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How to Choose Sliding Doors

A Sliding door is a type of door which opens horizontally by sliding, usually parallel to a wall. They have a track on top and on the bottom for the door panels to slide from one side to another. One of the most commonly used doors is the sliding door when compared to the different doors. Learn the different sliding doors and get to know how to choose them as per your requirement.

Sliding doors save space as it needs just the width of a door panel next to a wall, whereas a swing door requires nine sqft. to operate. They are easy when people carry items of baggage, unlike the traditional doors. We use mostly them in high-traffic areas, commercial spaces, lobby areas where they need multiple doors.This article emphasizes on how to choose sliding doors.

how to choose sliding doors
Image source: milgard.com

We can mount sliding doors either on

  • Top of a track below or
  • Suspend from a track above.

They include single or multiple panels. The doors can

  • Bypass each other
  • Bifold and pivot
  • Stack up at one end OR
  • Slide in front of a wall

Advantages of Sliding Doors

  • Saves space and offers clear movement.
  • Allows almost uninterrupted panoramic views.
  • Provide Privacy and intimacy.
  • Creates an illusion of open plan when glass doors are used.
  • Used both functionally and aesthetically.
  • Huge and customized design doors make a artistic statement.

Disadvantages of Sliding Doors

  • Tracks accumulate dust
  • Difficult to clean the tracks/rails
  • Minimal acoustic privacy as we cannot seal as tightly them as traditional doors.

How to Choose from Unique Aspects of Sliding doors

Here is a list of aspects to be considered and gives an idea on how to choose sliding doors from many types.

At planning stage

  • Size of opening and door
  • Availability of space when its open for the door to slide
  • Style/Aesthetics
  • Cost-effective
  • Environmental considerations

At selection of doors stage

  • Fabrication methods
  • Types of sliding doors
  • Panel Materials and finishes
  • Components and Accessories
  • Long-term durability and quality

Style and Aesthetics

Today, house designers come up with different styles such as contemporary, modern, rustic, traditional, farmhouse, coastal, industrial, etc. to meet the needs of their clients.

The contemporary style keeps a modern edge on the interior design. It usually uses smooth and sleek materials that will reflect light as much as possible. We often use this style in small spaces, as it makes the room look bigger and more spacious.

We often use the rustic style in homes that have a lot of wood or stone. It has a “homey” feel to it because of its natural material elements. We can use this style in both large and small spaces, but make sure it doesn’t feel too cluttered by using lighter colors and natural elements if you are using this interior design in an open space.

Two Main Methods of Fabrication

A. Aluminum Sliding Doors

  • Aluminum is lightweight, less thickness, and is of low maintenance.
  • Modern and contemporary feel.
  • It is non-rusting and non-rotting material.
  • Aluminum sliding doors are available in performance grade designations as per AAMA (American Architectural Manufacturers Association. It is necessary to meet these air and water performance values from these standards.

B. Wooden Sliding Doors

  • Wood is a decorative and non-rusting material.
  • It easily works out into many shapes, sizes, and forms. However, if the moisture content of the wood is affected, then shrinking and swelling occurs.
  • Care is to be taken to protect the wood by proper finish.
  • Wooden sliding doors are available in three performance grade designations stated in NWWDA (National Wood Window and Door Association).
Aluminum sliding doors; Image source – milgard.com

Wooden sliding doors; Image source – za.pinterest.com.

Different types of sliding doors

Pocket Doors

Pocket sliding doors can be single or bi-parting. They have no hinges and the panel disappears into the hollow cavity of the wall. We consider these when we have a less amount of space. We use them for small pantry doors, powder rooms, kitchen doors, closets where limited space is available.

They can vary from traditional style to modern and contemporary appeal. We can install even it if the interior work is completed. However, the installation requires a professional touch and the installation of the pocket sliding door can be a little tiresome as you have to create a space for the door to go inside the wall that increases wall thickness.

sliding door
Image source – hafele.com

Patio Doors

As the name suggests, large patio doors are commonly seen in living rooms which leads to the Patio. Also used for separation of rooms such as living and dining in residential spaces and dividing office areas and conference rooms.

A pair of doors meet in the center when closed and hinge at opposite sides when they are open. Most of them are with glass panels and a good view of the outside from the living area.

how to choose sliding doors
Image source – uswindow-door.com

By-passing Doors

Bypassing doors is ideal for closet applications. In this type of door, one door slides above the other giving access to one part of the opening.

How to choose sliding door
Image source: discover.hubpages.com

Some other designs can be found at sliding doors.

Types of Panel Materials

Panels are the most significant components of sliding doors that help in enhancing the aesthetics of sliding doors and interior space. Each panel can be moveable or a few panels are moveable while others are fixed. Either panel can lock or interlock with each other.

  • Glass Panels
    • Choose the glass panels when aesthetic ,light transmission, clear views are important.
    • Energy efficient
    • Types – translucent, textured, opaque, transparent
  • Glass combined with other materials such as wood, Aluminum, etc.
  • Metal door Panels
    • Industrial and urban look
    • Finishes vary from smooth, textured to corrugated
  • Wood Door Panels
    • Can complement with distinct interior styles-traditional, modern, contemporary, rustic, etc.
    • Types – Solid, Hollow core, veneered, Reclaimed, etc.
  • Barn Door Panels
  • Other materials such as resins, chalkboards, etc.

Components and Accessories

  • Track – Tracks can be dual-track or three tracks. They can be ceiling-mounted or wall mounted; exposed or concealed. It acts as a pathway for the doors to slide back and forth. They have to be smooth while operating the doors without any hindrances.
  • Hanger – Hanger is the component that connects door and track. It helps in smooth functioning of door to slide easily. Select for safer, easy connecting and installation hangers.
  • End-caps and Fascia’s – The profile of the end cap of track. They hide the door hardware and helps in improving the visual appearance of the sliding door.
  • Other components – Channel’s, Guides, stoppers, Door Locks and Pulls/handles etc., have to be checked for performance ,stability, and quality for long-term durability.

1 Comment »

  1. I recently had a patio area built facing my backyard garden, and since I want to get it connected to the living room inside my house, I was thinking of installing sliding doors for its entry. It’s great that you brought up how apart from space-saving and clear movement, sliding doors are great if we want uninterrupted panoramic views since they create an illusion of an open plan. I’ll take note of this while I look for a door company to hire for the installation of the sliding doors at home soon.

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