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Why We Changed Our Patio Doors + Why I Now Think Garden Doors Are Better Than Sliding Patio Doors

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this, so I’m going to explain why we changed our patio doors after my turquoise patio door makeover – and why I now think that garden doors are better than sliding patio doors.  You’re also getting a little peek at the (mostly completed) new house exterior!  If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably already seen a ton of progress photos and video in my stories, as well as a juicy before/after slideshow.  I’ll be sharing the full scoop on our house exterior renovation in the new year, but I wanted to sneak in before the year ends with this one post about the doors leading to the deck.

Why We Hate Our Marvin Integrity Sliding Door, Why We Changed Our Patio Doors + Why I Now Think Garden Doors Are Better Than Sliding Patio Doors

This whole exterior renovation kind of snowballed into a much bigger project than we planned for – and a much bigger project than the company we hired could manage, to be honest.  I think that the owner was ill-equipped to handle a renovation this size and I wish I had recognized that because I was definitely in over my head too and could have benefited from someone more experienced to walk me through it.  Prior to this we owned a condo townhouse, where we weren’t even allowed to replace (or paint!) the front door, so renovating an entire house exterior was a scary BIG new project for us.

When we talked about replacing the windows, I wanted to replace the garden doors too but it just seemed like too much $$$ to replace everything at once.  There was lots of talk of capping windows and doors and when we finally settled on new black windows, no one thought to tell me that none of this “capping” would cap the white part of our garden doors.  So picture the black windows, black soffit, black trim, black deck and then a thin strip of white on our old garden doors!

Why We Hate Our Marvin Integrity Sliding Door, Why We Changed Our Patio Doors + Why I Now Think Garden Doors Are Better Than Sliding Patio Doors

I asked for clarification about this and the answer I got was, “uh, yeah, I guess you should order a new door”.  Sigh.  With only weeks to go before the renovation was supposed to start, I frantically tried to order a door but every place we called was back-ordered like crazy.  Because we live so close to the border, I started calling home improvement stores in the US and finally got a lead: the Marvin Integrity line is guaranteed in 10 business days.  The downside was the glass would be double pane, while our new windows were going to be triple pane, but we were assured it was a very high quality door.  I had never purchased from Marvin but from what I read online, I thought it was a high quality brand.  Our sliding doors certainly weren’t cheap!  Hubby always thought that garden doors are better than sliding patio doors, but I had my heart set on sliding glass doors.  The old garden doors had a really thick frame, which blocked light and the view, and I didn’t like how they swung open.  They were actually one of the first makeovers I tackled in the lakehouse (you can see here what they looked like before if you keep scrolling):

We decided to go ahead and order the Marvin Integrity sliding patio doors to meet the deadline.  We had to borrow a trailer from my father-in-law and drive to the States to pick it up ourselves – which was nerve wracking.  It’s heavy!  And very breakable.  I’m getting freakishly strong, because my favorite part of fire department training is cutting open cars and the jaws of life weigh over 50 pounds, so we managed. 🙂  Installation wasn’t fun (luckily the siding guys did it for us), and that’s when we realized that the way the original windows and doors were installed, the manufactured stone couldn’t stay.  I had originally wanted to remove that but was told it was too difficult, so my Mom and I spent weeks painting it.  But that’s a rant for a different day!

Why We Hate Our Marvin Integrity Sliding Door, Why We Changed Our Patio Doors + Why I Now Think Garden Doors Are Better Than Sliding Patio Doors

Oh yeah, did I mention the new door somehow ended up shorter?  We are CERTAIN we measured correctly but, ta da, shorter.  Luckily we always have a ton of building supplies lying around so we could supply some 2x4s to frame out the new door.  For weeks that bugged me so much, but I actually forgot about it until I was editing these photos so I guess I’ve gotten over it!

Why We Hate Our Marvin Integrity Sliding Door, Why We Changed Our Patio Doors + Why I Now Think Garden Doors Are Better Than Sliding Patio Doors

Once the new door was installed, I realized it leaked air (and water) like CRAZY!

