How to Choose a Back Door

Find a secure, stylish door that gives you access to your backyard or patio.
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CI-Vitrocsa-glass-back-door_s4x3

Photo courtesy of Vitrocsa

Photo courtesy of Vitrocsa

By: Peter Walsh

Your back door provides a second entrance to your home and it also allows you access to your deck, patio or backyard.

Since the back of the house is often a private space, there is little need for a door to conceal the inside of a house from neighbors or the street. This gives you a lot of options, from French doors to sliding glass.

To prevent sun fade on furnishings, consider low-E glass or built-in blinds sandwiched between panes. Whatever style door you decide on, be sure it has double-paned glass and proper weather stripping to save on heating and cooling costs.

Back Door Ideas

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Form Follows Function

Back doors allow you access to private entertaining areas, like decks, gardens and patios. Before you buy, consider how you'll use your space. Do you need sliding doors to maximize the view; French doors for easy, elegant access or even a Dutch door, to let in air and light, while limiting entrance? Photo courtesy of HGTV Green Home 2012

Photo By: Eric Perry

Room With a View

If you entertain a lot, and have a gorgeous view to frame, consider wide, glass doors — perfect for allowing guests to mingle on the patio while soaking up the ambiance. Design by SPG Architects

Indoor/Outdoor Spaces

Add double-size doors on a barn track to create a seamless transition from the dining room to the patio.

To Screen or Not to Screen

If you want to keep bugs out and let fresh air in, then back-door screens are a must. Photo by Jeffrey Freeman Design by Pangaea

Focus on Design

French doors work well stylistically on traditional homes. Hinged doors that swing inward need extra room inside to open so are not appropriate where interior space is tight. Photo courtesy of Milgard

Go for Low-E

While glass doors let you enjoy the view, they can also mean faded furniture and rugs. Consider low-E glass to prevent sun fade on furnishings. Photo courtesy of Vitrocsa

Sliding Door Benefits

Sliding doors need less space to operate than their swinging counterparts. They're perfect for areas with small landings (like steps to a patio or deck) where a swinging door could cause someone to fall if they accidentally stepped off the landing to accommodate the door. Photo courtesy of Milgard

Sliding Patio Doors

Sliding doors open and close on a track system that runs along the bottom and top of the doors. Sliders are perfect for tight areas in your home because there's no need to provide extra space in the room for a swinging, hinged door.

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CI-plygem-pocket-back-doors-open_s4x3

Consider how you plan to use your backyard when deciding on a door. These sliding pocket doors capitalize on entertaining space, allowing guests to enjoy the outdoors while dining inside. Photo courtesy of Ply Gem

Consider how you plan to use your backyard when deciding on a door. These sliding pocket doors capitalize on entertaining space, allowing guests to enjoy the outdoors while dining inside. Photo courtesy of Ply Gem

CI-plygem-pocket-back-doors-closed_s4x3

CI-plygem-pocket-back-doors-closed_s4x3

stone walls and sliding doors

stone walls and sliding doors

Hinged Doors

Hinged doors allow the maximum amount of access to the outdoors from inside the home. Doors that swing inward need extra room inside to open so are not appropriate where interior space is tight.

Screens Are a Must

Why have large expanses of glass doors and not be able to keep them open and bug-free in warm weather? Most sliding doors are available with a screen that slides along a track on the top and bottom to keep insects out.

Some have retractable screens that roll up into a casing on the side of the door. Screens for French doors are hinged on the sides and open the same way the doors open. They fit into a jamb casing that surrounds the entire door frame.

Cost: $60 to $250

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