The main problems with sliding glass doors are easily treatable, but there are some which are unavoidable and may require them to be replaced.
Regardless of the material used for the frame, and of whether they’re folding sliding doors or just plain sliding, they can be a great feature for letting light in. The double glazing often used in them will normally have a low emissivity coating applied to them to improve energy efficiency. You can also upgrade to have glass with a reduced solar gain to prevent overheating, low iron content to make them more transparent, and an ability to self-clean. You can even have high tech glass which can become opaque by pushing a button, but this is expensive and you may prefer to buy some blinds!
Many will also need toughened safety glass because of how large a surface area there often is. Whatever you go for, you’ll encounter some potentially costly issues.
Problem #1: One of the biggest problems with sliding glass doors is reduced energy efficiency
Even fitting smaller sliding doors will be like puncturing a tyre and letting all the air escape. Insulated walls and standard doors are far more energy efficient than large panels of glass. Even with modern double glazing standards, they’ll never have as high a U value as their alternatives. You may get a pleasant view and be letting lots of light in by fitting sliding doors, but you’ll find your energy bills will be higher than if you didn’t have them.
Problem #2: Over time, the mechanism of sliding doors will jam
This is one of the more irritating problems with sliding glass doors, but it’s easily treatable in the short term. Over time, however, they may jam so many times that the mechanism needs replacing, especially on simple roller-and-track doors. They may also become too stiff for the door handle to deal with the amount of pressure that’s applied to it. The most common cause of this is dirt getting into the lower track. To limit the amount of times this happens, regularly vacuum and wipe-clean it.
If it’s still jamming after this, the issue will probably be that the rollers at the bottom of the door have started to rub against the track. This can wear them down, making the door scrape against the track. This makes their lifespan and energy efficiency not as reliable as a traditional door or wall. It’s also a security risk. Somebody could easily break in if your problems with sliding glass doors haven’t been seen to.
Problem #3: If you’re planning on having sliding doors the length of a wall, you’ll need a large budget
Folding sliding doors are generally between £1200 and £1600 per meter, including installation costs. Obviously this price will depend on the specification and materials you want, but this could become a very expensive venture if you want something bigger than the size of a standard door. If the lifespan of sliding doors was more reliable the price could be justified, but they’re more of an aesthetic choice than a practical choice.
For more information, check out this Real Homes guide so that your problems with sliding glass doors are kept to a minimum.
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