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Thread: French Doors vs Sliding Glass

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    Default French Doors vs Sliding Glass

    My wife and I are going to begin building shortly and have been discussing doors leading to the porch. I just assumed that sliding glass would be the way to go (to maximize the view). My wife brought up the point that the doors would probably be frozen shut half the year so why not go with french doors. I think its a great idea except for the screen. I love the idea of a screen door to create a draft and I am not sure how that will work with french doors. I have found a few products online with "retractable" screen doors for french doors but they look a little gimmicky. Any thoughts on this? Stick with sliding glass or keep digging on the french doors?

    Thanks!

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    The operable panel of a slider is on the interior so freezing shouldn't be an issue. Narrower stiles and rails mean more glass. A slider will most likely be vinyl.

    Swinging doors will seal a little better against air exchange but will cost more, and don't forget the lock and deadbolt are additional. Wider stiles and rails mean less glass area. A swinging door will probably be fiberglass or metal.

    Slider doors aren't good as entry doors. Lock them from the inside and drop a piece of closet rod or 2x2 in the track to secure it. If you expect to enter this door with a key? Go with swingers. A single swinger with a fixed panel is more secure than a true double door. Better at keeping drafts out as well.

    Retractable screens are like every product. You get what you pay for. Most single operating "garden" type doors include a sliding screen door that slides behind the fixed door when you open it. At least the doors that center hinge do. You'll find the operable door can be hinged on the side jamb or on the common mullion between the swinger and the fixed doors. Think about light switches and furniture/traffic flow to decide which is best for you. When hinged in the center the opening door swings around against the fixed door. A side hung door will swing against a wall, assuming there's room.

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    I have a double door that swings out into the porch on the back of the house.
    No issues with drafts, cold, opening/closing, etc.... in the winter. Install a heavy drape on the curtain rod in the winter and it blocks the cold seeping through the big glass pretty well.
    As for the retractable screens, I would not go that route. Had one, the bottom tracks fills with debris, dust, leaves and so on. Pain in the butt, so I removed it within a year after hanging it.
    BK

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    BK, I worked maintenance on base for over 5 years and saw a design/build from Watterson construction. They had french rear doors that swung out onto the rear deck. The problem was they didn't have much of an eve overhang from their roof to the deck and snow dropped right into the way of the doors swing. My suggestion for anyone wanting an exterior swinging door is to have it swing in, not out. Just thought I would put that out there. I have seen people do some strange stuff when not experienced.
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    Allow me to clarify as well. Our doors swing out, (special order BTW), because we leave them open in the summer and wanted more room in the house at that area. However, our back porch is actually a green house attched, so it never sees the weather.
    BK

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    Quote Originally Posted by thewhop2000 View Post
    BK, I worked maintenance on base for over 5 years and saw a design/build from Watterson construction. They had french rear doors that swung out onto the rear deck. The problem was they didn't have much of an eve overhang from their roof to the deck and snow dropped right into the way of the doors swing. My suggestion for anyone wanting an exterior swinging door is to have it swing in, not out. Just thought I would put that out there. I have seen people do some strange stuff when not experienced.
    Outward-swinging doors are required for most commercial and public buildings, it's a safety issue, not one of convenience. I'd personally go with the French doors, they're more beautiful and inviting, just a little trickier to install than the "slam and bam" vinyl slider. If you do go with the swingers, try to find one with vinyl or aluminum cladding on the outside, and an installation flange; a little pricier, but easier to install and far more weathertight.
    " the stars, the snow, and the fire. These are the books he reads most of all." ~John Haines

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    Residential doors swing inward by default. The out-swing rule ONLY applies to fire escape routes on commercial/public buildings that fall under the fire code.

    For what it's worth... I have a sliding door on my rear deck and can't wait to get rid of that piece of junk and put in French doors. Sliding tracks do NOT like winter. They constantly get snow and ice build up in the winter and dirt build up in the summer. Cleaning out the tracks is a PIA (I have to chisel out the ice at least once a week when the temp drops below about 15F). The rollers also get considerable wear & tear and require lots of adjusting to keep the door aligned with the jamb. Not to mention how they have a poor sealing surface and don't have a means of securely locking them (the little flip lock only works from the inside and it's really flimsy).
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    For cabins I prefer outswinging doors. Bears can't push them in. I have big bear paw prints on my doors all the time. They know how doors work. Thieves will have a harder time entering as well. This is a cabin thread, isn't it?

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    Some consider cabins to be a residence. Either way, they don't fall under the commercial fire code and you can mount the door any flippin' way you want to. That's the point. You can have an inny, outy, slidy, or a vertical roll up if you so desire.
    Winter is Coming...

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    Thanks for the door code lesson. I'll get back to my day job now. :-)

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    Outswings work some places better than others.

    " the stars, the snow, and the fire. These are the books he reads most of all." ~John Haines

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    Removing the wheel barrel before it snows might help.

