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Vinyl vs. Aluminum Sliding Door Panels: What's the Difference?

Stop right there! You have decided that you want an insulated dog door for sliding glass doors, and that’s an excellent choice for getting your pet in and out of the house. However, you need to read this guide before ordering, or else you may buy the wrong panel!

Below, we’ll talk you through the process of selecting a dog door for vinyl sliding door or a dog door for sliding glass door, as well as other items:

  • The differences between Vinyl and Aluminum 
  • Identifying your sliding door material
  • Your Endura Flap® Dog Door Panel options
  • Quick links to installation guides

Vinyl and Aluminum Sliding Doors

For many years, you could only get Aluminum frames for your patio door or sliding glass doors. However, Vinyl doors have become increasingly common and cheap to make. 

dog walking through an aluminum sliding glass door dog door panel

Vinyl sliding doors are made from a plastic-based material, but are just as strong as Aluminum, and significantly lighter. Vinyl patio doors tend to be more energy-efficient, as the vinyl does not transfer heat as much as Aluminum. Vinyl sliding doors have thicker frames and wider tracks than Aluminum ones.

Aluminum is the more standard and common material used for sliding doors, particularly for older homes. Aluminum doors are often inexpensive and require little to no upkeep for many years. Aluminum sliders are thinner and have a smaller track width than their vinyl cousins.

However, if you already have a sliding door that you simply want to put an Endura Flap® panel into, you will need to select the correct material type to match your existing slider, and don’t have as much choice for which material panel you want.


Identifying Your Sliding Door Material

You want to make sure the material of your new dog door panel matches the material of your existing slider. If you put an Aluminum pet door panel into a vinyl track, it may work, but will not fit or seal as well as a vinyl panel. It is very important to correctly identify your sliding door material. 

The best way to know the material of your slider is to tap it with your fingers or a pen. The noise that you hear will tell you what material it’s made of. If it makes a panging noise like a frying pan, it is aluminum. If it makes a muted thunk, it is made of vinyl. 

Another way of guessing at the material is to measure the track and look at the wall thickness. Vinyl frames will be thicker and have a wider track. This is less accurate than the tapping method because different door brands will have different thicknesses and measurements. There is no such thing as a standard sliding glass door. 

Your Endura Flap® Dog Door Options

Endura Flap® has many dog doors in sliding glass doors in both Vinyl and Aluminum. Take a look at each of our products, and pick the one best suited for your home and your pet. Alternatively, you can look through our full selection of pet doors for sliding glass doors for more options.

Vinyl Panel Options

Endura Flap Vinyl Sliding Glass Dog Door - The standard choice among dog doors for vinyl sliding glass doors. It has all the same dual-pane LoE glass and award-winning Endura Flap pet door that comes with the Thermo Panel 3e.

Endura Flap Severe Weather Vinyl Sliding Glass Dog Door - A more robust version of the Vinyl Sliding Glass Dog Door, with a double flap Endura Flap for extra energy efficiency and insulation. 

Endura Flap Vinyl Sliding Glass Cat Door - Cats need to get out, too! This Vinyl Sliding Glass Cat Door has all the benefits of the Thermo Panel and Endura Flap in the small size flexible flap for your cat.


Aluminum Panel Options

Endura Flap Thermo Panel 3e - The best seller of the Endura Flap panel line, the Thermo Panel 3e combines quality materials with exceptional design to bring you energy efficiency and durability worthy of our lifetime warranty. The dual-pane glass keeps your home insulated year-round. Read about dual-pane vs single-pane glass to learn more.

Endura Flap Quick Panel 3 - This panel is the best option for renters or seasonal homes. It can be easily removed and installed repeatedly. It is single flap and single-paned, which saves weight and makes installations quick and easy. 

 yellow lab smiling at the camera

Quick Reference Installation Guides

Before ordering your panel, you should read up on What Pet Door Size Should You Buy. It will help you decide what size you need for whatever Endura Flap panel you get! 

Want to learn more about Installations? Take a look at our archive of Pet Door Installation videos.

Still confused about the difference between Vinyl and Aluminum doors? Not sure which you have? Call us at 805.781.7700 and we can help you find your best Endura Flap investment ever!
Nick Pullano

Written by


Pets: I have a half border collie, half angel named Mikey.
Fun stuff: My dog's tongue is slightly longer than her face, so frequently her tongue sticks out a little even when her mouth is closed.


Pets: I have a half border collie, half angel named Mikey.
Fun stuff: My dog's tongue is slightly longer than her face, so frequently her tongue sticks out a little even when her mouth is closed.

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