Both are excellent options for expanding the views from your home, letting in more natural light and helping the room they’re installed in feel that much bigger, so it’s no surprise that when it comes to installing external doors with windows your choice often comes down to French and sliding doors.
So, to help you decide which is best suited for your home, we’re comparing French doors vs sliding doors to give you a clear comparison between the two, unveiling the advantages and disadvantages of both for your benefit.
Although French and sliding doors both operate as doorways to the outside, the key difference between the two designs lies in the way they open.
To take French doors as our first example, these traditional doors open outwards or inwards on a hinge system, somewhat similar to how more modern bi-fold doors operate, enabling you to fully open your home to the outside without any obstructions.
Sliding doors, on the other hand, operate by pulling a series of glass panes on a wheeled track, neatly stacking them over the final pane and leaving you with an open exit to your garden.
Now, as you may have already guessed, these widely different opening systems each come with their own pros and cons that make them better suited for certain property types.
In general, sliding doors work great for those homes with limited external space or long walls that you want to open up. The lack of swinging doors also leaves little to get in the way once open, and French doors simply can’t accommodate openings over a particular size.
On top of this, sliding doors also have the advantage of being lockable at certain points along their track, letting you open them slightly to ventilate a room rather than opening them the entire way. Combine this with an easy slide operating mechanism and sliding doors offer a lot of opening flexibility.
But, with all that being said, French doors are certainly an excellent choice if you want to open up a lounge or kitchen without taking a chunk of your wall out, and their ability to be opened fully does allow for a great level of air circulation during those still summer days.
With opening mechanisms in mind, you might already have a door decision in mind – but there’s certainly more to consider when it comes to sliding doors vs French doors, especially when thinking about style and aesthetics.
For one thing, if you live in a more traditional home, then a set of sliding doors might very well look out of place against the stonework and interior design. Given that French doors were designed many decades before sliding doors, when it comes to traditional style, they’re definitely many people’s go-to option.
In turn, sliding doors are better tailored for more contemporary and modern properties. This is certainly the case if you opt for a set of aluminium sliding doors, as their slimmer frames provide a much thinner and cleaner look – though with the right design, sliding doors are certainly capable of working in more traditional home setups as well.
Now, no discussion of patio doors would be complete without considering the views they can provide of your garden. Generally speaking, if you’re installing a set of doors with glass in your home, you want them to provide the best outward view possible, and in this regard, sliding doors certainly have an edge over French doors.
As we’ve already mentioned, sliding doors have much thinner frames than their French counterparts, meaning there is little in the way of your view when looking out, which also helps to let in extra natural light throughout the day. And if you do want an almost-entirely unobstructed view, then you can simply open your sliding doors fully.
However, it should be said that French doors, when fully open, can arguably get you a better view as there is literally nothing in the way to obstruct your vision. Open sliding doors will still be stacked over the final pane while French doors are opened entirely off to the side, leaving nothing in your eyeline besides your garden.
When it comes to French doors or sliding doors, the material options you have will vary. And here is where French doors have a slight advantage.
Thanks to the simple nature of their construction, French doors can be installed in a variety of materials, including wood, uPVC, and aluminium. This makes it very easy to find a style that you like that will also stay in keeping with your home’s aesthetic.
Sliding doors, on the other hand, are often limited aluminium options, especially if you want a quality option. However, where sliding doors make up for their lack of material variety is in their durability.
While wood and uPVC can certainly last a long time, the maintenance required to keep them in tip-top condition can be rather time-consuming. Add on top of this the difficulty of cleaning them once dirt has settled, and you might soon find outside light being blocked from entering.
In contrast, the maintenance of aluminium sliding doors requires little effort. Aluminium frames are highly durable and weather-resistant, able to secure your home against even the heaviest rain, and their powder paint coats make it easy to find the right colour to match your home’s design.
Finally, while both types of doors offer great thermal efficiency, the double or triple-glazed nature of sliding doors combined with their tight seals makes them arguably more thermally efficient than French doors.
When it comes to security, patio doors of all kinds have a rather undeserved reputation for being an easy-to-open security risk. But thanks to modern technology, this is no longer the case.
In fact, security is one place where both French and sliding doors offer similar benefits. Both have unique locking systems that are equally secure, using multi-point locking systems to prevent their doors from being lifted out of their frames – and even if their locks are removed, the doors still can’t be opened.
Add a layer of toughened glass on top of this and you’re left with an entrance that is far more likely to deter thieves than encourage them.
As with any home renovation project, the overall price of your door installation will be determined by far more than just your choice of door. Size, material, and labour all play a key role in determining price, and given that each project is different, it’s hard to say which door type is outright cheaper.
However, with that being said, given sliding doors are typically installed in bigger openings, they’re likely to be more expensive. This will also be the case if you choose a bespoke fitting option for your sliding doors, such as the type we offer here at Express. So, if you’re on a budget, French doors may be a better option.
And with that last point out of the way, you should now have all the information you need to make an informed decision about which type of patio door is best suited for your home.
Of course, if you’re still undecided, or you’re more interested in bi-folding doors, then why not come down to one of our showrooms to see our full product range in person? Our staff will be happy to answer any of your questions and discuss your project plans with you.