Patio Doors and French Doors- definitions, differences and which you should choose

The terms ‘Patio doors’ and ‘French doors’ are often used interchangeably to describe doors that open up onto your outdoor space. But what exactly are the differences between the two and which should you be choosing for your home.

The French doors, as the name suggests, originated in France and dates back as far as the 17th Century. It is a light door that contains a glass pane that extends most of its length and usually come as a pair. Throughout time the French Door has become a become a hugely popular choice for homeowners as a functional and eye-catching product that brings natural light into a home.


The Patio Door however, while it did start as a phrase to describe the sliding door, is actually a universal term that can be broadly used to describe a door in your home that opens onto a garden or patio area. This can include Sliding Doors, Bi-folding Doors and even the aforementioned French doors. So with such a wide range of possibilities available that can open up your house to your garden it is important you are aware of the differences between each variation, their benefits and which one you should choose for your home?

Firstly, when taking a look at the classic French Door it becomes apparent why it is a longstanding customer favourite. French doors are hinged double doors which open outwards, so when open you have full access to the width of your space. This is great for smaller properties where space is limited, as, unlike other options, you do not require a large amount of wall space. The downside to the hinged door however is when open the panels may encroach on your outdoor living space.

Another option is the Sliding Door. Sliding patio doors are the perfect choice if you want unobstructed views of your outdoor space, as their design involves larger glass panes and very little panelling. This option is also a plus if you are limited on space, as instead of taking up valuable room when open they glide along the track flush and take up no extra width. The problem with sliding doors however is you only get around 50% opening at any one time when taking into account the sliding panels.

The final option, and one that is an ever increasingly popular choice for homeowners looking to stand out of the crowd, is a bi-folding patio door. The bi-folding door, also known as a concertina or folding doors, can fold back and create a 90% clear opening between your home and your patio. Meaning this door is the most successful at bringing the outdoors in. The only downside being that when the door is folded back, the panes can be bulky and require space at the side of the property.

Whichever one you choose for your home, all these doors can transform the look and feel of your home by increasing the influx of natural light into your property.

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