No matter the size of your kitchen or living room, it will appear to be infinite once you open it up with patio doors. Essentially, it’s like bringing the outdoors inside and creates an uplifting and bright aura within your home. Here’s an overview of the several different types of patio doors – sliding, bifold, french and single – each with their own pros and cons.
All the Different Types of Patio Doors
Sliding Patio Doors
- Space saving design
- Easy to maintain
- Larger rooms may need more panels which increases costs
Combining practicality with beauty, this patio door style remains one of the most popular and you will find that they are large enough to let in lots of natural light.
Because they slide one behind the other, they need much less space than a traditional swinging door, and as they come in various different glass options and materials, including wood and UPVC, it is easy to choose one that will blend in with the age and style of your property.
Having advanced in design from the original sliding patio doors, they now come in easy-to-maintain narrow, sometimes practically invisible frames and are very cost effective, especially in small rooms.
They can also be designed as ‘pocket doors’ which slide out of sight into the wall cavities when open, although this design can be expensive. However, in large contemporary rooms, you may find that more than two panels are necessary to really open up the room, increasing both the purchase and installation costs..
Bifold Patio Doors
- Creates a modern look in the home
- More space saving than french and single opening doors
- Slightly more difficult to open due to heavy frames and folding design
- Typically more expensive in design and installation than other types of patio doors
Incredibly popular and perfect for bringing the outside in, you may decide on these types of patio doors. Opening and closing concertina style, they are space saving, so can be used in smaller rooms, and as they come in customised sizes, with a choice of two to eight panels, you will be guaranteed a perfect fit.
When being opened, they neatly slide and fold, and as they usually run on flush to the floor tracks, your garden, patio or conservatory will appear to be a part of the room.
On the downside, you need to consider that the frames of this patio door design can be relatively heavy, although they can be folded back externally as well as internally, and that installation is a major job and will be expensive.
However, you may well feel that having such a large expanse of glass, which makes the most of the view, is worth the inconvenience, although it may well prove to lack energy efficiency, requiring you to purchase shutters or blinds as an additional expense.
French Patio Doors
- Tighter seal provides better energy efficiency
- Universally attractive due to its wide variety of designs
- More affordable option
- Less light enters the room compared to other types of patio doors
- More space is required when opening the doors
If you want to make a statement, then this charming and traditional type of patio door design will provide the wow factor, and as the doors swing open individually, they offer a much tighter seal than sliding doors, so will help to save on your heating bills.
Available in plain glass, or for increased character, Georgian style small panes, they are manufactured in a variety of different materials, including aluminium, allowing them to look great in the more contemporary home as well as the traditional one.
The French patio door design is an extremely attractive option that provides you with easy access to the garden and they are renowned for their energy efficiency.
On the less positive side, they do not let in as much light as sliding or bi-folds, however, you could place glass panels or windows either side of the doors to really open up and allow natural light to flood in. Remember also, that space needs to be available to open them, so more planning on where your furniture will go is necessary.
Single Patio Door
- Perfect for smaller rooms
- Plenty of design options available
- More affordable option
- Less lighting due to its smaller frame
- More difficult to transport furniture
These types of patio doors designs are available in various styles and materials, including UPVC, wood, aluminium and fibreglass.
These types of patio door designs are the ideal solution for small or elongated narrow rooms, such as in home offices, garden or balcony apartments.
They are available in various styles, colours and materials, including UPVC, wood, aluminium and fibreglass and you can choose from clear glass to make the most of the view, frosted if privacy is required and small Georgian style panes if added character is needed.
You will find the double and triple glazed single patio door to be energy efficient, although the downside is that access can be tight, as, generally, the opening is relatively small compared to other styles; this can hinder moving your furniture in and out of the property.
You may find that this type of patio door will not allow as much light in as other styles, although this can be remedied by placing it alongside a window or adding a side glass panel to each or either side, allowing more natural sunlight to penetrate the room.
Patio Door Materials
Natural wood patio doors are always popular and includes soft and hard woods such as pine, cedar, mahogany and oak. You will love the rich appeal and beauty that only real timber can give, furthermore, not only is there a wide choice of colour stains available, the grain is very individual.
Timber, however, especially hardwood, is usually more expensive than other materials and does require more maintenance, but due to its flexibility, you will not have a problem restyling or updating.
You may prefer the convenience and modern look of aluminium doors which not only provides a lightweight, yet extremely strong patio door style, but is also extremely cost effective compared to the real wood option.
Their strength will allow you to have more glass and less frame, so increasing incoming light. However, as aluminium is a conductor, it isn’t as thermally efficient as wood and there can be condensation problems, also, due to the type of material, changing door handles can be difficult.
This material is an excellent choice for your patio doors, and generally is the most cost effective. UPVC patio doors are now available in several different colours and will not fade, peel, flake or rot over time.
It’s also well known for its energy efficiency, ease of maintenance and durability. However, condensation can build up and create mould, and similar to aluminium, due to UPVC being a plastic, it may be problematic for you to change door handles.
A reinforced plastic comprising of glass fibres in a resin matrix provides a good alternative to wood as it has a similar look and feel, but will withstand severe changes in weather conditions much better.
You will find that these types of patio doors are very energy efficient and require little or no maintenance as they are extremely hard-wearing, however, they do tend to be considerably more expensive than other options and colour choice can be limited.