French and patio doors

French and Patio Doors


If you want to get more natural light into your home, there is no better way than to introduce either French or patio doors. Not only do they appeal with their timeless elegance, they can also be opened in the summer to let in all that fresh air and give people uninhibited access to the patio and garden beyond. Whether you want the traditional look of French windows or the modern vibe of a bi-fold pivot door, finding something that fits in with the décor of your home is all-important.

The Difference Between French and Patio Doors

When we think of patio doors we generally envisage the sliding variety but they actually encompass all varieties including French doors/windows and bi-fold doors. Whichever you choose depends largely on the size and build of your home and what effect you want to create. French doors are great but they need more space in which to operate and have a maximum width beyond which they become less manageable and not so desirable. Sliding or conventional patio doors, however, can cover the whole width of a house if you so wanted and are generally lower maintenance. 

French Doors

The classic style of French door incorporates a number of square panels of glass but actually the main feature of these types of installation is that they open out into the garden or into the property. They consist of two panels and the maximum width you can have for each is around 900mm. That means the total width of your opening for French doors shouldn’t really exceed 1800mm. Much, of course, will depend on the external or internal space that your door is opening into.

The benefits of French doors are that they are classical and highly desirable if you want to add that extra touch of class to your property. The downside is that with such large panels they are subject to the vagaries of strong winds and you have to be careful about how you fix them when left in the open position. There are also issue surrounding security that need to be addressed when choosing the quality of your door.

Types of Patio Door

Sliding Patio Doors: You have much more leeway with sliding patio doors and can increase the width of your installation compared to French doors. These are generally a more solid, heavier construction than the classic choice of forward opening doors and much easier to maintain over time. They are the ideal solution if you have restricted space in the garden or inside.

Multiple Panel Patio Doors: These have more than one sliding panel and are great for wide spaces and give more flexibility in the size of the opening.

Folding Patio Doors: These slide along a rail but fold or pivot as they move a bit like a concertina and are becoming a more popular alternative to normal sliding patio doors. The benefit is that they can create a much bigger opening without using up too much external or internal space. The downside is that you really need to opt for the best quality if you want an installation that will last and needs less maintenance.

Find out about the cost of French and patio doors.

Materials for French and Patio Doors

As with any type of windows and doors, the material your French or patio doors are made from can vary and this can impact on both their cost and energy efficiency.

Glass: With such a large amount on view, the primary consideration for patio doors is the toughness of the glass. Most have reinforced double or even triple glazed panels that should be able to withstand a significant impact.

Frames: There are different types of material that can be used in French and patio doors from natural hardwood and aluminium through to the ever more popular uPVC. These usually contain some form of insulating material and the cost will vary depending on which you choose. Hardwood, of course, requires more maintenance than a material such as uPVC.

Energy Efficiency: One of the big issues with patio doors is certainly the amount of heat loss that you get from such a large expanse of glass that is open to the outside world. Glass is not a great insulator but fortunately with better double and triple glazing techniques in recent years this problem has largely been solved. Find out more about energy efficiency ratings for French and patio doors.

Security: One of the main issues with these types of installation is the level of security. There are a number of areas that you need to check before choosing a particular model. The locking mechanism should include multiple lock points as well as drop bolts that keep your sliding doors secure. Most patio doors will have anti-lift devices fitted that prevent someone lifting the whole thing up off its rails. French doors have a week spot where the two panels meet and this should be protected by something like a cover spline.

Manufacturers and Suppliers of French and Patio Doors

There are a large number of manufacturers and suppliers who operate on a national and local basis, providing all kinds of French and patio doors to suit most homes. Many also offer an installation service or outsource to local companies to handle their products. Discover more here.

Installers of French and Patio Doors

Whether you want a local installer or one that operates nationally, there is plenty to choose from in the UK if you want patio doors put in. Finding the right company to handle everything for you and do a good job can take a good deal of research. Follow our simple guide to finding an installer in your area.


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