Glass doors are a very important element in any home, as they allow natural light to enter, facilitate ventilation, and isolate from cold, heat, and noise. So, it is very important to know how to insulate sliding glass doors.
However, glass doors are also one of the structural elements through which more heat and cold leaks occur: up to 35% of the total energy of a home. In addition, poorly insulated glass doors can cause water leaks or moisture due to condensation.
How to insulate sliding glass doors?
Below, we explain how to insulate sliding glass doors and if you are interested in installing them in your home.
There are different types of glass doors on the market, depending on their functionality and opening system. Thus, we find casement glass doors, folding glass doors, and sliding glass doors.
The sliding glass doors are opened by moving a leaf laterally on a rail inserted in the frame and common in enclosures of terraces, balconies, and ground floors with exits to the garden and small rooms.
The main advantages of sliding glass doors are:
- They do not take up space. As the panes move from right to left, these glass doors do not encroach on interior spaces.
- They allow more luminosity. Sliding glass doors have thinner frames and sashes, allowing more light to enter the room.
- They are inexpensive. Since the frames and sashes are thinner and their hardware simpler, sliding doors are also usually cheaper.
One of the main drawbacks of sliding glass doors is that they do not have good thermal and acoustic performance because they lack a hermetic seal, they are narrower and they have fewer chambers. For this reason, its thermal insulating value is lower than that of other types of glass doors.
Something similar happens with noise: having a non-watertight closing system, sliding doors obtain a low air permeability rating, and any small hole facilitates the entry of noise.
Why does moisture appear on the glass doors?
There are several types of humidity, but most of the humidity in the glass doors is associated with condensation, especially when they are very fine or not of quality. The thermal bridge does not break because the interior air and the outside are in contact. There is a high-temperature contrast between the interior of the room and the exterior. The warm air when touching the glass and the glass door frame, which are cold, condenses. This condensation can lead to drips on the wall, which cause mold stains.
As some glass doors do not guarantee the breakage of the thermal bridge, the best option to avoid condensation humidity is to insulate them, whatever type they may be.
How to properly insulate sliding glass doors: weatherstripping, sealing, and shutter drawer insulation
There are several methods to isolate sliding glass doors. However, the most widespread is to insulate the profiles with a non-conductive material to prevent the interior and exterior areas from being in contact.
This type of insulation is done with weather stripping. The weatherstripping is adhesive sealing tapes that make the closure airtight and there are no leaks. The weatherstripping can be made of different materials, including foam, rubber, silicone, or brush, a special system for sliding glass doors.
For the rest of the materials, silicone weatherstripping has a greater resistance and durability, and they also allow to cover larger gaps.
At other times, the passage of time causes cracks in the plaster of the wall that borders the glass door frames. These cracks can be the result of a bad installation or because, in the assembly of the glass door or enclosure, a sufficient gap has not been isolated.
In this case, the recommendation to insulate the sliding glass doors from the cold is to use polyurethane foam. The process does not seem complicated: you have to detect the entry of cold, chop the area, apply this material, and then cover the hole and paint. However, as this material must expand correctly throughout the framework, it must be applied in the correct manner and in the correct proportions. And that can only be done by professionals in the sector.
Blind drawer insulation
Finally, to reinforce the insulation of your sliding glass doors, you can bet on insulating the drawer from the blinds, where heat is also often lost. Different materials can be used for this purpose, although the usual ones are rock wool panels and polystyrene sheets.
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