Overcoming Obstacles to Installing Oversized Sliding Glass Doors: Part 1
March 18, 2021
As large, expansive openings become more popular, home and business owners are weighing the pros and cons of installing oversized sliding glass doors and folding doors. Some questions they’re asking include, “Will my utility bill go up with all of that added glass? Will these doors hold up in my extreme climate? Will I sacrifice privacy by adding expansive openings?”
Panda is known for creating some of the largest sliding and folding glass doors in the industry and we’ve been helping customers navigate this process for 30 years. In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common questions we hear from clients that are new to the concept of expansive openings. As illustrated below, there are many ways to mitigate any perceived drawbacks to installing oversized sliding glass doors and folding doors.
Q: Does all of that added glass lead to increased heating and cooling costs?
With today’s modern technology, a properly executed remodel involving the replacement of outdated doors and windows with modern glass wall systems can actually help improve energy efficiency. Let’s take a look at some of the most important areas to consider when selecting energy efficient sliding glass doors.
Efficiency Starts with Solid, Durable Construction
As a company that got its start serving the needs of clients in the arid Las Vegas desert, Panda windows and doors are uniquely engineered with solid, durable construction designed to address both energy efficiency needs and occupant comfort. Panda offers one of the best warranties in the industry because we are confident that our windows and doors will stand the test of time.
Thermally Broken Systems to Help Reduce Heat Loss/Gain
From years of experience, Panda has developed a proprietary thermally-broken window and door system for added energy efficiency in extreme hot or cold climates. Thermal barriers involve placing a barrier between the inside and outside system profiles to prevent cold and heat exchange between the two environments. As the weather continuously changes, the system can adapt to the temperatures around it.
Low-E and Insulated Glass Options
To help reduce energy loss by up to 50%, Panda oversized sliding glass doors are also available with optional Low-E, or low-emissivity glass. A Low-E coating is a very thin layer of metal that coats the surface of a pane of glass to help reflect the sunlight back out allowing the interior to maintain the desired temperature. Further insulated glass options such as adding argon gas between the panes is also available as an option for increased insulating performance.
Save on Lighting Costs with Daylighting
You may even find that the additional daylight that expansive openings deliver can lead to reduced lighting costs during daylight hours. It goes without saying that larger openings allow in more light and many customers find that replacing walls or small windows with expansive walls of glass floods their homes with plenty of natural daylighting, allowing them to use fewer lighting fixtures during the day for small savings that can add up over time.
Natural Ventilation Can Help Reduce Cooling Costs
When properly designed and positioned, oversized sliding glass doors and folding doors can be opened when weather permits to prevent heat buildup and allow cooling breezes in. This also improves air quality by bringing fresh air indoors. Of course, leveraging natural ventilation to improve energy efficiency works best in moderate climates that offer regular breezes.
Mitigating Issues Through Architecture and Design
Concerns about direct glare can also be mitigated by blocking the most intense rays of the sun with roof overhangs, light shelves, and even simple patio covers. These features can also serve to help protect the interior which we’ll cover next week in Part 2 of this series, Overcoming Obstacles to Installing Oversized Sliding Glass Doors.
Q: I live in an extreme climate, do oversized sliding glass doors make sense for my area?
Panda customers are located throughout North America and the Caribbean, which means our doors need to be able to handle a wide range of weather from blistering heat, bitter cold temperatures, driving wind and rain, and even hurricanes.
Lift & Slide Doors Specifically Engineered for Weather Resistance
Panda’s Lift & Slide Door systems are the perfect choice when demand for optimal weather resistance is crucial. The hallmark of the Panda Lift & Slide is a unique, proprietary system of levers and wheels that allows individual panels to drop securely into the bottom track and double v-gaskets that create an airtight and watertight seal. Where needed, we also recommend pairing the Lift & Slide with a recessed drainage track (more on our various track systems here) to prevent moisture incursion. In addition, the Lift & Slide also comes in the above-mentioned thermally-broken option for added energy efficiency.
Impact-Resistant Hurricane-Rated Doors Add Protection without Sacrificing the View
Regions that are prone to hurricanes offer some of the most awe-inspiring views of nature. In fact, this is one of the primary reasons why people move to these areas, despite the risk. Choosing a hurricane-rated sliding glass door affords customers the protection they need from driving rain, high winds, large debris, tropical storms, and even Category 5 hurricanes – without losing access to their views.
Q: How do I deal with the lack of privacy from oversized glass sliding or folding doors?
A big concern for many clients, is feeling like they are living or working in a fishbowl. With some thoughtful planning our customers have gained the best of both worlds with spaces that feel open and flexible – yet private when needed.
Biophilic Design with Privacy in Mind
With some thoughtful planning and design, trees, fences or other barriers can be placed to offer privacy where required. An oversized sliding door that faces an outdoor view of nature also delivers the added benefit of bringing the outdoors in. In fact, Panda sliding and folding doors are specifically engineered with clean lines to enhance these natural views with minimal obstruction. This connection with nature, known as biophilic design, offers numerous benefits that our customers can attest to such as reduced stress, improved mood, and even strengthened immune systems.
Adding Concealed Roller Shades and Drapery Pockets for a Clean, Modern Look
Some modern homes and offices don’t easily lend themselves to common window coverings for sliding glass door privacy, and why should they? Unique custom buildings merit more than ‘common’ solutions and with a little planning and attention to detail – these spaces can still have privacy options. One clever solution that builders and architects are using is the addition of concealed drapery pockets. In these applications, shades and draperies, automated or otherwise, are installed in a concealed pocket that appears flush with the ceiling for a clean, minimalist look. Using a concealed pocket for roller shades can even help them disappear completely when not in use.
Switchable Smart Glass – A High-Tech Solution to an Age-Old Problem
Switchable Privacy Glass can turn any glass walled room, from meeting rooms to bedrooms, into completely private spaces in an instant. The magic of these systems is an electrical current that allows the glass to transfer from completely clear to opaque while still allowing light in.
Q: Are oversized sliding doors worth the extra effort and planning?
This is the big question and the one that ultimately each customer must answer for themselves before embarking on any sort of remodel. Based on testimonials from our customers Panda Windows & Doors are not only “attractive and energy efficient”, but the ability to allow in “abundant natural light and fresh air” has literally changed the way they live in and experience their homes.
Well-designed, oversized sliding glass door systems that open and stack (or pocket) can create the ultimate backyard retreat for entertaining or vacationing at home, or add flexibility to any commercial space. There is also the benefit of increased property values as expansive openings can make a space feel larger – making them one of today’s most desirable amenities. Unique, custom designs are Panda Windows & Door’s specialty, and our glass door systems come in a variety of finishes and options to complement the décor of any home. Most of our customers agree that most obstacles to installing oversized glass doors are more often than not simply a misperception – and that any extra effort is far outweighed by the benefits gained by their new doors.
To learn more, we invite you to check out Part 2 of this series, Overcoming Obstacles to Installing Oversized Sliding Glass Doors.
To help answer more commonly asked questions, Panda offers both a Residential Door Guide and a Commercial Door Guide which are available for download. Or we invite you to reach out directly to speak to a knowledgeable Panda representative who can help answer all of your questions and help find the Panda Dealer Showroom nearest you.
As part of our ongoing commitment to delivering design and construction resources, we offer several educational opportunities and architectural resources for architects, contractors, and other construction professionals.
Today’s state-of-the-art, thermally broken aluminum windows and doors can help reduce heat loss and keep your home’s interior more comfortable and electric bills to a minimum, especially in extreme climates.
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