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What Makes French Patio Doors Different from Standard Patio Doors

You’ve finally decided you’ve fought your last battle with that sticky, difficult-to-open patio door. You’ve smashed your nose against the glass for the last time. It needs to be replaced NOW! Simple enough to do, right? After all, you live in the San Francisco North Bay Area. Several replacement window contractors are serving Marin and Sonoma Counties. But when talking with the different window consultants, they kept showing you options – sliding patio doors, sliding French doors, hinged patio doors, hinged French doors – so many options! Do you want to replace what you have, or do you want to upgrade – maybe add a bit of style to the place?

Arrrrgh! You’re going to live with these doors for the next 20+years. How do you make the RIGHT choice?

At Save Energy Company, we help you decide what’s best for you and your home by providing straightforward, knowledgeable and experience-based answers to your questions.

What’s the difference between patio doors & French patio doors?

The difference has to do with the size of the frame at the bottom of the door. A standard door has a slim bottom rail. The French patio door has a taller bottom rail, generally 6 – 8 inches in height.  Not as glamorous a difference as the name suggests, right? That’s why marketing guys get paid the big bucks to make things seem more glamorous than they are… That said, standard doors offer a more contemporary, open and streamlined look. French-style doors lend a more classic look.

french patio doors
This is an example of a French-style sliding patio door. Notice how high the bottom rails are.


As indicated earlier, both standard and French patio doors come in sliding or hinged styles. Hinged doors swing either out or in to open.

Hinged patio & French patio doors have one very strong characteristic: they are dramatic. There’s something special about grabbing a handle in each hand and thrusting the doors open with a flourish. It’s all very Hollywood.

patio doors
This is a standard or contemporary sliding patio door. Notice the bottom rails are not as high. They are slightly larger than rest of the frame.


Here are two things to consider when deciding between hinged doors or sliders:

  1. Is there room to swing the doors open on both the outside and inside?
  2. Is the landing on the outside of the doors big enough to make opening the doors from outside easy, convenient?

A third consideration is typically the tie-breaker – what will you be carrying through the door most often? If you carry bulky items like a laundry basket through the doorway, you’ll probably find a slider to be your best option. They typically open wider and can be easily opened with one hand. (Forgot about that, right? Patio doors aren’t made to be difficult to open. They’re made to glide open with one finger!)

Sliding patio doors also give a home a more modern look – even if they are sliding French patio doors.

In the end, choosing the patio door style that’s best for you comes down to aesthetics and functionality. What looks best with your style of home? Which will be easier, more convenient to use, day in, day out?

When you finally decide which is best for you and your home, your Save Energy Company replacement window consultant will guide you through the offerings from their top-quality, nationally-recognized manufacturers, Simonton, Milgard and Marvin.  Of course, then you’ll have to decide what type of frame construction you want – vinyl, fiberglass or wood?  There are key differences and benefits to understand and consider here, too, but that’s a topic for another day. What you won’t have to decide any longer is which story you tell about how you hurt your nose….

Save Energy Windows & Doors: East Petaluma Surprise

We Love Surprises.

Sometimes you love them.  Sometimes you hate them.  They’re like a lot of things in life – context matters. Take owning a home. “Surprise!” isn’t usually an announcement you embrace with open arms.

As replacement window and patio door installers, one thing that makes our work rewarding is surprises. Seriously. We love them. “We never really know what we’re going to find when we take out the old window or door,” commented Luis Flores, the 15-year installation veteran and crew foreman for Save Energy Co.  “The surprises are fun. They’re the challenges to be solved. They make the job interesting.”

One such surprise happened during a recent installation project in East Petaluma.  The crew removed the original sliding patio door. When they cleaned the work area and measured to assess the fitment of the new door, they noticed an extra layer of concrete protruding beyond the edge of the hardwood flooring creating an uneven, narrow sill.

Continue reading…

Post Quarantine Re-Opening | Bay Area Doors and Windows

Save Energy Windows & Doors of Petaluma is back up and running! For over 40 years, we’ve been the premier, locally-owned and family-operated entry door and replacement window contractor of choice in San Francisco, Marin, and Sonoma counties.

We have implemented a number of COVID-19 mitigation measures to help safeguard the health and well-being of our clientele and team members. From initial consult to installation, our product and installation experts will continue to exceed your expectations with health safety as the #1 Priority.

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5 ways your new fiberglass doors will withstand the elements and look new for years to come

Fiberglass entry doors combine a modern look that is almost indistinguishable from wood with technology and energy-saving features to shield your home from the elements for years to come.

