Doors & Windows

4 Ways To Winterize A Sliding Patio Door

patio door winterize lg

Sliding glass doors are a great way to bring natural light into your home. They also open wider than normal doors to allow that cooling breeze to cool your house down in the middle of summer. However, when wintertime rolls around, there are some challenges that a sliding patio door could pose for keeping your home warm in the chilly winter weather.

Here are the four best ways to winterize your sliding patio door and keep your home snug and cozy in winter and cool in summer.

  1. Insulate The Glass In Your Patio Sliding Door.
  2. Keep The Sliding Door Tracks Free Of Debris.
  3. Replace The Rubber Seals On Your Patio Door.
  4. Replace The Sliding Patio Door.

A glass sliding patio door can be a great feature in your home that allows natural light to illuminate the room and allows you to enjoy a view of the outside at the same time. However, if your sliding door is not well maintained, it could become a problem, making it challenging to retain the warmth to keep your home toasty in the wintertime. Many people also forget that a well-sealed sliding door will also help keep your home cooler in the summer!

Insulate The Glass In Your Patio Sliding Door

If your sliding door has a single pane of glass, it will not hold the heat in your home very well. Instead, it will act as a heat sink and suck the warmth from your home, transmitting it to the cold outside air. If your winters do not get cold enough to warrant double pane glass, the solution may insulate the single pane.

The best way to insulate the patio door is with a kit that you can buy from your local hardware store. The kit will consist of a plastic film that you apply to the inside of your glass sliding door. The plastic coating is clear, so it will not restrict the view through the glass of the sliding door.

The plastic film acts as a barrier between the glass and the air inside your home. It prevents the glass from transferring the heat from inside the room to the cold exterior.

It is also important to remember that winterizing your sliding patio door will not only be a benefit in the winter months. An adequately winterized sliding door will also have benefits in the summertime. The insulation will keep your home cooler in the summer using the same principles that keep it warm in winter.

Keep The Sliding Door Tracks Free Of Debris

Removing debris may seem like a solution that is too simple to make much difference, but it does contribute to insulating your sliding doors. Furthermore, it is such a simple remedy that there is no harm or cost in giving this method a go!

Small stones, sand, and other debris on the sliding tracks of the door can lift the door slightly as it runs on the track compromising the ability of the door to seal when closed, and it can create a gap at the bottom of the door when cold air can gain entrance to your home.

The best way to clean the track is with a vacuum cleaner. First, run the vacuum cleaner’s nozzle along the track to remove any sand, stones, or other dirt. Next, run the vacuum along the part of the track exposed when the door is open and the part of the exposed track when the door is closed.

If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner available, you can also brush the dirt out of the tracks by using a stiff-bristled brush to clean out the tracks.

Keeping the sliding door tracks clean will have the added benefit of making the doors easier to open and close.

Replace The Rubber Seals On Your Patio Door

Glass sliding doors have a rubber beading that serves to hold the glass panels in place and seal the edges of the glass from the weather.

Over time, the rubber seals around the glass can deteriorate, which causes it to become brittle, compromising the seal’s effectiveness as a means to keep cold air and drafts out of your home. Replacing the seals will restore the weatherproofing of your sliding patio door.

Patio doors that receive significant exposure to direct sunlight will experience faster deterioration of the rubber seals than doors with some shade during the day. Therefore, on doors exposed to direct sun for much of the day, you may find that replacing the seals around the glass will need to be done every two years or so to maintain the winterization of the patio doors.

Replace The Sliding Patio Door

If your sliding patio door is old, there may be several problems with it, resulting in the doors allowing heat to escape from your home and cold air to come in. At some stage, you will need to weigh up the costs of performing constant maintenance on the old doors or get the sliding doors replaced.

Many older sliding doors were not made to the same precision that you can use to make modern doors. However, door materials and design advancements specifically address the insulation and winterizing to keep the cold out and the heat in.

If you have tried multiple methods to insulate your old sliding patio doors without much success, and you have to do frequent maintenance to keep the door sealed, then you may find that a replacement may be the more cost-effective long-term solution.

If the winters get cold where you live, it is essential to make the proper selection when looking for a new sliding door. Single pane glass doors are very poor insulators, so looking for double-paned doors would be the best option as a replacement.

If you decide that replacement is the route to go, it would be best to get a professional installer to fit the new door. This way, you can ensure that the job will be done correctly and all the proper sealing and fitment took care of. In addition, this will give you confidence that your sliding patio doors will not be a cause for your home being cold in the wintertime!


A drafty sliding patio door is not a benefit to your home in the wintertime. On the contrary, it will cause your home to be cold inside, and your costs to heat your home will increase.

Taking steps to improve the winterization of your sliding patio doors will solve this problem, make your home cozier in the winter and save you money.

Taking these steps will benefit your home in the winter and help keep the heat out of your home in the summer, which will help make your home more comfortable this season too!


Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.