Invite the Outdoors In with Moving Glass Walls

Invite the Outdoors In with Moving Glass Walls

In the homeowner hierarchy of desirable features, right after “location, location, location” may very well come “light, light, light.” Even the most compact house feels roomier — and is a happier place to live in — when you can blur the boundaries between indoors and out. Milgard AX550 Moving Glass Walls are perhaps the ultimate way to achieve that, flooding your interiors with natural light as well as, when you slide or fold them open, fresh air.

Their versatility, sophisticated design and cutting-edge engineering are key reasons these glass walls won a 2023 Good Housekeeping Home Renovation Award, says the Good Housekeeping Institute’s home improvement and outdoor director, Dan DiClerico. “An update on the traditional patio door, these multipanel systems are one of the hottest trends in home design,” he says, adding that he made use of the feature on his own most recent home renovation. “It wasn’t cheap, but it’s the best decision we made on the project.”

Let’s take a look at a few of the Milgard AX550 features that impressed our expert engineers and editors.

Seamless Transitions

a living room with a fireplace

Courtesy of Milgard

The large glass panels let you both see and step outside virtually unobstructed. The aluminum frames, which come in four colors (clear anodized, dark bronze anodized, white and tan) are narrow to maximize sightlines, so you seem to be surrounded by the scenery even when you’re sitting squarely in the middle of your living room.

The luxurious expanse of glass allows previously distinct indoor and outdoor areas to merge in a way traditional windows and doors can’t achieve. And if you frequently use your outdoor space for entertaining, you’ll find that moving walls can significantly improve the flow of a party: There’s no longer a traffic jam at the single door to the deck. With the walls swung open or folded back, your terrace, patio or porch essentially becomes part of an open-concept living space.

Multiple Opening Options

a living room with a large glass door

Courtesy of Milgard

Milgard AX550 Moving Glass Walls come in three configurations: bifold, stacking and pocket. With the bifold doors, each panel — as few as three, as many as five in one wall — folds over onto the next one, accordion-style, as in the photo above. Because the doors are top-hung, they always glide smoothly, even at the maximum wall size of 10 feet tall and 20 feet wide.

Stacking doors — you might think of them as “sliders” — have a fixed panel plus one, two or three additional panels that travel horizontally in their tracks, so that all come to rest “stacked” in front of the stationary panel. Pocket doors, as the name conveys, slide into the wall and completely disappear from view. “Pockets deliver the cleanest look and most unobstructed views, but you need an ample wall cavity for the doors to recess into, so we see them most on new construction,” says DiClerico.

Optimal Energy Efficiency

a building with glass doors

Courtesy of Milgard

The Good Housekeeping Home Reno Award judges also noted that Milgard glass walls do an impressive job of climate control. “There can be a blizzard blowing, or it can be blazing hot, and you won’t feel a thing inside, thanks to the airtight design and meticulous engineering,” says DiClerico. The panels are manufactured with dual-pane, insulated “low-E” (short for low-emissivity) glass. The low-E coating reflects heat toward the outside in the summer and keeps it inside in colder weather. Result: Your indoor temperatures are more consistent year-round, so you stay comfortable, and your energy bills stay reasonable. (As an added bonus, the coating also better protects rugs and furniture from fading.)

Those who embrace the indoor-outdoor aesthetic have likely already gone to some lengths to add beauty and atmosphere to their outdoor areas: plush seating, shade-providing awnings or umbrellas, maybe a firepit. If this sounds like you, and you’re ready to take the next step, Milgard AX550 Moving Glass Walls are the ultimate upgrade. For something that’s designed to virtually disappear, they’re a major statement-maker.