How to Insulate Sliding Glass Doors for Winter

a brown house with a glass sliding door on the outside covered in snow

Sure, your sliding glass door may be an attractive entryway, but just 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, ones that have been exposed to harsh weather conditions, and doors without double-pane glass.

Keep in mind that traditional DIY methods for sliding glass door insulation are only temporary solutions. It’s important to find a professional glass service company to help evaluate your options.

If you suspect your sliding glass door may be contributing to unwanted temperature fluctuations in your home, explore the following options to mitigate heat and energy loss:

Five Ways to Winterize a Sliding Glass Patio Door

As the winter season approaches, it's essential to prepare your home for the colder temperatures to ensure comfort and energy efficiency. One crucial aspect often overlooked is winterizing sliding glass patio doors. These expansive glass surfaces can be a source of heat loss, drafts, and increased energy bill costs if not properly sealed and insulated. Learn how to insulate a glass sliding door below.

1. Keep the Door Track Clean 

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. When these unwanted materials accumulate in the track and rollers, they act as obstacles that prevent the door from sliding effortlessly. This obstruction not only hampers the door's functionality but also compromises its ability to create a secure seal.

2. Replace Existing Curtains with Insulating Thermal Curtains

The best way to insulate a sliding glass door for winter is to use thermal curtains. Thermal-lined curtains are thick, insulated curtains that block drafts and help prevent the loss of heat through windows and doors. Thermal-lined curtains offer a practical and energy-efficient solution for maintaining a comfortable indoor environment.

The added thickness provides an extra layer of insulation to help regulate indoor temperatures by minimizing the exchange of heat with the outside environment. By blocking drafts and preventing heat from escaping, thermal-lined curtains contribute to energy conservation and reduce the need for excessive heating during colder seasons.

3. Install Plastic Window Film

Specially designed plastic window film, or home window tinting, is an inexpensive and temporary solution that can help 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 tailored to fit any glass surface. 

Its affordability and ease of use make it an accessible option for those looking to address insulation concerns without committing to a permanent solution. Trapping a layer of air between the film and the glass also adds an extra level of insulation to minimize drafts.

4. Add or Replace Old Weather Stripping

Weatherstripping is a material or lining that adheres to the area between the door and the door frame, floor, or door jamb to create a seal. Weatherstripping is commonly applied to single-pane windows, double-pane windows, and doors of all varieties to keep rain, wind, and snow out of homes or businesses.

Keep in mind that over time, weatherstripping 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.

The caulking rope provides a reliable barrier against drafts and moisture, while the caulk gel adheres well to surfaces to create a durable seal. By investing in these quality materials and maintaining a vigilant approach to caulking upkeep, you can contribute to the long-lasting integrity of your windows.

What Do You Put Over Sliding Glass Doors in the Winter?

To enhance insulation over sliding glass doors in winter, consider using thermal curtains or drapes. These specially designed curtains have insulating properties that help prevent heat loss and block cold drafts. Another option is to apply window film or insulating plastic to create an additional layer of protection.

Weatherstripping around the door frame can also help seal any gaps and reduce heat transfer. Additionally, draft stoppers or door sweeps at the bottom of the door can further minimize cold air infiltration.

a white glass sliding door inside of a residential home with snow on the outside

Is It Time to Replace Your Sliding Glass Door? Contact Your Local Glass Doctor Professional

All the curtains, caulk, and film in the world won't fix a broken sliding glass door or one 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 and install your sliding glass door insulation! Find a local Glass Doctor location or schedule an appointment online for sliding glass door repair or replacement.