French Doors vs Sliding Patio Doors

sliding patio doors

Many people don’t know the difference between French doors and sliding patio doors. Many people think that French doors are a fancy name for sliding patio doors, but this is not the case. What is the difference between French doors and sliding patio doors, and which should you choose for your house? Here is a comprehensive guide with everything you need to know about french doors and sliding patio doors to help you make the right choice. 

What are French Doors?

French doors generally consist of two separate doors that open outwards. These will often be found in older houses and will lead out to patios or conservatories. You might also know these doors as patio doors, although other door types get given this name too.

What are Sliding Patio Doors?

Sliding doors are usually made up of larger panes of glass than the French doors, and they slide behind one another. But when it comes to Sliding Doors, there are several options available for example, instead of having one door sliding behind the other, it could be that you have two doors that open in the centre, sliding out over other fixed, outer panels. It’s not easy to install sliding doors into a bay window, so in this case, filling, bi-folding doors are generally a much better choice.

Facts and figures

Today, French Doors are increasing in popularity because they give the benefits of the opening full width, and they have a large area size of sliding patio doors. In contrast, Sliding doors can only be open 50% at any one time, giving you less space.


It doesn’t matter which doors you choose; if you want to let more natural light into your home, you will get this with both French and Sliding Doors. You will also get a lovely new view of your garden as well as easier and better access to it. With light being a given, you just need to decide which doors will be right for your home.


The reason why you need to decide what is right for your home is not just because of the shape of your home but the look of your home. Having sliding glass doors might not match your home’s style if you have an older home, whereas traditional French doors could give you a more classic look. However, both types of doors come in a wide variety of different styles, and there are different options when it comes to materials and grilles, so you can achieve the look you’re going for to suit your home.


When it comes to the frame of your doors, this matters more than you might think, and it’s not just because of how it looks. Having French doors means you’ll likely have wider frames and therefore get less natural light coming into your home. You’ve also got to factor in what it’s like when the doors are open and how much floor and wall space the doors take up as this might affect what furniture you can have in the room. However, if you prefer the chunkier look of the French doors and this will suit your home’s style, this could be the right choice for you.

Ventilation and Privacy

Both door styles will provide you with excellent ventilation to your home; however, if you choose the aluminium sliding patio doors instead of the French Doors, you will have greater control over how much they are open. For example, with sliding doors, you can slide them open just a little bit to get a bit of air in but not so much so that it gets too cold or whereas with the French doors, they pretty much have to be open or closed, there’s not much in between.

Large Panes

As mentioned, it doesn’t matter which style of door you choose as both will let in plenty of natural light; however, the sliding doors can have large panes of glass, which will let in more natural light than the French doors and create the illusion of having a larger space.


French doors are essentially like regular double doors, which open outwards and give you full access to the space between the frame. These are great for smaller spaces and when opening into smaller gardens. Sliding patio doors means that you can open up into much wider spaces. Because of the sliding design, they are incredibly beneficial as you don’t have to worry about doors taking up space when they swing open into a small garden or small living area. However, you need to remember with the sliding doors that you will only ever get 50% of the space open at one time.

Security Comparison

When it comes to the security of Aluminium French doors or sliding doors, French doors come fitted with security hinges that lock into one another when the door is closed, which prevents the door from being dismantled. You can fit your door with two separate locks at two different points if you want to. Today with smart security, you can get doors that come with extreme weatherproofing performance accreditation, electronic locks, and automated alarm systems. You will also need to make sure that your doors comply with Part L of the Building Regulations, which looks at double glazing; it is essential for both safety and performance to have toughened glass units that comply with BSE 12600 and 12150.

Cost Comparison

It’s hard to say which type of doors costs more as there are so many different door styles for both types and different ways to custom them, so you could spend as much or as little as you wanted. Generally, though, the French doors typically cost more than sliding doors.


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As French doors are usually smaller than sliding doors, they are usually easier to maintain because there’s less surface area to clean. However, the material in which the doors are made of can significantly impact how much care and attention they require; for example, if they are made from timber, they’ll likely need occasional re-touching and sanding.

Energy Efficiency

As mentioned, both types of doors are made of mostly glass and let in an incredible amount of light, which can be very good for energy saving. Find out the U value on each door and look for the lower, the better.


How much space you have or will gain depends on the size and the layout of your home, so there is no way of knowing that this will be different. However, remember that the sliding doors can give the illusion of space.


How windy does it get where you live? If you have French doors, will they be slamming shut on a windy day? Again this comes down to each home, and there are always locks and hooks you can get to hold French doors in place. When looking for your doors, though, you should ask about the PAS 24 security certification on both types to make sure that it complies.

How to choose between French Doors or Sliding Doors?

There is a lot of information, so it’s essential to take it all in and write down your pros and cons, then really. It’s about what is right for you and your home.

Get in touch

We have years of experience and will do our best to help you choose the right doors for your home, so if you are interested in either French or sliding doors, then get in touch today, and we will give you a quote.

If you need Doors or Windows, we can get them to you. Just ask.