220 on your utility bills.

  • lisa_a
    8 years ago

    Mine, too.

  • Carrie B
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Mine too, and I feel a sense of ownership over this post. :)

  • practigal
    8 years ago

    Interesting, I don't see a post from a Timothy, is it possible that it just was removed? Yes, Carrie B your doors came out absolutely fabulously if you wanted to finish this post you could put a picture of the inside and the outside and really show your jewel!

    Carrie B thanked practigal
  • Carrie B
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Practigal - Timothy's post was there this morning. Must have been reported/deleted.

    Thanks for suggesting I post here! LOVE posting (and love the praise & attention, even though I'm maybe too old to crave that.) :)



  • bpath
    8 years ago

    They're wondering when you're going to open the door and let them out...then in...then out...then...

    Did you get a screen door?

    The two pics above the basement door were just made for that spot, and the paint color sets them off beautifully!

    Carrie B thanked bpath
  • Carrie B
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    There's a squirrel that's been hanging out non-stop (or maybe a bevvy of squirrels) in the back. The cats really want at it. They're urban cats, and I'm set on not letting them out. I do have a screen, stored in the basement for now. I may give in and bring it up for the mild week we're expecting, or I may just leave it down there until spring.

    Glad you like the pictures over the door. I still have a half a dozen pieces of art with no home...

  • lisa_a
    8 years ago

    I spot your sister's trio of art next to your back door! They look fantastic there! (Did I suggest that? Or did I just think that was the right spot for them?)

    I still see Timothy's post. Maybe they vetted him and he proved he wasn't a spammer. That would be nice. We've had a rash of new posters who've come in and done nothing more than pitch a link on multiple threads. I reported on spammer who did that about a week back and the posts are now gone.

  • Carrie B
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Thanks, lisa_a! You may have suggested it. I don't remember, but it's entirely possible. If you did - thank you!

    Funny - Timothy's post was gone, and now it's back.

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