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Creating a seamless transition between indoor living and the beauty of outdoors is a summer essential for homeowners. We partnered with Andersen Windows & Doors, Marvin Windows & Doors and Pella Windows and Doors to share their insights on patio doors and windows, as well as their role in creating comfortable outdoor living spaces.

What are the latest trends you're seeing in patio doors, windows and outdoor living spaces?

  1. Uninterrupted views

Marvin: We’re seeing homeowners show preference for larger doors, aligning with the desire for expansive glass panels to offer uninterrupted views and facilitate a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. Homeowners are increasingly embracing this indoor-outdoor living trend, emphasizing the connection with nature and maximizing natural light in their homes.

  1. Indoor/outdoor rooms

Pella: Leveraging a home’s entire floorplan, including the outdoors, continues to capture the interest of homeowners and carries the needs of the summer season. We are seeing increases in the number of indoor/outdoor rooms such as mud rooms, outdoor kitchens and entertainment spaces.

  1. More exposure to nature

Pella: Access to greenery is increasing, whether it’s plenty of light for indoor plants or access to the exterior as whole. More personalized buildings have even shown off site specific features with window placements being “off” for a standard facade but highlighting features of the landscape.

Andersen: We’re excited to see some fascinating trends emerging in patio doors, windows and outdoor living spaces. We believe this is driven by a few macro-currents including an emphasis on overall health and the positive impact of exposure to nature.

  1. Customization of light wells

Pella: We have also seen the customization of light wells within a home, which are dynamic features bringing light into shady areas and often allowing for things like large trees, biophilia and specialized retreats within a home. Window and door products across many price points continue to show off large amounts of glass, slim lines and features. Big doors continue to be a popular solution, but many options within 3- and 4-panel sliding patio doors can create similar, more cost-effective solutions.

  1. Quality over quantity

Andersen: Homeowners are increasingly prioritizing quality over quantity, focusing on building better, not necessarily bigger. This means they are investing in elevated finishes and unique design elements, rather than simply adding more square footage. Thoughtful layouts and high-quality materials create intimate, well-designed spaces that feel luxurious and personal.

  1. Comeback of traditional designs

Andersen: Traditional designs are also making a strong comeback. While sleek, modern aesthetics remain popular, there’s a noticeable shift towards embracing traditional styles that offer a timeless and comfortable appeal. This trend is an “anti-trend” with real staying power, adding a layer of warmth and familiarity to contemporary homes.

  1. Emphasis on functional flow

Andersen: We’re also seeing a significant influence from hospitality and travel sectors on residential design. The emphasis on functional flow means homes are being designed to enhance social gatherings and entertainment. Open layouts and versatile spaces make it easier to host and connect with friends and family, bringing a touch of vacation luxury into everyday living.

  1. Use of open corners

Andersen: One of the most exciting developments is the use of open corners to illuminate spaces and bridge indoor and outdoor realms. Corner windows and doors have become architectural gems, capturing more sunlight and providing expansive views. These features create seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces, redefining how we experience our homes.

Photo Credit: Pella

What innovative features can patio doors offer to enhance usability and functionality?

  1. Enhanced blinds design

Pella: Pella Lifestyle Series wood patio doors offer blinds and shades between the glass. Intentionally designed to be accessible, these integrated blinds and shades are tucked between glass panes and are protected from dust, pets and little hands.

Additionally, these blinds and shades increase sound and energy performance, and they can be motorized to raise and lower via a remote control or with a smart device.

  1. Multi-point locking systems

Marvin: Flush sills are popular and provide a seamless transition from interior to exterior with improved accessibility and reduced tripping hazards. Minimalist pull and latch handles on patio doors ensure easy operation, while a secure multi-point lock provides safety and a tight seal.

Andersen: Our patio doors are designed with many innovative features that enhance usability, functionality and energy efficiency. One of the standout features is the multi-point locking system. This system provides multiple locking points along the door frame, significantly increasing security and improving the seal against drafts and water infiltration.

  1. Advanced glass technology

Andersen: Another key feature is high-performance Low-E glass. This advanced glass technology reflects heat, enhances energy efficiency and reduces UV light penetration, which helps protect your interior furnishings from fading. It’s a smart choice for anyone looking to maintain a comfortable indoor environment year-round.

  1. Custom sizing & design

Andersen: Customization is also a significant aspect. With options like built-in blinds or grilles between glass panes, homeowners can enjoy easy maintenance, enhanced privacy and better light control sometimes replacing the need for external window treatments. This adds to the overall convenience and sleek look of the doors. Custom sizing and design options also allow customers to tailor the dimensions and aesthetics of their doors to fit their space perfectly and match their home decor.

Photo Credit: Marvin

For larger openings, what solutions can maximize light and space while maintaining structural integrity?

