Sliding vs French Doors

Advantages and disadvantages of sliding and French patio doors.

What’s the difference?

French doors are typically a set of hinged double doors which open either inwards or outwards on to your garden. It’s also possible to install a single door and they can be fitted as doors in isolation or can be flanked by extra windows to increase natural light.

Sliding doors are large panes of glass which move from side to side on a track. They tend to be made up of 2-3 panels, one of which stays in place as the other(s) slide to sit behind it.

Installation

One of the key influences on your decision will be the size of the space you have. A set of double French patio doors are ideal for smaller openings. The maximum leaf size which is generally around 900mm per leaf which gives a maximum opening width of 1800mm across.

Sliding doors are more suited to larger openings of between 1600mm right up to 4200mm.

A professional installer will be able to advise you and estimate a price for the work involved. Complete our enquiry form and get your free quotes from qualified installers near you.

View

When it comes to getting the best view of your garden sliding doors are the better option. The large panes of glass and minimal framing give an almost uninterrupted view and a huge amount of natural light even when closed.

Generally, French doors can’t compete on the same level but you can increase the view by keeping the frames as slim as possible and installing extra windows at either side of the doors. This will, of course, add to the the cost and complexity of the installation.

Functionality

As they are hinged doors, French doors are the most convenient to use if popping in and out regularly, and you have the option of opening either one or both doors. Large sliding doors are a little more effort to move back and forth, especially if you’re doing it several times a day. However, despite their size they are usually fitted on smooth running tracks which make them relatively lightweight to shift.

The threshold involved in French doors tends to be higher than the tracks of sliding doors which can present a trip hazard or significant step. However, an advantage that sliding doors have over the French doors is that in windy weather they aren’t likely to be blown or slammed shut.

French doors have to open either into the home or out into the garden which can be intrusive especially if space is limited. Sliding doors, however, will not protrude into either the outside or inside.

Style

French patio doors are common choice in more traditional homes while sliding doors add a more contemporary look. However, it’s a really a matter of personal preference and budget when it comes to choosing materials and finishes. While UPVC French doors are a popular choice when it comes to keeping costs at a minimum, there are far more design options on the market. Make your doors your own with unique handles, metallic, wood stained and powder coating in a variety of colours.

Security

All types of patio doors can be fitted with security options. Both French and sliding doors should include 3 or 5 point locking systems, anti-bump cylinders and reinforced seals where the doors meet in the middle. Sliding doors can also include security hooks and lockable drop bolts and anti lift devices.
In both cases the glass panes will also be integral to maintaining security. Toughened safety glass is an absolute must but for even higher security you can install laminated glass which remains in place even when broken.

Cost

French doors are usually the less costly option, especially if you opt for UPVC framing. However, depending on the size of the aperture, you may find that sliding doors are not significantly more expensive. Costs will vary from supplier to supplier, but as a rough starting point you would be looking at a minimum cost of £300 for French doors and £500 for sliding doors.

In addition there will be installation costs which will increase if any structural changes need to be made to your home to fit the doors e.g. introducing windows either side of French doors.

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