Marvin Integrity Sliding Patio Door Leaking Water

Neither Marvin, nor the small town hardware store we ordered the door from, were very helpful because I was in Canada and I had purchased it in the States (again: my mistake!).  Had I been located in the US, apparently they would have sent out a technician and immediately fixed the problem (apparently).  For my case, the hardware store just never returned my calls/emails but Marvin initially tried to blame installation, no matter how many times I explained that the major problem was on the fixed pane of glass itself – I even sent photos of the weird gap on the fixed panel of the patio doors:

Marvin Integrity Sliding Door Leaking Cold Air

They were very friendly and made big promises, but weeks passed and they were very slow to offer any help.  It was only after I casually mentioned that a I run a DIY blog did I get impressively long and detailed troubleshooting emails.  In the end, after looking at the schematic drawings we were emailed, we figured out ourselves that the fixed door had not been fabricated properly.  We had to kind of take it apart and put it together tighter so the seal could engage.  It had nothing to do with the installation, it was just made poorly and incorrectly.  The siding guys awesomely spent time to help Hubby and I with this, and I’m so appreciative because although the owner was a real goober, his employees knew what they were doing and were incredibly helpful.  This Marvin sliding patio door no longer blows air in, but it’s still a crappy door.  It is very rickety and creaks loudly in the wind like you’d expect an old, cheap sliding door to, plus it is currently frozen shut because the water doesn’t weep properly (and leaks in to the house, but luckily the dogs like lapping it up), and it’s got this weird beige track that looks awful.  I ordered black exterior/white interior – why they thought slapping some beige on would look good is beyond me.

Seeing that the exterior renovation ended up being 3+ months overdue, I now realize I could have ordered ANY door I wanted in the world and gotten a much better quality door, probably for a lot less money.  That makes me angry but let’s look at photos and appreciate that at least it’s all black!  Except for that frigging beige part…

Why We Hate Our Marvin Integrity Sliding Door, Why We Changed Our Patio Doors + Why I Now Think Garden Doors Are Better Than Sliding Patio Doors

Why?  Just why?

Hubby was right: at least for our geographical location, garden doors are better than sliding patio doors!  Now that I’ve experienced both the sliding patio doors and garden doors, I can confidently say that the old garden doors, even though they were 20 years old, sealed much more tightly.  So I definitely agree now that garden doors are better than sliding patio doors – although my only frame of reference are these lousy sliding doors (and the old ones in the townhouse).  The garden doors also always opened, whereas this sliding door freezes shut the second any water or snow gets in the track.  One downside to the garden doors though, was that sometimes the window whipped it out of my hand and it slammed open, which resulted in some dents where it had hit the door stop with a lot of force.  The sliding door, obviously, doesn’t do that, which I really like – it was one of the reasons I wanted to switch to a sliding door.  Hilariously, the dogs aren’t used to it and still run into the screen door (do they not see it?) every. single. time.

I think I would choose a garden door in the future and luckily this door can be replaced down the road, we just don’t have the money right now.  Or for the foreseeable future.  This might be a retirement project.  Until then, I will enjoy how this sliding door is all glass so it lets in way more light (yay!), showcases the view better (yes!!) and looks better than the old door (except for the beige track).  When it was first installed, I loved it so much more than our old garden doors – but everything is better in the summer.  When the wind is whipping off the lake and we’ve been plunged into frigid temperatures, I hate this leaky, creaky thing.  Now that our windows, which are manufactured in Toronto, are installed, it’s very apparent how cheaply made this Marvin door is by comparison.

Why We Hate Our Marvin Integrity Sliding Door, Why We Changed Our Patio Doors + Why I Now Think Garden Doors Are Better Than Sliding Patio Doors

So that’s the story of our patio doors: why we replaced them after I took the time to give them a makeover, and why I now think garden doors are better than sliding patio doors!  (And why I’d never buy from Marvin again – yeesh).  There have definitely been some ups and downs with this exterior renovation – I have so much more juicy drama to share.  But I’ve learned a lot of lessons here and luckily this particular problem can be fixed at some point in the future and we can just get a much better quality door.  It’s actually not all bad news because had we kept the old door and decided to replace it later, the way it was installed would have meant we would have had to remove some of the siding.  At least now, because this door installed differently, it’s much easier to replace.  So there’s some good news in there.  There’s always good news in there somewhere.

