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    Sliding Patio Doors vs. French Doors – 4 Main Advantages

    May 14, 2015

    Jun 26, 2024

    6 min read


    When investing in a renovation project, most homeowners tend to replace windows and doors together. And more often than not, this means doors at the back of the house as well.

    And while with most entry doors it is about security and protection, there are definitely some options when it comes to the back door.

    The two most popular, but very different choices for large openings are the garden door and patio door (sliding). Although most companies sell and install both options, many will recommend patio doors as a more practical and convenient choice. Here is why.

    What Are Sliding Patio Doors?

    Sliding patio doors are a popular choice for homeowners looking to connect indoor and outdoor spaces seamlessly. These doors have large glass panels that slide horizontally along a track, allowing for smooth operation and unobstructed views.

    Typically featuring two panels, one fixed and one mobile, sliding patio doors maximise natural light and provide easy access to patios, decks, or gardens. Their sleek design and space-saving functionality make them ideal for homes with limited space or those seeking a modern aesthetic.

    What Are French Garden Doors?

    French doors are a classic and elegant option for entryways and patios. They are characterised by their double-door design that swings open from the centre. Each door usually contains multiple small glass panes, known as lites, set within a wooden or metal frame. This design not only enhances a home’s aesthetic appeal but also allows ample natural light to enter. French doors can be used both as interior and exterior doors, offering a timeless look that complements various architectural styles.

    Energy Efficiency of Patio Doors vs French Doors

    While you can name many pros and cons of patio doors and French doors, the key difference always lies in energy efficiency. And that is why most product consultants and customers prefer patio doors for their replacement projects.

    Essentially a vinyl sliding patio door is an oversize window. It combines all the standard features and potential add-ons that come with energy efficient technology. Just like custom windows, patio doors can be made in a double or triple pane option, and with an addition of Low-E coatings for UV control.

    Patio Doors Patio doors are more efficient, provide more light, and take up less space than garden doors.

    French of garden doors are usually made from a combination of steel and wood and lose heat much faster than vinyl. They also can’t be made in a triple pane option, and, therefore, lose out significantly to patio doors in terms of energy efficiency.

    Patio Doors Bring More Light

    Just like with your new windows, chances are you want the opening at the back of the house to provide a lot of natural light. This is also an area where patio doors excel. Because of their designs, sliding doors maximise the glass surface area and the ratio of glass to frame, providing you with an unobstructed view of your backyard or property.

    The steel and wood design of garden doors leaves much less space for glass. Depending on where you live, that may be a desirable option – sometimes privacy is more important than a good view.

    Installing Patio Doors vs French Doors: Physical Space

    One thing clients don’t always consider when getting a garden door, is how it will interact with their deck or back patio. Patio doors are excellent at maximising your space because they don’t open outwards. The sliding design lets you keep full control of your deck, without impeding on space.

    The only advantages garden doors have in this aspect is that they can be made as a double door. When opened, double doors provide the biggest opening possible making it easy to move furniture and appliances in and out of the house. They may also be a good choice for pet lovers, as it is often possible to put a pet door in, though at the expense of energy efficiency.

    Garden French Doors

    Security of Patio Doors vs French Doors

    Another factor that makes modern patio doors better than garden doors are the additional security features that come standard with this option. While garden doors have just one lock, the sliding design of patio doors allows for the integration of an optional security bar or kick locks to prevent unwanted break-ins. This gives patio doors a three-tier level of protection.

    Garden Doors Benefits

    Of course, garden doors have their own advantages:

    • Garden doors look better and more unique from the outside. They are large patio doors and are a great option if you want to add to or create a rustic look to your house.
    • Double garden doors make it easier to move furniture or appliances.
    • Garden doors can be customized with privacy or any other type of specific glass.

    When shopping for a window and door replacement consider factors such as energy efficiency, light, security, and the physical space these units take up. Properly planning your replacement will not only ensure you get the best door for patio you like, but also one that is perfect for application in your home.


    Which door is better for a patio: sliding patio doors or French doors?

    Sliding patio doors save space, increase energy-efficiency and provide a modern look with large glass panels that slide horizontally. French doors offer a classic appearance with double doors that swing open, allowing a wide opening. Choose based on your space, style, and functional needs.

    What is the cost difference between sliding patio doors and French doors?

    Due to their simpler design and installation, sliding patio doors are generally more affordable than French doors. They are also more space-efficient and effective at providing natural light and access to outdoor areas. This cost-effectiveness and practicality make sliding patio doors a popular choice among homeowners.

    What is the difference between patio doors and garden doors?

    Sliding patio doors have large glass panels that slide horizontally, which is ideal for modern, space-saving designs. Garden doors are hinged, often with one or two swinging doors, featuring decorative frames and a traditional look. The key differences are in their operation and aesthetic appeal.

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