How to Insulate Sliding Glass Doors for Winter

An outdoor view of a sunroom on a snowy winter day

Sure, your sliding glass door is an attractive entryway, but how efficient is it? It should come as no surprise that sliding patio doors can be a major source of heat loss in a home. If not sufficiently insulated, sliding glass doors can make a room drafty or downright cold. This is particularly true for older doors, doors that are weathered from exposure to the elements, and doors without double pane glass.

If you suspect your sliding glass door may be contributing to unwanted temperature fluctuations in your home, here are steps you can take to mitigate the loss of heat and energy.  

Five Ways to Winterize a Sliding Glass Patio Door

  1. Keep the door Track clean and free of debris - The simplest and easiest way to keep your sliding glass door from leaking is by keeping the track and rollers clean. Dirt, gravel or other debris may prevent the door from sliding and sealing optimally.
  2. Replace existing curtains with insulating thermal curtains - Thermal-lined curtains are thick, insulated curtains that block drafts and help prevent the loss of heat through windows and doors. Learn more about thermal curtains on last week’s blog post.
  3. Install plastic window film - Specially designed plastic window film (also known as home window tinting) is an inexpensive, temporary solution that can help to insulate single pane glass doors during the coldest months of the year. Designed for windows, plastic window film is manufactured to be cut to size and can be tailored to fit any glass surface. 
  4. Add or replace old weather stripping - “Weather stripping” is the material or lining attached to the door that squishes between the door and the door frame, floor, or door jamb to create a seal. Weather stripping is commonly applied to single pane windows, double pane windows and doors of all varieties to keep rain, wind and snow out of a home or business. Over time, weather stripping deteriorates and becomes brittle, reducing its effectiveness. Fresh new weather stripping can be purchased at your local hardware store and easily installed. Common varieties of weather stripping include tubular rubber, silicone or vinyl, foam tape, v strip and felt.
  5. Caulk the exterior of the door - Exterior caulk can deteriorate over time. Increase the efficiency of your frame by removing any damaged caulk and carefully replacing it. Choose a high-quality window caulking rope and caulk gel to ensure your work lasts for years to come.

Is It Time to Replace Your Sliding Glass Door?

All the curtains, caulk and film in the world won’t fix a broken sliding glass door or a glass door with single pane windows. If your sliding glass door is not made with an insulated glass unit or if its structural integrity is compromised, you need professional repair and replacement. Don’t wait. Let Glass Doctor fix your panes! Contact your local Glass Doctor or schedule an appointment online for a sliding glass door repair or replacement consultation.