Why We Hate Our Marvin Integrity Sliding Door, Why We Changed Our Patio Doors + Why I Now Think Garden Doors Are Better Than Sliding Patio Doors

P.S. Check out the old patio door makeover here, the tutorial for my wood burned step here, and the OG fake french door makeunder here.  As you can see, after polling everyone with choices on Instagram stories, I chose the copper Westinghouse Ferry Lights (details soon).  If you’re shopping for outdoor lights, you can find them on Amazon.  I am in love with them!  They match the copper roof so perfectly and I am smitten with the subtle nautical vibes.

Why I Regret Replacing my Garden Doors for Patio Doors



  1. December 27, 2018 / 10:07 am

    Yes, this was a great decision. I don’t know about the rest of your audience but I like doors and windows to be just doors and windows. I know people love an accent and something new but before it just looked too much. Great choice!
    BTW, I found some great chairs like the ones in your kitchen, at a very good price. has a great selection of Eames rocking chairs to complement your choice of chairs. Mid-Century at its finest.
    Keep rocking!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      December 30, 2018 / 2:23 am

      I do love the look of the black sliding doors, I just wish they were less rickety, lol. But the overall look is very streamlined and I can’t imagine what the siding would look like if I had kept the painted stone and the turquoise doors – I think it would have looked way too busy for sure, I agree! I’m so happy you found some great mid-century modern style chairs, that’s so awesome!!

  2. Stephanie
    December 27, 2018 / 10:18 am

    I know it’s a real cheap option– but could you very carefully and strategically put some black electrical or duct tape over that beige part? Paint would wear, but tape might do the trick and wouldn’t be super noticeable.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      December 27, 2018 / 1:58 pm

      That’s a really clever idea! I’ll probably have to wait until spring because right now it’s full of snow, but I like it, thank you!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 10, 2019 / 10:03 am

      Thanks Katy. I’m working on it – trying to sneak out on warmer days to finish photos.

      I WANTED something like that! So gorgeous! I tried to convince Handy Hubby, but we couldn’t for a variety of reasons. For one, it would have meant major structural changes – we’d have to rip out and replace the entire header. By the time I decided to replace the doors, it was too late for something like that – and that was more structural change than we wanted done anyway. Also, around here it gets SO cold, so Hubby wanted to limit the number of doors we have. To give up our amazing new, triple pane fixed windows for a massive wall of doors like that would have meant weakening the heat retention of our house. As it is, sliding doors were a terrible choice compared to the garden doors, which seal tightly. If we replace them, we’re going back to something which seals better – nothing that slides. And to be honest, I’m not sure how often I’d keep them open all the way. I need to keep the dogs in and the wildlife out (like bears and foxes – the latter have already sneaked into our house before, haha). But I wanted that same airy, summer feel of those Euro-sliders, which is why I decided to go for traditional sliding patio doors where I could use the screen door for a breeze and nice summery feel, but keep everyone in/out. The old garden doors didn’t feel “summery” because I could only open the right side like a casement window. But when I move somewhere warmer, those doors are on my wishlist for sure!! 🙂

      • Katy
        January 10, 2019 / 5:50 pm

        Thanks for the info! You’re right – despite being beautiful, not sure how practical the huuuuge doors would be for anyone with children/dogs or anything that needs to be contained inside or outside, plus the heat loss.

        Looking forward to the future Dans le Warmer Climate Lakehouse! x

        • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
          January 10, 2019 / 11:20 pm

          There’s so much to think about when renovating! My brain is full. There are some thing we got right (triple pane glass for the win) and some we definitely did not. It’s so difficult to see cool ideas and know they’re just not right for this climate/budget – and dogs are always a problem, lol. I am also looking forward to Dans le Somewhere Always Sunny but that might be a dream… 🙂

  3. Heather
    January 9, 2019 / 6:19 pm

    From a US perspective, Marvin is a solid middle brand.

    Did you buy it from an independent home builder supply company or a big box retailer like Lowe’s or Home Depo? I ask because often the major brands will have one version of their product for the big box stores and another for professional building suppliers. For example, Delta faucets have one line with plastic guts while the builders supply line have brass guts. The pricing is only slightly less at the big box but not worth it in the long run.

    The black door looks Great! Check into a spray paint for the track. The name escapes me know but there is a specialty spray paint made for PVC that might hold up to the friction.

    We had our cabin renovation designed with either a French door or a slider. I hated giving up the floor space for a French door but didn’t want to mess with a slider. Our solution was a full view passage door and side by side double hung (quite large) windows.