  1. Customize to the space

Andersen: When dealing with larger openings, it’s essential to first assess the rough opening (RO) to understand the space’s structural capabilities before even starting to specify the product solutions. This evaluation helps determine what the space can handle, particularly in renovation projects. It’s crucial to identify if the wall is load-bearing and consider the structural implications before selecting products.

The focus should be on choosing the right size and operation to achieve the desired look and functionality. The best advice is not to think entry vs. patio vs. big door but about the best solution for that specific rough opening. Whether it’s a hinge door, MultiGlide door or another configuration, the goal is to find the best option for that opening that meets the customer’s needs. Andersen has a variety of options for every situation, including a full big door portfolio which maximizes light but also other configurations that may be more appropriate for the opening such as a four-panel patio door.

  1. Consider sliding doors

Marvin: For larger openings, Marvin products such as the Ultimate Sliding Door and Ultimate Sliding French Door G2 ensure a seamless and consistent aesthetic across different door types. They’re designed with widths up to 16’ and heights up to 10’, making it easy for homeowners to maximize airflow, views and natural light within a home.

  1. Use durable products

Pella: Pella is proud to offer a full portfolio of Pella 250 Series vinyl patio doors to achieve your project’s design requirements. It offers hinged, sliding, multi-slide and bifold patio door options to meet the needs of almost every home. These expansive doors maximize light, airflow and improve entertaining spaces.

Photo Credit: Andersen

Can you discuss the various window styles and their suitability for different design applications when it comes to enhancing outdoor spaces?

Marvin: Windows have virtually endless style options including awning, bay and bow, casement, single and double hung, picture, specialty shape, sliding and even corner configurations. When it comes to maximizing airflow, casement or awning windows are an ideal choice. Other styles like the narrow frames on windows within Marvin’s Signature product line allow for unobstructed views and plenty of natural light.

Pella: Strut awning windows are a new take on an old style that is commonly used as a pass-through window for a countertop bar or outdoor dining area. These windows provide a seamless connection to the outdoors and a convenient link between culinary activities and outdoor entertainment.

Andersen: Choosing the right window style can significantly impact the design and functionality of your home.

Single-hung and double-hung windows are great options in a wide variety of designs. The single-hung option is the more affordable one of the two where only the bottom sash moves, so it’s about the space, ventilation and light needs.

Gliding windows, on the other hand, are ideal for wide openings since their sashes slide horizontally along a track, making them easy to operate.

Casement windows, which open outward with a crank, are also easy to operate and are especially popular above kitchen sinks due to their ease of use. Awning windows, which are like casement windows but hinged at the top and opening outward from the bottom, offer modern aesthetics and great ventilation, even during rain.

Bay and bow windows are ideal in many designs but are especially helpful with smaller footprints as they project outward, creating extra interior space and adding architectural interest.

Pass-through windows, which are newer introductions, are beloved in kitchens because they facilitate easy serving and interaction between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Photo Credit: Pella

For projects with limited space, what creative solutions expand outdoor living areas?

  1. Designs like pass-through windows

Andersen: There are so many creative solutions that can significantly enhance outdoor living areas. Think floor-to-ceiling windows that offer stunning views and make small patios or balconies feel larger by enhancing the sense of continuity between the indoors and outdoors.

Another idea is incorporating window seats in areas adjacent to outdoor spaces that adds both seating and storage while creating cozy nooks that encourage use of the space. A pass-through window between the kitchen and outdoor dining areas can make outdoor dining more convenient and enjoyable.

Pella: When space is limited, it’s important to find the features that matter – is it airflow? Easy access to your space? Light at important times of the day? A seamless transition? Is it automation of any of those? Each of these can be accommodated with features, options, glass packages and more when trying to hone on in the project that might make your space max livable.

Small spaces are also a great place to incorporate new ideas like opening a space with a pass-through window or a Dutch door, which makes a statement, but serves needs like keeping pets and littles inside while able to connect and entertain outside.

  1. The “small” big door

Andersen: The “small” big door concept involves using a compact two-panel design that offers the expansive feel and easy access of larger doors without overwhelming the space or budget. This solution strikes a balance between luxury and practicality, ensuring that even smaller projects benefit from enhanced natural light and an open feel.

Pella: Small spaces are also where a re-think of using an 8’ door in a previously standard 6’8” spot are also another way to add to your view and light and air access and an often dramatic before and after.

Photo Credit: Andersen

With the right window and door partner, there are so many ways to transform homes into functional, comfortable and inspiring spaces to work and relax throughout the season. By incorporating these elements with a trusted manufacture, you can blend the beauty of nature with the functionality of your indoor life: https://www.openuptoperformance.com/manufacturers/

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The Understanding Window, Door & Skylight Certification webinar is designed to help architects and remodelers understand the benefits of window, door and skylight certification and how certified products can enhance their projects.

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