Brighten Your Home with Sliding Glass Doors

Is your living room or kitchen a bit gloomy? Or do you have a beautiful backyard landscape that remains hidden from inside the house? These problems are probably due to the lack of windows in your home. Additional light in any room can make it look bigger, more open, and bright. Plus, you are then able to have a better view of your backyard, garden, or patio. Though creating a window space in a wall is certainly possible, another more affordable option is to replace you entryways and exits with sliding glass doors. These doors not only provide windows, they also make for easy entrances onto decks, porches, or patios.

Different Designs
Sliding glass doors have come a long way in the past few years. They no longer use clunky plastic panes and trim. Today, these units come in many different design options. Maybe you want multiple doors joined together; or maybe you want them small and subtle. Would you like them to come in aluminum, vinyl, woods, metal, or fiberglass? Do you want them top-hung from your entryway in order to avoid any dirt, leaves, or debris in the glide track? As you can see, the options are limitless in terms of style and design, so the difficult part about investing in sliding glass doors is actually choosing the best fit due to their wide selection.

Protection
Just because these doors are made of glass doesn’t mean they are fragile. In fact, they offer quite a bit of protection to you and your home. If you live in an area with a lot of insects you may want to select a door with screens that open and shut so you can let in fresh air yet still create a barrier from unwanted pests. You can also install double pane doors in order to soundproof your home from outdoor disturbances.

If you choose to layer your doors (installing two doors with a small gap of air between them) for additional security, you can also create a natural form of insulation, thereby driving down your utility bills. Though people often think that these doors leak heat in the winter and increase the temperature during summer months, if you buy appropriate weather stripping and insulated glass, you can in fact generate more efficiency in your energy costs, especially if you invest in glazed glass with a low-E coating.

Accessory Options
There used to be limitations to these doors, but now with modern-day innovations, they can serve the same functions as any other doorway. You can still install pet-doors with specialized systems. And if you’re afraid that they are too convenient in that there is too much easy access, there are now even security options for parents who want to apply setting restrictions for kids. These systems only allow the door to slide open to a certain degree, making them exceptionally childproof.

Plus, if you don’t want your home exposed to nosy neighbors all the time but don’t want to cover up with curtains and shades either, there several alternatives: etched glass, stained glass, and even adhesive-free vinyl film designs that stick right to the door are ways to let the light in but keep wandering eyes out.

If you have the opposite problem in that you wish more light could enter the room, then folding doors are maybe your best option: doors which can open up the entire wall to a sunroom, an enclosed porch, or a patio, yet can also close at your convenience. And as always, there a many traditional window treatments to choose from: horizontal and vertical blinds, sashes and curtains, or maybe decorative screens that can cover the window whenever desired.

Savin’ Space with Pocket Doors

Pocket doors are doors that slide into a wall instead of opening on a hinge like most conventional doors. They have been used for over a century in order to save space, both in cramped areas and in the central areas of Victorian style homes in order to close off large areas such as sitting rooms and dens. If you’re looking for a space saving solution in closets, bathrooms or in larger homes with interior French doors, these innovative door solutions are the answer you’ve been looking for.

Where Did it Go?

The benefit of this type of door is obvious. Traditional swinging doors hung on a hinge can take up as much as 10 square feet of your living space just to accommodate the space they need to swing open and closed. A pocket door, on the other hand, simply slides into a frame installed within the wall, freeing up the space that a conventional door occupies. They are particularly suited to cramped, small areas, such as half-baths and small closets, where a swinging door takes up valuable space and often is an inconvenience to those using them. And in more wide open homes where French doors are often installed between living areas, they free up valuable space for furniture and foot traffic.

Quiet as a Mouse

One of the major complaints of this style of door in the past has been that older versions ran on steel runners and rollers and were noticeably noisy in comparison to their hinged counterparts. Not the case anymore. The runners are still made of solid steel, but the most common rollers are now made of a hard nylon material, reducing the noise they make when the door is opened or shut. Deluxe ball bearing rollers are also available that reduce the noise to almost nothing.

The innovations in runner technology have also alleviated one of the other drawbacks of these types of doors that arose mid-century, when poor products often resulted in doors that jumped the tracks inside the wall. Modern doors rarely have this problem because of the high quality products currently available on the market.

Not for Everywhere

The one drawback of these doors is that they can’t be used just anywhere. Because they necessitate a special frame to house them, several factors must be taken into account before they are installed.

Obviously they will only work where there is enough interior wall space to house the door, but you also need to take into account things such as electrical wiring, plumbing, and ductwork, as the space needed for the door and frame won’t be able to accommodate these features of your home.

Finally, while the frame is plenty strong to be installed in most interior walls, it is not as strong as regular framing. That being the case, you can’t install a pocket door in areas where extra strength is needed, such as load bearing walls or walls where heavier home features such as cabinets are already installed.

