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Old 01-07-2018, 03:09 PM   #1
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Sliding Glass Door Insulation


The East Coast Blizzard revealed some serious deficiencies in the protection afforded the house by the sliding glass doors. The entire back of the house is is composed of them, nine in all of various widths, to maximize a water view. We bought the house in June, and this is the first opportunity we've had to experience some really cold, very windy weather.

Right after moving in, I noticed all the insulated panels had failed in the sliders, so I had the glass replaced. That expense means that we will NOT be replacing all the sliders to get better performance. We need to improve what we have.

Based on observations I've made about construction and remodeling quality in this house, I'm quite certain there is no caulking anywhere on the outside where siding meets door frame, so that is the first thing I'll do when the warm spell arrives later.

On the inside, a MAJOR source of cold air -- it seems to literally blast out of this space, is in the void atop the sliding door. There's a pic.
My plan is to mill up a wood filler for this void, slightly undersized, wrap it with some Fiberglas, and stuff it in there. Anyone with a better idea?

Also, at the bottom of the units in the track where the fixed panel resides, there is lots of cold air coming in, and we've resorted to that standard fix with rolled up towels; some people use larger size pipe insulation, etc. I'm not a big fan of rube goldberg fixes (at least the ones you can see!); are there any better ideas?
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Old 01-07-2018, 04:05 PM   #2
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Re: Sliding Glass Door Insulation


Nothing new. It is the inherent nature of sliders to, over time, become less than perfect in their ability to dispel water and cold air. Looking at the total cross section, you can see how air will move in, up and over the panel. I just pulled 5 sliders from a client's house and replaced with tall casements, maintaining their view. They had other access to the deck anyway. Happy campers.
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Old 01-07-2018, 04:18 PM   #3
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Re: Sliding Glass Door Insulation


You have 2 screw holes in your top jamb, (and a couple marks that indicate a missing part) which to me indicated that someone has removed the draft stop plug that used to be there. On many patio doors there is a wide plug with fuzzy weatherstrip all around that is slid in above your red line, and it is screwed to the top of the door jamb.

To get the sliding door out, you have to remove that plug. So my guess is, whoever changed your glass removed those plugs and never put the back on. Check all your other patio doors and see if any still have the draft plug.
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Old 01-07-2018, 07:14 PM   #4
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Re: Sliding Glass Door Insulation


Quote:
Originally Posted by XSleeper View Post
You have 2 screw holes in your top jamb, (and a couple marks that indicate a missing part) which to me indicated that someone has removed the draft stop plug that used to be there. On many patio doors there is a wide plug with fuzzy weatherstrip all around that is slid in above your red line, and it is screwed to the top of the door jamb.

To get the sliding door out, you have to remove that plug. So my guess is, whoever changed your glass removed those plugs and never put the back on. Check all your other patio doors and see if any still have the draft plug.
You are correct that none of the other doors have the plug. One of the holes is a threaded hole that would have been made by a self tapping screw. The other is just an access hole I think for the hardware that holds the door together.

What are the chances of acquiring these plugs a) if I don't know the manufacturer's name and/or b) I know the lock hardware has a name on it, but it could be just the lock maker instead of door manufacturer...
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:30 PM   #5
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Re: Sliding Glass Door Insulation


No, you don't get it. I'm not talking about the 2 holes in the door. There are 2 small holes in the door frame on top, above the 2 holes you mentioned. There is also a dirty mark where the fuzzy draft plug used to be.

You were asking about cutting a block of wood, wrapping it with insulation, and shoving it in the gap. That is exactly what the draft plug is... and I am saying you HAD a draft plug, and it has clearly been removed, as evidenced by the 2 small holes that go straight up into the top door jamb... and the dirty smudge mark where it used to sit.

The sliding panel cannot be removed unless you take out this draft plug... once it has been removed you can raise the door off the rollers and work on removing the glass. So it would go to reason that if you had someone work on these doors, they removed your draft plug and did not put it back.

So I am saying saying check your other doors and see if they are also missing the fuzzy draft plug.

More pictures of the door might help us identify it. What's the name on the handle?
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Old 01-08-2018, 05:56 AM   #6
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Re: Sliding Glass Door Insulation


Call the manufacturer on the door (if you can determine it) and just get the two lift out plugs with the weatherstripping.

They are both security features as well as designed to stop that draft through that head jamb.
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:37 AM   #7
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Re: Sliding Glass Door Insulation


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Originally Posted by XSleeper View Post

More pictures of the door might help us identify it. What's the name on the handle?
OK, understand the draft plug is stationary; door slides, plug just stays on one spot.

There is no name on the handles of the door; rather, I noted a name six months ago during the glass installation on the locking mechanism inside the end rail of the door. It's not currently possible to discover this name again as its 16 degrees out and the furnace just quit. More problems.

BTW, these plugs were not removed when the glass work was done six months ago, as I discovered the prior owners had inserted cotton balls and other junk in their own crude attempt at stopping the draft.

I think I'll plug the tracks with my wood and fiberglass and when decent weather arrives at the end of the week, take a lock apart and see the name. Thanks for the tips.
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:32 AM   #8
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Re: Sliding Glass Door Insulation


Fiberglass doesn't stop air.

Get a bag of this at home depot and shove it in there.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/M-D-Buil...1480/202066515
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:37 AM   #9
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Re: Sliding Glass Door Insulation


Another vote for "decent weather arrives at the end of the week".
A different suggestion and I have no idea if this can be applied or is acceptable, but that much glass will be terrible even after you get all of the holes plugged. Growing up in Maine I remember helping friends sort out all of the numbered storm windows and installing them every fall and then putting them away in spring. By covering the outside it keeps the glass warmer to avoid condensation as well as heat loss. In some cases, several camps on lakes I'm familiar with they have a covered porch with seasonal storm or screen coverings. Love the views but when winter gets brutal it can really help to have that extra layer of protection.

Enjoy
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Old 01-08-2018, 09:03 AM   #10
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Re: Sliding Glass Door Insulation


You could try contacting PH Tech, and see if they might be able to ship you out some parts. Measure the width of the track above your door... it should be 1 5/8" or so... they can send you enough draft plugs to retrofit all your doors. I'm pretty sure their part would fit.

Google PH Tech patio doors and use their contact info to request the parts.
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