Here are five ways that new fiberglass doors from Save Energy are able to withstand harsh weather conditions and still look like new for years to come.

A vector images of water entering through a front door.1. Hydroshield Technology

• Protects against moisture and humidity
• Prevents mildew
• Guards against water infiltration
• Minimizes warping Continue reading…

5 Steps to Keep Your Wood Doors Looking Beautiful

Wood doors have been welcoming family, friends and strangers for centuries. Quality-built wood doors can last and look beautiful for decades — when they are properly and routinely maintained.

Here are five tips on how to care for your wood doors and help them look beautiful — and keep out the elements from your home — for years to come!

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Demand the best from your window company

Window InstallationWhat do you need to look for when it comes to home window replacements and installation?  How about a window company with:

  • Experienced, certified, factory-trained and in-house;
  • Crews that show up on time, or calls to tell you when they’re going to arrive – before they’re late
  • The experience to spot hidden issues like mold and dry rot and make the proper remediation;
  • Meticulous cleanup so that it looks like they weren’t even there (don’t take our word for this, check the 100+ reviews on Yelp)!

If this sounds like the way you want your window installation project to flow, then give us a call at Save Energy Windows and Doors. Whether you’re in San Francisco, Marin, San Rafael, Petaluma, Sonoma or Santa Rosa, we’ve got the crews to get the job done to your high-standards… and satisfaction. Continue reading…

7 Reasons Why You’ll Love Your New Replacement Windows

Here are seven reasons why we think you’re going to LOVE your new replacement windows from Save Energy:

  1. Reduce your heating and cooling costs
  2. Eliminate 99.5% of Ultraviolet damage
  3. Increase comfort, decrease drafts
  4. Enhance peace, quiet and tranquility
  5. Greatly reduce maintenance needs
  6. Improve home security
  7. Enhance exterior beauty and “curb appeal”

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Can a Candle in the Wind Really Help Reduce Your Home Energy Bill?

A candle in front of a wintery window. Save Energy is more than just a name to us – it’s also our mission. We truly want to help homeowners make their homes more energy efficient. That desire is part of the DNA of our company.

With that in mind, here’s a tip that will help increase the comfort of your home and help you save on your heating bill during these last few weeks of winter: hunt down pesky drafts.

Have you ever noticed one room or a section of a room in your house always seem colder? The likely cause is a draft – a flow of cold, outside air that enters your home through cracks around doors, windows and/or vents. If you can find the source of the draft, you can take steps to alleviate it. So, how do you find the pesky thing without taking a magnifying glass to every door and window? Here’s a quicker, easier way:

  • On a windy day (and we get plenty of them), light a candle, tea light, incense stick or pluck a strand of hair (ouch!)
  • Slowly move the candle, incense or hair strand around door jams, window sills and vents
  • Look for flame flickers/smoke or any wavering of the hair strand not caused by your movement – BINGO! You’ve found the source of the draft.

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How can windows help prevent condensation and mold in your home?

With the cold damp weather now upon us, it’s not unusual for many homeowners to start noticing more condensation and even mold on the inside of their windows. Needless to say, this is not a good thing for either one’s home or health, so let’s look at the causes and some possible solutions to these problems.

Condensation forms on the inside of windows when moist interior air hits the cold surface of the glass or window frame. Moisture builds up in your home from many sources including breathing, showering, cooking, cleaning dishes, plants, to name the most common. In some cases, things like fish tanks and other water sources inside the home can make a bad situation even worse.

Once the moist air from these sources hits the cool surface on the inside of windows, condensation starts to build up and, if untreated, that moisture can drip down onto the window sash and window sill and start rotting them out.

Extended periods of moisture can also allow mold to grow. Mold is both unsightly and unhealthy, particularly for those with a weakened immune system.

What’s the best solution to prevent mold from growing?

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Why Is It So Difficult to Find A Good Contractor?

Why is it so difficult to find a good contractor?

When you are finally ready to remodel your kitchen, put on a deck, replace your windows, or whatever your home improvement needs might be, the hard part is always finding the right contractor to do the job.

Of course, personal referrals are still the best, but not always.  The person that supplied you with the referral may have loved working with their contractor but they may have different personalities than you and you might find that while the contractor’s work is great, you just don’t get along with them personally. This may not be a big concern if you are doing a job that takes only a few days or a week, but you may not want to hire him or her if you are doing something longer like a kitchen remodel or an addition. Continue reading…