What are the Different Types of Patio Doors?

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Discover the array of possibilities with three distinct types of patio doors available in the market: French Doors, Sliding Doors, and Bi-fold Doors. Your ultimate decision depends upon the layout of your home and the transformative outcomes you aspire to achieve with your new doors. Rest assured, we have meticulously explored each type to empower you in making an informed decision that perfectly aligns with your desires.

Patio doors, also known as sliding glass doors, are a fantastic option for making your home feel more open and airy. They allow natural light to flood in and provide a pleasant flow of fresh air. With patio doors, you can effortlessly bring the beauty of the outdoors inside your home, without the need for expensive conservatories or extensions.

The 3 types of patio doors

When it comes to patio doors, there are three primary types, each offering its own set of advantages and considerations.

Sliding Patio Doors: These doors consist of glass panels that slide horizontally, creating a sleek and space-saving design.

Bi-Fold Patio Doors: Bi-fold doors feature glass panels that are connected with hinges, allowing them to fold and stack against one another like an accordion.

French Patio Doors: French doors are characterized by their classic and elegant design. They typically consist of two glass panels that open outwards, providing a charming and traditional appeal. 

Each type of patio door has its own distinct features and considerations. Understanding the characteristics and benefits of sliding, bi-fold, and French patio doors can help you make an informed decision based on your preferences, space availability, and desired aesthetic for your home.

French doors 

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French patio doors are an excellent choice for smaller openings, consisting of two doors that open from the centre, creating a fully unobstructed entrance when fully opened. These doors provide the flexibility of opening inward or outward, either individually or simultaneously. You can customise the glazing to your preferences, whether clear, glazed, or adorned with Georgian bars, to complement the aesthetic of your home.

However, it’s important to note some potential drawbacks of French patio doors. They may not be suitable for wide openings and offer a reduced glazing area compared to sliding or bi-fold doors, which can limit the view. Additionally, in windy conditions, they have the tendency to slam shut if not properly secured, and they require adequate space to open either inward or outward.

Pros of french doors

  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Abundant natural light
  • Indoor-outdoor connection
  • Versatility
  • Enhanced views

Cons of french doors

  • Space consideration
  • Weather vulnerability
  • Maintenance

Standard sliding patio doors 

Sliding patio doors, typically consisting of 2 or 3 panels, operate by smoothly sliding and overlapping with one panel remaining fixed in place.

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One of the notable advantages of sliding patio doors is their unique mechanism. Instead of swinging in or out, they effortlessly glide sideways along tracks within the door frame. This ingenious design ensures that no additional space is required inside or outside the home when opening the doors. Unlike French doors, which can be susceptible to the wind causing them to move or slam shut, sliding doors remain steadfast in position. Furthermore, sliding doors offer the flexibility of being partially opened for ventilation or fully opened to create a wide entryway.

A prominent feature of sliding doors is the captivating view they provide. With expansive panes of glass in each section, these doors offer an unrivaled, uninterrupted glimpse of the outdoor scenery. 

Pros of sliding patio doors

  • Space efficiency
  • Unobstructed views
  • Natural light
  • Ease of use
  • Modern aesthetics

Cons of sliding patio doors

  • Maintenance
  • Possible size limitations
  • Fewer design options

Bifold doors 

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Experience the cutting-edge innovation of Bifold patio doors, the latest addition to the UK market. These remarkable doors consist of a series of panels that elegantly fold back onto each other, reminiscent of a harmonious concertina. With the ability to open up a significant section of a wall, they create an illusion of an unobstructed flow between the interior and exterior spaces.

When opened, bifold doors offer an unrivalled panoramic view and unparalleled accessibility, allowing for seamless integration of your living spaces. However, it is worth noting that when closed, the presence of multiple panels may slightly interrupt the expansive view. To address this, bifold doors are often equipped with a traffic door—a convenient entry and exit point for quick access, without the need to fully open the entire set of doors.

Pros of bifold doors

  • Maximised opening
  • Enhanced views
  • Flexible configuration
  • Space saving
  • Aesthetic appeal

Cons of bifold doors

  • Cost consideration
  • Maintenance
  • Installation complexity (professional assistance required)
  • Weather sealing

Choosing The Right Patio Doors?

Patio doors can be crafted from various materials, such as aluminium, wood, uPVC, and a composite blend of aluminium and wood. This diversity allows you to select the material that best suits your preferences. Additionally, you have a plethora of options when it comes to colours and finishes, enabling you to customise your patio doors to harmonise seamlessly with your home’s unique aesthetic. When making your decision, it is essential to consider your priorities and determine the ideal style and material that aligns with your needs and desires.

