Converting your existing window opening into a patio door is a great way to revitalize your home. It is also a worthwhile investment because it helps create a seamless connection between your indoor and outdoor living spaces. Before tackling this project, however, you need to take several things into account. Local window installation contractor STL Windows Direct discusses them in further detail below.
Securing a Permit
Expanding an existing window opening to accommodate a patio door almost always requires a permit. Aside from removing the wall’s king studs, the load-bearing header above the window may also need to be reinforced or replaced. Electrical wiring and components around the window opening may be compromised as well. Thus, the work must be completed in compliance with the local building codes. These factors contribute to the structural integrity of your home, which is why you must ensure this particular home improvement project doesn’t lead to issues.
To determine if your window-to-patio-door conversion does require a permit, you can either consult the state, county or city building authorities or get some measurements and ideas from a project consultant. Most of the time, permits are fairly easy to obtain. However, you may have to wait for several days or weeks as the local building department reviews the plan.
Hiring a Contractor
Turning a window opening into a patio door is a complex job that requires extensive planning and preparation. Once you have secured the permit and the local authorities have given you the go-signal, you can start finding a local contractor who can take on the challenges involved in this endeavor.
Most window installation companies are capable of cutting down and cutting out exterior walls, especially drywall, siding and stucco. Not a lot of them, however, can cut through concrete. If you do find one you can work with on your project, expect them to cut the material the day before the actual patio door installation to minimize exposure of your indoor living spaces to the elements.
One specific challenge that reliable installers can get around involves the preservation of the interior drywall. Most of the time, window-to-patio-door conversions require the header to be expanded further to the door’s projected opening. Since it will result in a missing siding or drywall, the pros will have to refinish and paint around the new patio door to complete the look. They will try to avoid this, but it is almost impossible to skip this step especially when replacing the header is required.
Of course, the installers will see to it that the new door is framed properly to ensure it can hold its weight. More importantly, they will install adequate amounts of insulation to ensure no drafts or moisture can penetrate through the surrounding walls. For the entirety of the project, however, you can expect the work area to be filled with dust and debris. It is usually a common sight in home improvements that involve cutting out existing walls and openings. Then again, a reputable contractor will clean everything up after the job is completed.
Finding the Right Type of Patio Door
Installing a patio door offers several advantages, including enhanced curb appeal, more comfortable interiors, increased energy savings and improved property value. Before anything else, however, it pays to identify what you actually need first. Research about the various types of patio doors available in the market, taking note of their strength, features and cost. To help you make the right decision, you can always consult your trusted window and door installer in your area.
Below are some of the different patio door choices you need to consider:
- Hinged Patio Door – Hinged French patio doors feature a trademark wood finish and symmetrical grille design, making them the perfect fit for traditional homes. Since they are hinged on the side, this particular patio door style requires space to allow the doors to swing in and out. In terms of design, you won’t run out of choices because they come in a wide variety of finishes to suit your aesthetic needs.
- Sliding Patio Door – This patio door style is the best option for you if your home exudes a modern look and feel. It features a wide, interrupted glass area to give you a clear view of both sides of the door, allowing you to showcase both your interior and exterior spaces. It also gives you unparalleled access to natural light, creating an illusion of more space. Unlike its hinged counterpart, the sliding door moves along a horizontal track via adjustable track rollers for smooth operation. It is also equipped with slim yet durable frames to make way for a bigger glass area.
Converting your window opening into a patio door is not a simple undertaking that you can do yourself. As discussed above, you need to secure a permit and hire a contractor to ensure its success. When done right the first time, you not only minimize leaks or drafts but also avoid a potential wall collapse. The preparation involved, especially in the part of cutting down the walls and keeping everything intact, can truly save you a lot of headaches in the future.
For high-quality window and door installations, turn to STL Windows Direct. As the leading source of Direct windows and patio doors, we offer only the finest materials on the market that exceeds product standards. Between our design and installation teams, our company will make sure you get a beautiful and sturdy window or door that not only adds lasting value to your home but holds up to the elements for years to come.
When you call us for a consultation, expect our designers to help you choose the ideal door design and material while keeping in mind both your home’s style and budget parameters. The great thing about this is that you can fully customize the features of your new patio door, from the locking systems and door handles to interior and exterior frame colors and grilles. Your choices will result in a replacement patio door that is aesthetically pleasing and energy-efficient.