Replacing an 8'W window with a 4-panel sliding door

Stephanie_RMarch 13, 2012

My husband and I live in the Los Angeles, CA area and plan to replace an existing 8'W window with a sliding door. It is an east-facing exposure (minimally shaded by a 2' box eave) and the overall rough dimensions will be approx. 80"H x 96"W. We would like to have a center-open four-panel and would prefer a vinyl-clad exterior/wood interior configuration.

Please help us by providing the guidance as to the make, model and features (e.g., UV protection) appropriate for our purposes. Any other anecdotal information relative to our project is also appreciated. Thanks.

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8ft wide is not wide enough for a 4 panel door. You could make it 3 panel with the center opening. But still, you would have a very narrow door opening. 2 panel is what is appropriate for that size door. You could widen the opening to 9ft and do a 3 panel door, and that would be more "normal".

There are so many nice doors out there - but if it were me I would look at Marvin or Andersen doors. I would also suggest fiberglass or wood clad frames and NOT vinyl. All manufacturers will have 366 glass options.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 12:20AM
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4 panel door would look odd at that size.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 9:11AM
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366 glass is LowE3, and is the most efficient in blocking unwanted UV but letting in light. There are various grades of glass that anyone you deal with will be able to explain and apply to your needs.

In vinyl products, I have seen the most service issues in patio doors. At one time I thought they were wonderful, but over the years I have seen so many vinyl doors that haven't lasted very long at all. You seem interested in a wood interior, though. My opinion is that vinyl and wood don't go together well - different expansion and contraction rates. But look around and see what you like, and get a good warranty.

When you do a project like this on your home, you want to do it one time. You want to enjoy it and love it. You want it to last. While you don't need to get a gold plated patio door, you need to understand that if you shop price to just get by, you will end up with an inferior product and workmanship, and ultimately be unsatisfied. I encourage you to get a quality product and have it installed by someone that will do an excellent professional job. I encourage you to not buy from a big box store. They are notorious for rushed hack installations and mid-grade products. You don't want to spend a significant amount of money and end up wishing you had never done the project at all.

Quality product, and an installation company that is committed to quality and 100% customer satisfaction, with warranty guarantees and a good service record.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 10:42AM
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I agree that a four panel, eight foot wide door would look odd. It also will be a special size and thus, much more expensive. My suggestion would be to downsize to a 7'6 x 6'8 door utilizing the same panels that are used in a two panel 5'0 door (2'6" + 2'6" + 2'6" = 7'6"). You won't have the additional expense of replacing the header by expanding the opening from eight to nine feet. Not all manufacturers will make this size but you should be able to find it. Another thing, double check your height. If you truly have an 80" RO height, that is what is considered in the industry a replacement sized door.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 7:06PM
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Thanks for all the great advice and information. One of our neighbors has a 4-panel slider that does not appear to be more than 8 feet wide and does not look inappropriate. (I think it is a Milgard.) I will contact them to measure it and get their opinion about its efficacy. Meanwhile, please continue to share your helpful insights. We are truly grateful for your assistance.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 12:38AM
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I agree with what has already been said. I don't think I have ever seen an 8' door with 4 panels. That would make each panel only 24" wide which would look terrible because the glass to frame ratio would be off the charts. In addition, it would create potential access issues. Not only with larger people but also with carrying things like a large platter to and from the house. Keep in mind that most front doors are 36" wide and even most internal doors are about 32" wide.

I suspect your neighbor's door is 10' and has 4, 30" panels.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 8:39AM
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Please do not use a 24' wide Panel that Slides. The Rollers are too close together & that creates a Wobble when the panels move. A 24" Panel will have clear opening less than 20" due to the bumper stops that protect the handle & your hand. Any small width Quad Panel Slider is Expensive. Takes an Excellent Installer to Install Correctly!!! In 8' wide opening i would use a 2-panel slider(heavy panels), 3-panel slider(clear opening?), 3-panel Swinging, double french swinging with side-lights, Bi-Fold(expensive & better have Overhang). Anything, Except Small Quad Slider! Good Luck

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 10:19AM
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Since there is unanimous consensus that a 4-panel slider is a bust, we are back to considering in-swing french doors with sidelights for our project. Now, our investigation centers on how big the total center opening should be (5' or 6'?), construction and selecting a manufacturer and retailer (in the Los Angeles area).

We have Pella Pro Line sliders at the rear of the house that are clad aluminum on the outside and stain grade pine inside that have held up well for years, so that would be an acceptable standard of construction for our purposes. We have numerous other home improvement projects we would like to complete during this lifetime, so unfortunately we cannot spend unlimited funds on these doors. All suggestions are welcome and appreciated. Thanks so much!


    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 3:19PM
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