Choosing window treatments for sliding glass or patio doors can be a bit more involved than picking out a treatment for your bathroom window. In bathrooms usually the main concerns are privacy and moisture resistance. On sliders privacy and light control can be issues but also how if functions is important. You may use the door quite a bit and you might want something that’s easy to operate. Or maybe you don’t use it that offend and just want something to block out the sun a little. As far as esthetics the sliding glass door is a bigger treatment and is going to make a statement. You want a treatment that is going to go along with your style and decor. What’s out there if I want a soft elegant look, more rustic, contemporary or traditional?
Vertical blinds are by far still the most popular choice for patio doors but people are getting a little tired of them and want more alternatives. The little plastic piece at the top break, the vane falls. In this article you will find six alternative treatments that work out great on a patio door. Some you may be familiar with and some not. But hopefully this article will provide you with the knowledge to choose a treatment that not only looks great but functions great as well. Before we get into the different types of treatments lets first go over some basic measuring specific to sliders.
Few Tips on Measuring
When discussing measuring I am only referring to outside mounts since the majority of this application is outside mounted. Whenever you’re measuring for sliding glass doors for the width you want to measure from trim to trim and add about 8 inches. The 8 inches is for 4 inches of overlap on each side. The overlap is for privacy and light blocking.
The more overlap you will have more privacy and less light. There are a few exceptions to the rule. You may have obstructions that won’t allow that much overlap like a counter top coming right up to your woodwork or an adjacent wall. But you get the idea if you have the room add the 4 inches to each side.
Measure from the floor to 3 inches above the top trim for height. The 3 inches is to give you enough room to get the bracket above the trim (don’t mount on the trim). Look for other obstructions such as cabinet doors. When open will they hit the new treatment? Will the treatment prevent the cabinet door from opening all the way? Now on to the six treatments for sliding glass doors.
First up is a Vertical cellular shade.
This is a cellular shade in a vertical position that slides back and forth on a rod that is similar to drapery rod but on steroids. Many companies make these each one having a little variance. Most popular is the vertiglide made by Hunter Douglas and The Ovation made by Comfortex.
I find that there is almost no different between the two except for price and Hunter Douglas puts their name on the handle. Spring Window Fashions, which is the parent company to Bali and Graber, make slide-vue and verticell. The distinctive feature for these brands is you can slide either way, left to right or right to left.
Pros: Very energy efficient, thin stack usually about 6 inches so doesn’t cover up much of your view.
Cons: Material at bottom can get dirty.
Pets can or will damage material trying to move material out of their way to see squirrels.
Second up is Vertical Sheers:
This is a vertical blind with a sheer material attached over it. Most companies have their own version and operate just as a vertical blind. The sheer is one piece that is fabricated so it attaches onto each vane.
Pros: The sheer material can be removed for cleaning.
Offers a soft look with the function of a vertical blind.
Cons: Because of added thickness of sheer material over vanes, the vanes won’t close as tight. This is true for most brands except for Levelor. Levelors design allows the vanes to close the tightest.
Third is Sliding Woven Woods:
This is one of my favorites though not many companies make one. It is a woven wood material in a vertical position that is attached at the top to a rail that allows it to easily slide back and forth. Sometime you will find it Grommeted at the top in which it will slide on a wood pole.
Pros: No cords, safer for children.
It can be lined for more privacy and light control
Cons:There are either open or closed, cannot control light like a vertical blind.
Fourth is Panel Tracks:
Referred to as sliding panels and elance. Panel tracks are strips of material about 18 to 35 inches wide that hang from a rod and slide like a drapery. The number of panels depends on the width of your patio door. When you slide them to one side they stack over one another. The material these are available in range from woven wood to sun screen. You can find them to fit any decorating scheme. Most companies make their own version and the difference is usually in how the rod is constructed and how the panels attach to the rod (mostly with Velcro).
Pros: Creates a dramatic look on a larger window like sliding glass doors.
More pet friendly since they can easily move to panels out of the way to see outside.
Safer for children
Cons: Panel width can cover a good portion of your glass. If you have the wall space you can have the treatment wider so the panels hang over your wall and not your glass door.
Fifth is the Luminette:
Only made by Hunter Douglas. It’s like a very fancy and pricey vertical sheer. It’s kind of hard to describe but I’ll give it a try. Picture this vertical blind with the vanes made out of a firm but softer material and each vane is connected by sheer to create a continuous treatment the width of your slider. It has two controls, one to draw it to one side and the second to rotate the vanes to control light and privacy.
Pros: Very soft look of a sheer with the functionally of a vertical blind.
Cons: Hard to install
Keep the cats away.
Last but not least are Roller Shades:
I mention these because I see more people putting them on their sliding glass doors. There’re not using the more traditional solid material over there sliders but sun screen fabric. They want to filter out the sun but still want to see out and this offers a good solution.
Pros: Not too expensive
Don’t have to tug on it to make it work. It raises and lowers by a beaded chain control.
Cons: They’re either up or down, so every time you want to use the door you have to raise them.
Drawing them up will take two hands since they will have some weight to them.
Do You Have These Concerns
These are good questions and real concerns that you should take a minute and think about when choosing a treatment. Is energy efficient important to you? Do you have young children? Which are the safest? Which stand up best to pets? Do you have an extra wide slider with 3 or 4 panes of glass, or maybe a transom above, do you cover it or leave it open? Which won’t take away from my beautiful view?
Well there you have it, six treatments you can use on patio or sliding glass doors. All of them will work on either two, three or four panes of glass. The only exception is roller shades. They have limitations on how wide they can be made. They can be made to fit over standard sliders ( 2 panes of glass). As far as popularity I would rate them in this order with the most popular being vertical cellular’s, then panel tracks, followed by roller shades, vertical sheers, laminates and finally sliding woven woods only because they aren’t as available and not too many people know about them yet.
Choosing something that is going to make a big statement can be a bit scary. At least now you have some knowledge to make a more informed choice.
About The Author
Robert is a window treatment installer who blogs about all things window treatments at bobtheblindguy.com. There you will find helpful information about various types of window treatments as well as tips & advice. Visit Him today at bobtheblindguy.com.