The Evolution of Sliding Glass Doors

Often leading to a patio or balcony, sliding glass doors improve the connection to the outdoors, increase natural light, and enhance views. Although simple sliding doors date back to the first century (when they were used in Roman houses), the addition of glass came much later.

The Beginnings of Sliding Glass Doors

Sliding glass doors first appeared on the market shortly before the start of World War II. It is possible that inspiration came from Japanese shoji: wooden sliding doors with translucent paper covering the gaps in the frame. However, it was more appealing to homeowners in the West to have solid glass rather than paper.

Sliding Glass Doors Today

Sliding glass doors have evolved far from their Japanese origins — in several ways.

More Styles

There is now no need for a lattice frame, which means there is less obstructing the view. In fact, sliding glass doors come in a range of styles, including French sliding doors. These have the aesthetics of a traditional French door but the convenience of a sliding door. They may even have the option of opening at a hinge as well.

In all styles of sliding doors, the quality of glass has improved considerably from the doors of the past. There is a much lower risk of sliding glass doors breaking or becoming damaged by regular use and many can even withstand adverse weather conditions.

Energy Efficiency

Another improvement with modern sliding glass doors is their energy efficiency. Sliding glass doors today are just as energy efficient as windows. In fact, some come with low-emissivity (low-E) glass, which is even more efficient than double-pane windows. This is because low-E glass filters out infrared light, preventing the heat from outdoors from entering. As an added benefit, the glass also filters ultraviolet light, which avoids faded furnishings.

As a result, homeowners these days can turn an entire wall into a sliding glass door and have no need to worry about higher energy bills. Nor do they need to replace any furniture prematurely.

More Applications

Finally, there’s the expansion of the usage of glass doors. Long gone are the days when sliding glass was limited to patio doors for homes; it now appears in commercial settings and indoors.

When installed indoors, sliding glass doors act as room dividers. This allows homes and businesses to create a flexible space that can be open or closed at any time. Better still, closed floor plans allow for privacy without sacrificing natural light. This reduces reliance on artificial light, keeping spaces feeling welcoming and their occupants happy.

The Future of Sliding Glass Doors: Frameless Glass

With the trend toward indoor-outdoor living growing and more homes constructing outdoor rooms, sliding doors are becoming more popular than ever before. In the future, however, you can expect to see fewer clunky sliding doors and more sleek designs — especially frameless glass systems.

Greater Convenience

Frameless sliding glass doors work in a completely different way to their traditional framed counterparts. Instead of running along bottom tracks that jut out and create a ledge, the bottom track is recessed and flush with the floor. This means there is nothing to step over. Plus, the system requires minimal force to open and close. Both these characteristics make frameless sliding glass suitable for users with mobility issues, but they also are more comfortable for everyone.

Open the Doors Fully

Another difference is that you can only ever open half of a traditional sliding door, as one-half of the glass slides over the top of the other. An exception to this is the pocket sliding door, where the glass slides inside a cavity in the wall. Still, this is barely better, as you are still only creating an opening that is half its potential size.

Frameless glass doors avoid this problem entirely. This is because a frameless system is made up of a number of top-hung glass panels that stack on top of each other and fold out of the way. As well as maximizing the size of the opening, this design allows for two more open combinations: air gaps for ventilation and partially open to create a small door at any point in the sliding glass.


Consumers prefer frameless glass doors for their customizability. For instance, you can choose whether the panels stack inside or outside, to the left or to the right — whatever best suits the building. It is also possible to have a frameless sliding door that runs at an angle, as opposed to just 180 degrees.

Greater Security

Finally, frameless glass doors are even stronger than traditional sliding doors. Unlike conventional designs, a would-be intruder cannot push the panels from the tracks. This is combined with a secure locking mechanism, usually on the inside.

Frameless sliding glass doors are not only the future — they are already here. In fact, many homes and businesses are trading their old framed systems for new frameless ones to gain all advantages frameless glass brings.

For more information, contact Cover Glass USA today.

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