Tips & Advice

8 min read

Replace standard old windows with sliding patio windows — transform the look of your home!

Written by

Kacper Szczypek

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Are you planning to enhance your home by converting a window into a patio door? This guide offers essential information on the window to patio door conversion, addressing crucial considerations such as choosing the right window, understanding structural implications, and anticipating the financial aspect of this upgrade. We provide clear, actionable steps and helpful tips to progress from concept to completion effectively.

The advantages of window to patio door conversion

A game-changer in home renovation can be the conversion of your existing window, or even a bay window, into a patio door. Not only does it revitalise the look of your home, but it also provides additional convenience by offering another point of entry. Imagine the ease of stepping directly onto your patio from your living room or bedroom. No more navigating through other rooms or doors, just a straight, convenient path to your outdoor space.

Additionally, upgrading to patio doors can result in:

  • An increase in the overall property value of your home
  • Enhanced curb appeal
  • Improved marketability
  • Dividends when it’s time to sell

It’s an investment that enhances your living experience and pays off in the long run.

Enhanced natural light

A bright, sunlit room is universally loved. An immediate increase in natural light is something you’ll notice with patio doors. Sliding patio doors, especially those with slim double glazing frames, are designed to maximise natural light, enhancing overall wellness with benefits like increased vitamin D intake and improved sleep. French doors can even double the amount of natural light entering a room, greatly enhancing the indoor ambiance.

A room becomes brighter and more inviting with more natural light, significantly improving its aesthetics. Not to mention, it provides a better view of the yard or scenery, strengthening the visual and accessible connection to the outdoors.

Increased property value

Increasing property value is always on the list for many homeowners, and converting a window to a patio door is an excellent strategy. Adding patio doors boosts property value and curb appeal, and installing French doors can further increase the value by adding style and functionality. A conversion from a window to a patio door enhances a home’s aesthetics and structural integrity, as well as providing expansive views and an attractive, accessible entrance.

Furthermore, bringing the garden closer to the home can be achieved by installing patio doors. It can also serve as a strong selling point that may accelerate the sales process for potential buyers. It’s a win-win situation for current comfort and future returns.

Seamless indoor-outdoor connection

Providing a seamless indoor-outdoor connection is one of the greatest advantages of converting a window to a patio door. With a patio door installed, you gain:

  • direct and convenient access from a room to the patio or backyard
  • significantly enhanced home functionality
  • the ability to step right out onto your patio or into your garden from your living room

Patio doors equipped with sliding mechanisms offer an efficient and easy way for residents and guests to move between the home’s interior and exterior. French doors enable a seamless indoor-outdoor connection, fostering an inviting transition that merges indoor living spaces with the garden environment. The outdoors becomes an extension of your indoor space, blurring the lines between inside and out.

Improved energy efficiency

The conversion of a window to a patio door isn’t solely about aesthetics and functionality. It also plays a role in improving energy efficiency. Modern patio doors equipped with energy-efficient technologies can provide better insulation and reduce drafts, contributing to lower energy bills. The thermal efficiency of patio doors helps maintain a stable and comfortable indoor temperature, which lowers the demand on heating and cooling systems and reduces energy costs over time.

Moreover, utilising the natural light that streams in through the large glass areas of patio doors reduces reliance on artificial lighting, resulting in further energy savings and a more eco-friendly living space. This is more than a home improvement; it’s a step towards a greener lifestyle.

Aluminium Sliding Doors MasterPatio

Choosing the ideal window for patio door conversion

Choosing the ideal window for conversion is crucial when deciding to embark on the journey of converting a window to a patio door. Ideally, the window should be wider than the desired door width to accommodate framing, with a minimum width of 38” for a standard door width of 32”. But what if the window is narrower than standard patio door sizes?

In such cases, structural modifications may be needed, such as:

  • reinforcing or replacing the load-bearing header
  • custom-sized doors are often required when the existing window aperture does not align with standard door dimensions, necessitating a professional fit assessment
  • ensuring proper framing and insulation around the new patio door to prevent air leaks, moisture problems, and maintain the home’s structural integrity.

Customising your new patio doors

The fun part, customising your new patio doors, begins once you’ve decided on the ideal window system for conversion. Patio doors are made from diverse materials like:

  • vinyl — known for its affordability and energy efficiency
  • fibreglass — offers durability and low maintenance
  • traditional wood — provides a classic and natural look
  • aluminium — blends strength with a lightweight design

Customising your new patio doors is an exciting step, and with options like vinyl for energy efficiency, fibreglass for durability, traditional wood for a classic look, and aluminium combining strength with lightweight design, the choice is vast. For those considering aluminium, Fenbro offers exemplary models such as the COR Vision Plus and Moreview, known for their sleek design. The MB-77HS and MasterPatio are well-known for superior performance, making them ideal for any home looking to enhance energy efficiency and aesthetics.

Aluminium Sliding Doors COR Vision Plus

Each material offers its unique benefits, so you can pick the one that best suits your needs.

