It seems like you can hardly build a 5000+ square foot home without including a multiple sliding door anymore. What was once a luxury is now almost a requirement.
With this being the case, it seems that more and more consumers want to update their existing homes with these products. There’s no denying their popularity, which is why I think the best way to discuss these doors is in terms of pros and cons. Then you, the homeowner, can decide whether or not the decision is right for you.
1. Poor Energy Efficiency: Usually multiple sliding doors have such large openings that they need to be made of aluminum to be able to make such large openings. As you probably know, aluminum is not very energy efficient. Also, having such large sections of glass in your home will also require more energy to heat and cool than if there was just wall space there. Fortunately, however, glass is becoming more and more energy efficient, and there are several low-e glasses available that work surprisingly well.
2. Difficult to install – This is one of the projects that I would strongly recommend that you hire a licensed contractor to install it. Most manufacturers only sell the product as an installed unit due to the difficulty of installing them; require all installers to be factory-trained employees. Even manufacturers that don’t install usually require vendors to be Glacier licensed.
3. Difficult For Remodel Situations: Most multi-sliding doors are designed with pockets and a wide opening, sometimes it can be difficult to rearrange your existing frame to accommodate what you may be looking for. Typically, the house should be designed with multiple sliding doors in mind to suit your exact design wishes. Usually, though, if you’re flexible with the design and configuration, there’s usually a way to make it work.
4. May require a general contractor – Most of the time when installing a multi-slide door, changes to the frame may be required. Depending on where you live, if the change is to a load-bearing wall, you must obtain a permit and have the change approved by an engineer. This will usually require a GC to handle the details for you. A licensed window or door company can perform a simple installation of French doors or windows.
5. Cost: These doors can be quite expensive. Most of the time, when I give an estimate for these doors to a client/homeowner who is remodeling, the price is often prohibitive. They see a French door or a sliding glass door at a home goods store for $800 and they figure these doors are three times as big, so they should be three times as big, right? Wrong, you will see that standard size doors are made with standard size tempered glass. Multiple sliding doors are custom sized and the price increases exponentially when you go for custom sizes.
1. Dramatic Effect – No other home improvement will have such a dramatic effect on the design, look and feel of your home. Removing what used to be a wall and replacing it with what amounts to a moving glass wall can really improve the lighting, look, feel and design of your home.
2. Indoor/Outdoor: These doors are the best way to create a space where the lines between indoors and outdoors aren’t so clear. Some people like to have barbecues and invite a lot of people, but they don’t have the space inside their house to entertain as they would like. Well, by choosing the right windowsill and continuing your floor from the inside out, the lines between inside and outside disappear. The glass disappears into the wall and voila, you’ve doubled your living space without adding any space.
3. Automation – If you are going to spend to install these types of doors, you might as well automate them. You can set them up with a motion sensor so that when you go up; they open automatically for you or your guests when you’re entertaining. This feature is easily disabled when the need is no longer required.
4. Resale Value: Nothing will grab the attention of a prospective buyer like a large opening in the back wall of your home. Your competing neighbor may have nicer landscaping or a larger pool, but if you can’t see it from inside the house, it doesn’t feel as valuable.
So there you have the pros and cons of pocket/multiple sliding doors. The fact is that this is a luxury item and they are going to be expensive, but like most things that are expensive, they are worth it.