Sliding Doors Or French Patio Doors: Which Is Best For Your Home?

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Whether you’ve just installed a new patio or deck and want to make a grand entrance from your home, or you’re finally taking the plunge and updating your back entryway, you may be faced with the decision between sliding patio doors and French doors.

You may have a particular aesthetic preference, but did you know that there are other key differences between the two that can (and should!) factor into your decision?

Before you add or update patio doors, consider some of the differences between sliding doors and French doors, and learn the options available so you can choose the one that’s best for your home.

Cost

Every project starts with the question of cost, for good reason. You may be in love with a particular style but if it isn’t practical to purchase or finance it, then it would be wiser to stick to your budget.

With that said, French doors are typically the more expensive of the two options, but that depends in large part on the size, materials, energy efficiency and other options that you choose.

The cost of French patio doors can range from hundreds to upwards of ten thousand dollars. Sliding doors, on the higher end, typically max out at about half that cost.

For example, fiberglass and vinyl-capped wood tend to be less expensive than solid wood. Even within the wood family, you can expect to pay more for higher end woods like cedar, oak and mahogany.

French doors that swing outward are generally more expensive than doors that swing in. Other options available for both types of doors, like whether you want to include built-in blinds or shades, can also increase cost.

The bottom line is that there is a wide variation in cost depending on the features and options you choose, so ask your contractor to help you understand those options.

Want help choosing? Ask us for a free consultation and estimate.

Space

Space is right up there with cost as a deciding factor when choosing a patio door style. Even if a door is within your budget, it still has to fit your home. French doors require room to swing, which means if you have a small space or a furniture configuration that prevents the full motion of the doors, then sliding doors may be far more practical.

The last thing you want is a beautiful door that drives you crazy every time you need to squeeze in our out.

If you have the swing space, a French door will provide you a much larger opening to move in and out of your home. That can be great for bringing in furniture, or for hosting parties that allow a freer flow of foot traffic.

Style

Both door styles let in abundant natural light, but sliding doors tend to allow more light since there is more glass surface area, whereas French doors need a wider frame which reduces the amount of glass.

This wider frame however, is considered more traditional and a better match for traditional home styles. French doors can also be custom designed to match your architectural style.

Besides the door, the hardware is also quite different. Sliding doors typically have arced pull handles where French doors have a lever-style handle.

Another design consideration is also a practical one. Sliding doors come with a screen slider, which means you can open the sliding door and let fresh air in without worrying about bugs. While you can also install screens with French doors, screens may compromise some of the aesthetic that makes people fall in love with them in the first place.

Ultimately your style preference and the character of your home will help drive your decision.

Wondering if you have enough space to swing a French door? Ask us and we'll let you know.

Energy Efficiency

Most newer doors are going to be more energy efficient than that old squeaky, sticking one you may have put up with for years. But both sliding and French doors come in Energy Star rated varieties that are designed to insulate against heat and cold. Double pane glass is the minimum standard for Energy Star, but you can look for triple pane for extra insulating power.

Some other things to look out for when choosing a well-insulated door, whatever the style: good core materials, and weather stripping. As with most things, the higher you go in quality, the higher you’ll go in cost, but it might be worth it if you want a door that will last for years to come, keep your home comfortable and save you money long-term on energy bills.

If you’ve got an old patio door that needs to be replaced, or if you’d love to add a patio door where there isn’t one, let us know. We’ll visit your home for a free evaluation and estimate.