A home that features sliding glass doors is a home that is beautiful – and potentially vulnerable to the outside elements. Why? “Regular” glass is a poor insulator. In sliding glass doors, the glass acts as a conductor for heat to go out and for sunlight and heat to invade during the summer.
Window and door companies know this and offer solutions. Window World Twin Cities can replace your sliding glass doors with low-emissivity (low-E) versions to reduce energy loss. These doors have a special coating that prevents heat or cold from penetrating the glass.
Our team is happy to tell you more about the benefits and features of low-E glass sliding doors. At Window World Twin Cities in North St. Paul, Minnesota, a real person always answers our phones. So don’t hesitate to give us a call with any window or door-related questions!
In the meantime, check out these steps you can take to insulate your current sliding glass doors so they’re properly winterized.
Always Vacuum the Door Track First
The “track” is at the base of your sliding door where the door slides; It has channels about an inch deep. Tiny particles and debris can drop from your shoe into the channels whenever you step over the door track.
Since you step through the track when the door is wide open, chances are it runs over the debris in the track when you close the door back. Over time, this can cause the door to lift and allow drafts to come through the bottom slightly.
Before applying any winterization methods, we recommend vacuuming the channels so you start with a clean surface. Removing debris and cleaning the track might even solve any draft issues you’re having with the door!
In general, vacuum the channels as often as possible to prevent debris from building up and preventing sliding doors from operating as they should.
Apply Rubber Compression Strips in Door Channels
Adhesive-backed rubber compression strips are inexpensive weatherproofing tools that provide an excellent seal around sliding doors. While there are other weatherstripping methods, this one is the fastest, cheapest, and easiest to DIY. The rubber strips are easy to cut and fit to the length of any sliding door channel, creating an air-proof seal.
Rubber compression strips help insulate sliding doors because they are resistant to both moisture and air. They do not contract with cold temperatures, so you shouldn’t have to worry about drafts.
Other Weatherstripping Methods to Consider
Plenty of products and materials on the market promise a solution for weatherstripping doors and windows. Common solutions include insulating foam sprays, plastic window kits, felt, and V-strip (also known as tension seal), among other types of weatherstripping.
Consider and research the weatherstripping methods to find the right solution for your needs, but know that at some point, your time and money are best spent replacing your sliding door with a more energy-efficient upgrade.
Insulating Foam Sprays
This compression weatherstripping method comes as tape, attached to metal strips, or from a spray can. The tape is the easiest to apply, especially around irregular-shaped corners, but is less long-lasting than the metal-reinforced variety.
If you go the spray foam route, it must be for doors and windows because standard foam spray will over-expand! Make sure to select a low-expanding foam or you could accidentally warp the door jamb or frame, which will make the door more challenging to open and close.
Plastic Window & Door Kits
Traditional window insulation kits utilize shrink wrap that activates when exposed to heat. These days, you can find versions specifically made for patio doors from brands like 3M and even some that go on the glass like a sticker – no hair dryer needed. Either way, it’s usually easy enough to cut the plastic to fit your sliding glass door regardless of size or dimension.
Some people swear by these kits, while others say that even if applied perfectly, the results are minimal. It is certainly more cost-effective than replacing all of your old windows with new ones, but you’ll also get what you paid for.
A traditional weatherstripping material, felt comes “plain” or with reinforced metal backing. It is also inexpensive and fairly easy to install – though you may find yourself reinstalling it sooner than you’d hoped because it is not very durable.
(It does provide a good solution for windows in the winter since they’re not frequently opened like doors.)
V-Strip (Tension Seal)
The name comes from how the material (vinyl, aluminum, or steel) is shaped into a V, creating spring-like tension that forms a tight seal. This is a more durable and long-term alternative to sealing doors and windows, and it takes more skill to install properly.
While very sturdy, this solution can make sliding doors harder to open, which isn’t ideal.
Energy-Efficient Sliding Doors From Window World
Winterization methods can only do so much if you’re dealing with an old sliding glass door with draft issues. Maybe it’s time to shop for new doors from Window World Twin Cities! Discover a wide selection of quality glass sliding doors and enjoy expert installation anywhere in the greater Twin Cities metro area.
If we have recently installed brand-new glass sliding doors in your home or commercial property, please reach out to us with any concerns. If you need help or have questions about sealing your door, contact WWTC today! Call us at 651-770-5570 or message us on our contact page.
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