A Few Extra Thoughts

While these innovative doors are convenient as a space saving alternative, they also have other benefits. They are handicapped accessible and make it easier for those in wheelchairs to maneuver around a home, and some of the more novel designs include multiple panel glass doors for luxury homes that allow the homeowner to open up an entire wall to the outdoors when the weather permits. Regardless of your need, a cramped bathroom or a sprawling great room, pocket doors are a convenient, attractive and space saving alternative door option.

Door Frame Repair

A malfunctioning door, especially if it is a main entry door, can be quite a hassle. Problems involving sticking or difficulty getting the door to latch properly can make coming in and leaving the house a chore in itself, never mind if you’re trying to carry groceries or a small child! Sometimes, the door frame is the culprit in this situation. Instead of sanding down part of the door itself, you may simply need to realign or otherwise alter the frame.

Quick Door Frame Repair
While door frame repair is not always a simple task, in some cases, the fix is a relatively easy one. Binding, for example, is often caused by the door frame settling or an out-of-plumb hinge jamb. To fix a binding door, install a shim under the top hinge, if the bind is near the bottom, or under the bottom hinge, if the bind is near the top. If the door hinge jamb is not plumb, shim under whichever hinge will cause the door edge to hang truly vertical. Built-up paint can cause this problem, and simply needs to be cleaned out.

To install a shim, support the door, remove the hinge jamb screw, and cut thin cardboard to fit into the mortise, under the hinge flap. Replace the screw, driving them through the cardboard into the jamb.

Door Frame Repair or Replacement
If your door frame is old, putting in a shim might not be an effective tactic. Old wood door frames can warp over time and cause the door to bind or swing open when you don’t want it to by hindering latch function. In this scenario, it might be a good idea to simply purchase and install a new door frame instead of repairing the old one. To compare, see the average door installation cost. If this is happening on a newly installed door frame, you may be able to send it back to the manufacturer to have it repaired or replaced.

Aesthetic Door Frame Repair
Sometimes door frame repair is meant to enhance form rather than function. Removing old door frame trim (sometimes referred to as “molding” or “casing”) and replacing it with a different style can make a dramatic difference in the look of the door, and the room or wall the door occupies. Removing and replacing trim is a relatively easy operation, but requires some patience if you want to keep the surrounding paint intact. If a single section of trim is damaged and you want to replace it, it is likely that you’ll be able to find a matching piece of trim at a home improvement store. Even if the trim you’re replacing is very old, many classic styles are still available. You’ll probably be able to find a matching replacement easier than you think!

Door Frames and Foundation Issues
If you have only one door that is misaligned, chances are that door or door frame repair is going to solve the problem. If you notice, however, that many of your doors and windows seem to be misaligned, you could have bigger problems. One of the classic symptoms of an unstable foundation is the sticking and binding of doors and windows around the home. Though this problem can be attributed to several things, noticing a series of misaligned doors and windows definitely warrants a professional inspection.

Make a Stylish Entrance

Make a Stylish EntranceAn attractive, welcoming entrance does more to greet friends and family than any other element of your home’s exterior. But, don’t forget that your entrance is much more than just your front door. Your walkways, your landscaping, your lighting and your front porch are all part of that first entry impression.

Most front entrances do little more for your home than serving a purpose, letting occupants and visitors in and out. Ironically, this is also an area where you can make a huge impact without breaking the bank.

Take a look at the front of your home. Does your front door have any accents? Trim work? Is the paint cracking and peeling? What is the state of your landscape? Does your current lighting scheme work?

Here are some easy ways to make a big difference in your front entry:

Doors

  • Replace the old door with a newer model of the same size. This will spare you the cost of resizing the opening, and still give you a lot of bang for your buck. Many models are built to fit into existing woodwork, which will also spare you the cost of having to replace the entire unit.
  • Add an attractive storm door to protect the entry door and keep heat inside in the winter, and bugs out in the summer. Choose a door with a movable sash to allow for more flexibility.
  • Trim the exterior of the door with finish carpentry such as columns and a crosshead pediment to extend the width of the door. Ask your carpenter about high-density urethane foam millwork, a great option to high maintenance wood.

Lighting

  • Outdoor lighting can go a long way to create a warm welcoming effect for your guests. Lighting installed above or at both sides of the front door are good options.
  • Routinely check that all front lights are working and be sure to turn them on in the evening. You don’t want guests tripping because they can?t see well.
  • Adding ground-level lighting along your walkway. Solar-powered lights are an easy-to-install, inexpensive way to go.

Walkways

  • Keep walkways swept free of debris and the clutter of children’s toys. Not only does this look nicer, it prevents accidents from happening.
  • Make that dingy walkway look brand new again by getting it power-washed.

Porch

  • Add inviting, comfortable chairs to your front porch. This creates a welcome setting, not to mention an additional room, in the summer months.
  • Consider adding a hummingbird feeder or plants that attract butterflies around your porch. The sights and sounds of nature can add a very peaceful feeling.

Landscape

  • Maintain your landscaping by keeping shrubs trimmed and weeding the area. An overgrown landscape gives the impression of an unkempt home, as well.
  • Cut some fresh flowers from your garden to display just inside your entryway. This brings a little of the outdoors in and creates continuity from your front entrance walkway into the home.