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How Frequently Will You Utilise Your Patio Doors?

If your patio doors serve as a primary entry point for your home, it is crucial to select doors that offer ease of use and don’t require constant full opening.

French doors provide an excellent solution as each door can be opened independently or both can be opened together to create a wider opening when needed. Sliding doors are another viable option as they can be effortlessly slid to the desired position, but they may be cumbersome for the elderly or young children to operate. Bifold doors also present a choice, as they typically open fully across the opening. However, it’s worth noting that a traffic door can be installed to allow independent access without having to open all the panels at once.

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Will Your Patio Doors See the Most Use During Summer?

Bifold doors are an ideal choice for homeowners seeking to maximise the openness of their living space, especially during the summer season. These doors allow you to fully open the width of the opening, effectively eliminating the boundary between the indoor and outdoor areas and creating a seamless and fluid connection between your home and garden. This feature makes bi-fold doors perfect for hosting enjoyable BBQs and providing your family with additional space to unwind and enjoy.

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Ensuring Security: Are They Reliable and Safe?

Regardless of the specific patio door type you select, it is essential to prioritise strength and security. Thanks to advancements in design and technology, modern patio doors offer enhanced durability, especially those with aluminium frames. Additionally, you have the option to purchase wooden or uPVC doors with aluminium cores, further reinforcing their robustness. Rest assured, you can confidently rely on the strength and security of patio doors available in the market today.

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Which Has The Best View? 

If you have a picturesque view that you desire to fully appreciate, sliding or bifold doors are the ideal options as they offer a larger expanse of glass. Sliding doors provide a generous surface area of glass, allowing you to enjoy the view without obstructions. On the other hand, it’s important to note that bifold doors have multiple panels, which means that when closed, the view may be slightly fragmented.

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Are They Low-Maintenance?

When it comes to maintenance, uPVC and aluminium patio doors offer the easiest upkeep compared to wooden frames, which require ongoing treatment to preserve their condition. In general, high-quality uPVC and aluminium frames simply require periodic wiping to keep them in optimal shape and maintain their best appearance.

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Which type of patio door should you get?

In your quest to find the perfect patio door for you, make sure you take some time to weigh the merits and drawbacks of each style, aligning them with your individual inclinations.

If you have any queries along the way, don’t be afraid to engage with the retailer directly for clarification and guidance.

To speak to our friendly GFD Homes team, call us on 01642 309 576.

FAQs about the different types of patio doors

What is the best type of door for a patio?

The best type of door for a patio depends on your specific needs and preferences. However, sliding doors are often considered a popular choice for patios due to their space-saving design and ease of operation. French doors are also a stylish option that adds a touch of elegance to your patio. Bi-fold doors are another option that provides a wide opening and seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. Ultimately, the best type of door for your patio will depend on factors such as available space, desired functionality, and aesthetic preferences.

What are the best patio doors for insulation?

The patio door you select can significantly impact your home’s energy efficiency and monthly utility expenses. For optimal energy efficiency, the ideal choice is a sliding glass door. Sliding doors excel in maintaining airtightness, eliminating the need for extra space when fully opened, unlike hinged doors that can occupy up to four times the area. With their tightly sealed frames, these doors offer exceptional thermal insulation, effectively safeguarding your home against temperature fluctuations.

What’s the difference between a French door and a patio door?

When it comes to the difference between French doors and Patio doors, French doors are a specific type of door design characterised by multiple glass panels, typically consisting of two hinged doors that swing open from the centre. They are known for their classic and elegant aesthetic, with decorative detailing such as mullions and glass inserts. Patio doors, on the other hand, are a broader category that includes various door styles designed for easy access to outdoor spaces, including sliding doors, folding doors, and even French doors. In essence, French doors can be considered a type of patio door, but not all patio doors are French doors.

What type of patio doors are the most secure?

Security is an important consideration for patio doors. For enhanced security, look for patio doors with robust frames made of materials like aluminum or steel. Multi-point locking systems, anti-lift features, and tamper-resistant hardware are additional security measures to consider. Sliding patio doors with hidden or recessed tracks can also deter potential intruders. Additionally, laminated or tempered safety glass adds an extra layer of security as they are more resistant to breakage. It’s recommended to choose patio doors from reputable manufacturers that meet industry standards for security and durability.

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Ian Richardson Founder & Director
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