And when it comes to styles, the options are nearly endless. You can choose from the space-efficient sliding doors, the classic French doors, the elegant sliding glass door, the compact bi-fold doors, or even a simple single door, among others, including the popular sliding glass doors. Plus, there are various customisation options, allowing homeowners to select from various styles, colours, and features like advanced locking systems and stylish door handles, all meant to align with the home’s aesthetics and improve energy efficiency.

Professional installation — why it matters

Though the idea of transforming a window into a patio door sounds exciting, remember that this process isn’t fit for do-it-yourself execution. The complexity of the task, including structural, electrical, and plumbing considerations, requires professional expertise. A professional installation ensures that the conversion meets all safety regulations, and the home’s structural integrity is not compromised.

Investing in a professional window company guarantees high-quality workmanship, which is crucial for home renovation projects to ensure lasting results. Professionals are capable of managing unique challenges such as securing permits, handling unforeseen problems, and boarding up apertures during a window to patio door conversion.

Permits and regulations

Familiarising yourself with the necessary permits and regulations is crucial before you start your window to patio door conversion. As the homeowner, you’re responsible for obtaining any required permits to ensure the work is legally approved and up to code. These permits are crucial in ensuring that safety regulations are met and that your house remains structurally sound when creating new openings for patio doors.

Additionally, a permit may also be required depending on the location and degree of structural changes involved, which is essential for future property sale and maintaining home insurance. The process of obtaining building regulation approval can involve applying via an inspector or local council, and planning permission might be necessary for changes to a home’s front elevation. For a comprehensive overview of these requirements, consider reading our detailed article on building regulations for windows and doors in the UK and Ireland.

Electrical and structural concerns

Another crucial aspect of a successful window to patio door conversion is addressing electrical and structural concerns. Before cutting into the wall, identifying and re-routing of existing below-window wiring and plumbing are critical steps to prevent disruptions and damages. Although windows are commonly set in non-load-bearing walls, it’s essential to confirm this and identify any essential wires or pipes that could be affected by the conversion process.

Ensuring the structural integrity of the wall to support the new patio door without compromising the house is a professional task that involves assessing load-bearing elements and possibly expanding headers. A well-executed conversion helps to maintain the home’s integrity by minimising potential leaks or drafts and addressing any interior and exterior finish changes due to structural work.

Aluminium Sliding Doors Moreview

Tips for a successful window to patio door conversion

A few tips can make the process smoother, although a successful window to patio door conversion requires careful planning and professional expertise. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • prioritise quality workmanship above all else
  • pay close attention to details to ensure the best outcomes —  even the smallest overlooked detail can cause problems down the line.
  • remember that converting a window into a door is not a one-time task — regular maintenance like cleaning tracks, rollers, and replacing weatherstripping can extend the life of your patio doors.

It’s also important to understand that certain changes, such as raising the ground level outside new doors, require Planning Permission. This demonstrates the importance of understanding planning permissions and other regulations before starting the project.

Budgeting and financing

Other critical aspects of a successful window to patio door conversion are budgeting and financing. Generally, converting a window into a patio door is less expensive than installing a new door opening, as it involves less labour and construction. However, costs can vary based on the specifics of your project.

For example, the average cost for replacing a window with French doors in the UK is estimated at £1,700. Door materials typically cost between £600 to £1,200, labour costs for specialists and helpers, and the prices for finishing touches and waste disposal. It’s always a good idea to consult experienced, trusted French door specialists, such as Fenbro, to get a more detailed and accurate quote for your specific conversion project. Fenbro’s expertise and reliability ensure that you receive an accurate assessment, high-quality products, and services tailored to meet your unique needs and preferences.

Selecting the right contractor

Another vital step in a successful window to patio door conversion is choosing the proper contractor. A skilled contractor with experience specifically in window-to-patio door conversions is crucial for the installation’s success. The selected contractor must be capable of cutting through various materials and managing the preservation of interior drywall and finishes.

Moreover, effective planning and preparation by the contractor are key components that drive the seamless execution of the conversion project. A reputable contractor provides comprehensive service, including project consultation and thorough clean-up after project completion.

Planning for disruption

Planning for disruption during the conversion process is important, last but not least. This includes preparing a clear timeline with the contractor to understand when the most disruptive work will occur and plan daily routines around it. Consider temporarily relocating valuable or delicate items in the vicinity to prevent damage from dust or construction debris.

Furthermore, be prepared for the following:

  • above-average amounts of dust, particularly when cutting is done during the conversion process
  • increased noise levels during construction, which can disrupt daily activities
  • plan activities like work-from-home or remote schooling accordingly

If necessary, arrange for alternative entryways for the family to use when the usual access is blocked due to construction.

Summary

In conclusion, converting an existing window into a patio door can dramatically transform the aesthetics of your home, enhance functionality, and increase property value. From enjoying enhanced natural light and seamless indoor-outdoor connection to improving energy efficiency, the benefits are numerous. Remember to choose the right window for conversion, customise your new patio doors to match your home’s aesthetics, and engage professional installation services. With careful planning, a clear budget, and the right contractor, you can assure a successful conversion that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

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