By Fenster 23 February 2021

Difference Between French Doors and Sliding Patio Doors?

Difference Between French Doors and Sliding Patio Doors?

There are many things to consider when looking to purchase French doors, patio or bi-fold doors with many differences, constraints and designs. 

Patio doors, also referred to as sliding doors, have morphed over time and now encompass different doors styles leading out to the garden or outside patio areas. 

The different patio doors may fold or slide and may even open just like your front or back door. 

We understand that it’s all very confusing, so we’ve written this article to help ease your decision and help you to understand the differences between ‘French doors’ and ‘Sliding doors’ for your patio area for your home. 

What Is The Difference? And, Which One Is Best Suited To My Needs?

Both French and sliding doors will come in a wide array of sizes. However, you need to be aware of the differences to consider before you buy your door:

French Doors

French doors are by tradition hung on hinges. They are double doors and typically open outwardly. However, there are a few instances in which they will open inwardly. 

When the doors are open, you’ll have full access to the width of the doorway. However, you main be constrained by the maximum leaf size, which means you’ll have less space when you open the doors. The maximum opening width for French doors is typically 1800 mm wide.

With smaller-sized french doors, you have full-width access that’s ideal for smaller apartments or homes, or small garden spaces also utilize narrower sizes. 

Sliding Patio Doors

The sliding patio doors allow for a more expansive opening space as they are all standard sized at 1600mm to 4200 mm.  

The only issue is that only 50 percent of the space can be used at a time. When the doors are opened wide, there is still half the door that isn’t usable, reducing the garden’s opening space.

Sliding doors are ideal if you have a restricted space. They don’t require space to open inward or outward, and they only slide open or closed, making them perfect for smaller spaces. 

Over the previous years, the sliding patio doors have significantly declined in popularity. More people have gone to folding doors (Bi-fold doors) or French doors that open the opening’s full width. 

So Which Doors Should You Choose?

French doors or sliding doors are a huge decision. There is much to consider when determining which will work best for your needs. 

The Cost

While the different styles’ cost will vary depending upon the opening’s size, you’ll want to consider the price per square meter for the doors opening.

Sliding doors are typically 10 to 20 percent cheaper when you select a size that is over 1800 mm. 

The locking mechanisms and the hardware are typically sold with the door, making them far more cost-effective than French doors. 

For sizes over 1800 mm, French doors may become more restrictive in price as they will require specific additional hardware, such as requiring more windows and sidelights. 

Your Homes Security

While all of the options come with their unique security features, you must consider some essential factors before buying. 

Sliding Patio Doors

Ensure that your doors have the following: 

  • Multi-point locks
  • Security hooks that keep the doors from being levered open
  • Drop bolts that lock
  • Anti lift devices
  • Anti bump and lockable cylinders to keep the door barrel from being forced
  • Double glazing with the Secure by Design approval to ensure that they were tested and approved by the Association of Chief Police Officer. 

French Doors

Take these into consideration:

  • Multi-point locks are a must-have for French doors. These should be 3 or 5 point locks and lock into the frame. 
  • French doors should have a cover spline to ensure there is no gap between the doors where they meet together. 
  • Lock barrels should have an anti-bump cylinder to increase security.
  • The doors should have opening restrictors. 


Ensure the doors have the proper thermal efficiency or the U value. The lower the U value, the better performance. Part L will cover this for Building Regulations. 

You’ll have to ensure that the doors are double glazed and have toughened glass, compliant with BSE 12150, for safety and security. 

You’ll want to consider all ventilation requirements for the property as well as what the products offer. You’ll need to be compliant with Part F for the UK Building Regulations. 

When comparing the door types, remember these things:

  • Consider the size of your opening.
  • Consider your cost.
  • Consider performance and thermal loss or gain.
  • Consider ventilation requirements. 
  • Consider the security of the door.
  • Consider your budget.

Regardless of which type of garden door you select, always keep in mind the amount of space you have and the operational area. 

Remember the impact that your door has on your home’s decor and consider whether it opens inwardly or outwardly. 

Both types of patio doors and French Doors provide an attractive way to bring the outdoors indoors, flooding your home with all-natural light.

 Consider all of the factors mentioned above before you determine which door you’re going to purchase.  

If you need any help choosing any patio door style for your home, contact us by filling out our contact form or calling us on 01908 429200 or get a bespoke quote today!

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Based on 67 reviews
Heather Scott
Heather Scott
This is the second set of windows we’ve had fitted by Fenster. They are brilliant at every stage and I would highly recommend them. The staff are friendly and professional, they got the job done quickly and well, we’re very pleased with both sets of windows they fitted and would definitely use them again.
Dan Alger
Dan Alger
I contacted Fenster last week to see if they could help me. My French doors were failing to lock meaning we couldn’t leave the house. They sent Ben out the next morning who replaced the mechanism and also adjusted the door, closing up an annoying gap that’s been there for years. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Fenster to friends and family, a really helpful and efficient company.
Alison Budd
Alison Budd
We couldn't be more delighted with the professional service we received from Fenster Glazing. Nick turned up on time for the initial visit/quote which was fair and reasonable. After accepting the quote a survey was was carried out. The installers arrived on time and were polite and friendly. They covered everything up and left everything clean and tidy. After installation Perry called to check we were happy with the service. The quality of the french doors and windows installed were outstanding. We have no problem recommending this company. We would rate Service, installation and aftercare as 5 star.
I live in Milton Keynes, I contacted Fenster Glazing for an uPVC replacement door. From the beginning to the end, they conducted professional communication, from sales to the technicians coming to replace the door everything was perfect. I had a draught issue with my door and it is resolved now. I want to mention that I am also happy with the quality of the material of the door. I am hoping to have the same quality of service in the future if anything comes up—special thanks to Perry for dealing with everything. Ben
CMH Yoga
CMH Yoga
Highly recommended. I wanted a very specific style of doors to fit into our 1930s front porch. Fenster designed them, advised on colour & finish and they have produced exactly what I was looking for. The fitters were very polite and made sure everything was to my standards, and no mess left.
Chris Pike
Chris Pike
Great company. Very friendly, helpful. The work was completed to a very high standard, at a very reasonable cost, and I would highly recommend them.
Martin Cassin
Martin Cassin
Used Fenster glazing to replace two large panes of glass in our conservatory. Everything so Easy from obtaining a quote from Fenster to agreeing installation date and completing installation, polite, professional installation staff, very happy with service from start to finish

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