    I would move up the complaints to Marvin. Are you on twitter? Regardless of price and purchase point, the door should properly seal.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      January 10, 2019 / 9:52 am

      I honestly thought Marin was pretty solid too, from what I had heard (probably from advertising lol). I know what you’re saying about big boxes having the lower end of a good brand exclusive to them. I bought from a local (to MN) hardware store who ordered right from Marvin. It even has a little serial number that tells me when/where it was made and sold and dates. It was made to order (I think) because I could change a couple of details (like dark hardware outside and light inside).

      I’ll look into the PVC paint idea – might be trickier now that it’s installed. Can’t be a spray…

      I do need to email Marvin back (once again) but I really ran out of steam for dealing with them. They were super nice, but really really slow and I had to follow up a LOT.

      I wish I had kept the old style of door – you made a smart decision!

  4. Jenny Jenkins
    September 3, 2019 / 2:19 pm

    Thanks for this post. I recently got a new patio door myself and it’s amazing just how much easier the patio door slides. You wouldn’t have thought this small adjustment would make my life better but that was just wrong. Anyway I live in dallas and purchased the door from conservation construction. I would recommend them, but they are local!

    • September 3, 2019 / 2:23 pm

      So jealous you live in Dallas and don’t have to worry about the cold, haha! Although I guess keeping the heat OUT is another problem right? Thanks for the recommendation – always nice to know what brands to trust!

  5. TK
    May 13, 2020 / 6:13 am

    Hi – is your sliding door black on the outside and white on the inside? If yes, how was this managed? (didn’t even know it was a thing!)

    • May 13, 2020 / 10:46 am

      Hi, yes! Same with my windows, they’re also black outside and white inside. I always though black windows were made with black plastic that was tinted black through and through but, in the case of the manufacturer’s I’ve dealt with anyway, the windows are made white and then simply painted black, which allows them to paint just the exterior.

  6. Susan
    May 30, 2020 / 11:09 pm

    One good thing about our sliders is our dog who was about the size of yours could open the slider by himself. We never did get him to close it though.

    Do you have a post about replacing the windows? That’s coming up for us soon (yikes) and we are in the GTA.

    • May 31, 2020 / 3:08 pm

      Lol! That’s so funny! One time Szuka (the bigger pup) opened our old garden doors! They weren’t locked, but they were closed, and she bumped the door knob with her nose and managed to open it and chase the geese. She has not figured out how to open these doors, although some days she hurled herself at the glass and I wonder if it will hold up… they’re so cheap, lol.

      I do have a post about the windows:

      I am, two years later, happy with the quality but not the installation. One glass pane also cracked and the manufacturer has blamed the installer and vice versa – hoping they fix it. I’ve waited over a year dealing with the terrible company I hired but the windows themselves seem to be excellent quality (different brand than door) and they are made in Toronto I believe. We chatted with the manufacturer a few times and the company seemed on the ball as well. So I’d recommend checking them out because I loved all of my options to customize and the triple pane is amazing for winters. Anyway, the company’s name was Window Force Incorporated. Good luck with your window replacement project!

  7. April 19, 2022 / 7:32 pm

    I never considered that window exteriors can be any kind of personalized color. I need to get a sliding door replacement for the backyard. My old one broke when my kids ran through it.

    • April 19, 2022 / 8:17 pm

      That must have been so terrifying! I hope everyone was okay! When I have purchased windows and this sliding door, I had some stock options but it was not unlimited.

  8. Courtney
    August 10, 2022 / 6:31 pm

    I realize this post is a few years old, but just stumbled across it since we’re about to replace a window with sliding doors (we’re in Minnesota so hopefully our door isn’t quite as leaky as yours… fingers crossed!). I wanted to do a single out swing patio door so we didn’t have to mess with structural changes, but was told by our building inspector that doors have to swing in because the snow builds up outside and blocks egress. I’m so jealous that you can do out swing! Anyways, doors look great at least and hope you can swap them out soon

    • August 10, 2022 / 8:22 pm

      Maybe code is different here? Or was, when this house was built? I ended up keeping these sliding doors because I just couldn’t afford to replace them again. And I don’t miss the garden doors! I hated them in the winter, letting the dogs out at night. I do prefer a sliding door for so many things it’s just that the garden doors were way more air tight for cold climates! So I miss that about them for sure. These are still leaky and awful lol. Good luck with your reno! I hope you will love your new doors.

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