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How to Winterproof a Sliding Glass Door


Sliding glass doors are a treat to have in the summer! Sliding open the patio doors to step out into the sun and allow a cool breeze to blow through the house is one of the joys of sliding doors. The natural light that glass doors let in can create a welcoming atmosphere in your living area.

Unfortunately, summer doesn’t last forever, and once winter arrives, you may find that prepping your doors for winter will save you loads of cold and wet trouble in the long run.

But why should you take the time to winterproof a sliding glass door?


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Why winterproof your sliding glass door?

Preparing your sliding glass door for winter is essential to ensure you keep your home energy efficient in the winter, and keep your sliding door in great shape so that it lasts for years to come. By following the steps in the section below, you’ll also ensure that cold air stays outside and your home remains a comfortable place to relax during the winter months.

There are two main issues that you may run into with a sliding door in the cold weather; lack of insulation and the patio door freezing in place.

Energy Efficiency

Sliding glass doors don’t provide much insulation and can be a major source of heat loss in a home. By adding insulation to your sliding glass doors, you can create a more energy efficient environment in your home.

Fixing your poorly insulated glass door can lead to loads of knock-on benefits that include preventing heat loss and keeping your home warm, creating a cosy atmosphere and lowering your heating bill in the winter.

Freezing doors

By preparing your sliding doors for winter, you can prevent them from freezing in place.

This happens when warm air from inside comes in contact with the cold air outside and causes condensation to develop on the glass. The condensation may then begin to drip into the door track and door frame. Once the heat from inside cools, this condensation can then freeze, causing the door to seal shut from ice.

We’ve written a full article on how to unfreeze your sliding glass doors in the winter, but to avoid it completely, we’ll need to totally winterise your sliding glass patio door.

Ways to winterproof your Sliding Glass Door

To winterproof a sliding patio door, you only need to complete a few steps, which can easily be done at home without the need for a licensed professional.

Let’s look at how to winterproof your sliding patio door this year.


Clean the debris from the door

Keeping the door tracks free of debris during the year can help your door slide smoothly all year long! It’s common for dirt, leaves, sticks, and small stones to get stuck in the door tracks. This and other small debris particles fall into the tracks throughout the year, causing your sliding door to get stuck.

This is particularly important in the winter. If your door is only single-glazed, this could lead to more issues.  Condensation can begin to form on the glass and run down in the tracks of the sliding door. If the tracks haven’t been cleaned, then any debris that is already there will get frozen in place, making it that much harder to defrost and use a frozen sliding door.

You can remedy this by investing in double-glazed doors, which keep the condensation from forming on the outside. Lucky for you, all of our doors here at Aspire come with double glazing, ensuring that you won’t have to worry about freezing condensation or dampness.

By periodically cleaning out the door tracks, you’ll allow the door to open and close without any issues, and give you the space to defrost your sliding patio door if it freezes in place.


Replace weatherstripping

Weatherstripping is a great way to avoid drafts in a home. Weather strips are typically plastic or foam tape that is placed along the doorframe to fill gaps and add a layer of insulation.

If your weather strips haven’t been replaced in a while, you could be experiencing air leaks that lead to a temperature loss. If you find that you have a draft in your house when your doors and windows are closed, then new weather stripping may be the solution you need.

Installing weather stripping is easy to do at home by yourself. You can buy weather stripping from any hardwood store. They typically come wrapped up in a large wheel, ready to be cut to fit your sliding doors. Apply to any exposed edges of your door to create a seal, keeping the heat inside and the cool air outside.


Buy insulated curtains

Blackout curtains, thermal lined curtains, and cellular blinds are additional ways to keep the warm air inside. Typical drapes won’t normally be thick enough to provide proper insulation. Whereas insulated drapes will usually have multiple layers. These extra layers help to provide insulation and cover the exposed edges of your sliding glass door.

Insulating curtains can be bought at most homeware stores and are easy to install – or simply replace your summer curtains with.

Insulating thermal curtains tend to be a bit more expensive than typical curtains. If they are a bit out of your price range, you can layer up your regular curtains to provide extra insulation.


Double Pane Glass

This is a good insulator used in most modern glass doors and windows. Double pane glass works by creating a small pocket of air in between two panes of glass. This pocket of air works as an insulator, keeping the outside pane cold, and the inside pane warm.

Here at Aspire, our Exceed range of sliding doors come with high-performance double glazing that insulates your home and keeps your living areas comfortable and dry.


Install Plastic Window Film

Window treatments, such as plastic window film, are another great way to winterproof a sliding patio door. Plastic window film can add an extra layer of insulation to your patio doors, ensuring that you keep your morale up and your energy bills down.


Caulk the exterior of the door

Use caulk to fill any potential gaps in the doorframe. This will keep any unwanted drafts away during the winter months. You can easily find caulk for sale at hardware stores and can be applied without a licensed professional. Apply the caulk along the outside and inside edges of the doorframe. This process typically only takes 45 minutes to an hour and can last you years when maintained properly.


Use foam or plastic insulation

Install panels of rigid foam insulation on and around your sliding patio doors for a cost-effective insulator. While it may not look pretty, foam and plastic panels are good insulators. They can be bought in thicknesses of 4 to 5 inches and can easily be installed on the part of your glass door that doesn’t open. You will, unfortunately, lose some natural light with this process, but it’s guaranteed to keep your home warm and cosy.

Rigid foam insulation can be bought at any nearby hardware stores.


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When to Replace your Door

The last resort is replacing your sliding glass door.

If you notice that your sliding glass door is off-centre, or not trapping heat, then it may be time for a replacement. When looking for a new door, you’ll want to find one that has double glass panes, and seals heat inside during the winter. While this may seem like a large investment, it can save you loads on your energy bills this winter.

Final thoughts

While sliding glass doors can provide you with all kinds of benefits in the summer, it’s important to keep them maintained so that they can bring just as much joy in the winter. Take a look at our other informative articles about sliding doors here:

Get in touch to discuss your next door renovation project with us.


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