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    Interior french doors add a beautiful style and elegance to any room in your home. Sliding doors generally use a single piece, or several larger pieces, of glass. sliding glass doors were commonly used in many homes.


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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    Some consider cabins to be a residence. Either way, they don't fall under the commercial fire code and you can mount the door any flippin' way you want to. That's the point. You can have an inny, outy, slidy, or a vertical roll up if you so desire.
    The Fire Codes are dependant upon location, not use. If you are in an area where the Uniform Building Code covers the construction, the Fire Codes will apply whether it's a cabin, a hotel, an office building, or an auditorium. The UBC will determine will determine both use and type, and the NFA Fire Code will apply in the same fashion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fergchri View Post
    My wife and I are going to begin building shortly and have been discussing doors leading to the porch. I just assumed that sliding glass would be the way to go (to maximize the view). My wife brought up the point that the doors would probably be frozen shut half the year so why not go with french doors. I think its a great idea except for the screen. I love the idea of a screen door to create a draft and I am not sure how that will work with french doors. I have found a few products online with "retractable" screen doors for french doors but they look a little gimmicky. Any thoughts on this? Stick with sliding glass or keep digging on the french doors?

    Thanks!
    In any event, try to use wood framed doors, not the aluminum framed glass doors. ANDERSON is a good manufacturer of wood woors and windows, but a little on the expensive side. They do work !!! Wood is a good insulator, while aluminum very effectively transmits (by conduction) heat from the room outward. Don't be surprised to find frost inside the frame on a metal framed door (or window).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly 2 View Post
    The Fire Codes are dependant upon location, not use. If you are in an area where the Uniform Building Code covers the construction, the Fire Codes will apply whether it's a cabin, a hotel, an office building, or an auditorium. The UBC will determine will determine both use and type, and the NFA Fire Code will apply in the same fashion.
    Never said location doesn't count, but the use of the structure most certainly does matter. There are different codes for different applications. A single family dwelling has a different set of applicable codes than a hotel or an office building or your auditorium.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Ahem. Current codes differ by locale because the local jurisdiction must adopt the code version they prefer. And as JOAT says, there is a huge difference between commercial and residential code requirements. IBC is the dominant code these days and I believe Anchorage has now adopted the 2009 version. I wouldn't expect other municipalities to be the same. Ask. NFPA codes evolve and the two bodies continue to reference each other's codes. If you want to do a code study you need to refer to both books. Welcome to my world.

    Aluminum is still a valuable window and door frame material but vinyl has replaced the vast majority of aluminum products in residential construction. Andersen hasn't made a true wood window for as long as I remember. Their wood windows have been vinyl clad on the exterior for decades. They also produce composite windows these days. If you want to get a shock and you remember wood sliders being cheap 20 years ago? Go price them now. Vinyl and fiberglass dominate the market.

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    Default I got both

    I have both a slider and French doors.

    The slider, plastic framed, rarely used (goes to 2nd fl deck), in winter is frozen shut due to condensation. With 4 ft wide overhang, snow/rain is not the source...and yes I have fart fans, they work and we use them. The wood framed French doors are "the way" into our home. Used 100 percent; of the time. When new, they looked great, now 6 years old and with 2 dogs they look like something from Helm's Deep after the siege. I got better things to do with my time than to be re-finishing the wood frame on my French doors, like alchemey...i.e. turning little herring into halibut. The fiberglass framed doors are superior in that respect. Fiberglass can be had with the texture of wood and if finished right, you can't tell without the knuckle test. Fiberglass frames are impervious to atmosphere changes. I wish the guy that built our box had used Therma-Tru doors.


    As to security w/ sliders, if alternate entry is available, a stick placed in the track will prove foolproof...no moving parts and no batteries required.


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    I think, from a decorating point of view sliders do not require changes to furniture to allow for the door opening. But French style hinged on both sides allow the complete opening to open, only obne side of a slider operates. French style can be hinged on the inside or outside. But you need to place furniture so that it does not interfere with the doors. And resale value on french is better and its more cost efficient. I would recommend you to get the thickest glass possible and double pained. If you can afford it get the ones with the blinds in the middle, they are really great!

    retractable screen doors

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    I live in a 30x30 home and have a vynal 4 ft wide glass slider that enter onto the 10 by 30 ft deck. It is the only entry into the home. I love it. No issues with snow or ice freezing in it. (We do face south and use it everyday.) Lets in lots of lite. Its 13 yrs old. Same screen door and used often. Screen is finally starting to get 'some' wear. The door is part way open most of the summer and sometimes even in the winter cuz when the sun is out it get hot in the house with all the windows. Its great to be able to slide it open real wide to haul in wood, or groceries, or furniture, etc. As far as trouble with it when cold... I will say u can tell the frame has tightened up a bit when it is 20 below. But I think everything at those cold temps tighten up. Its not problematic for us, it just doesnt slide quite as easy. The locks we rarely use (but do use), but hey, if someone wants in, whats gonna stop em.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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