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Patio doors make a big difference to the appearance of a house and the feel of a garden, but it can be tricky to choose the right type for your home. The decision can be made even more difficult by the apparent similarity between two of the most common patio door types: french doors and sliding patio doors.

In this article, our aim is to make the choice a little clearer for you by explaining the difference between french doors and sliding doors and giving you an idea of the advantages of each. You may find that one type is much more suited to your home than the other, which could make that final decision a lot easier!

What’s the difference between french doors and sliding doors?

The main difference between french doors and sliding patio doors is in the way that they open. As the name suggests, sliding doors slide open, rolling along a track to do so. The most common design is for one half of the door to slide across the other, opening up half the width of the unit to the garden beyond.

French doors, on the other hand, swing open – normally opening outwards. This opens the full width of the unit to the garden, with the doors either being left in an outward position or swinging all the way round to latch onto the exterior wall.

Beyond this major distinction, there are more subtle differences in the locking mechanisms. Sliding patio doors have an inbuilt mechanism that locks one end of the door to the frame. In the past, these doors were thought to be less secure, but modern manufacturing techniques (like those used by KLG Rutland) mean that this is no longer the case. French doors are equally secure, but the locking mechanism locks the two doors together, rather than locking them to the frame. At KLG Rutland there are also shoot bolts at the top and bottom of the doors for additional security.

The advantages of sliding patio doors

Sliding patio doors are an attractive option for many homes because they require very little space. As long as a home has room in one wall for the doors to be installed, they don’t really need anything else because the unit is always self-contained – there are no doors swinging outwards or inwards. This means that sliding doors are a particularly attractive option for homes and gardens with smaller patios or simply less space in the garden itself.

Another advantage is that sliding doors let in more natural light than any other type of patio door. Their frames – commonly made out of uPVC plastic – are really just there as containers for large panes of glass. Because the frames are so unobtrusive, there is little to stop sunlight streaming into the your home’s interior.

The overall aesthetic of sliding doors is clean, bright and modern. They’re perfect if you want a door that looks bright and sharp and will fit with many contemporary interiors. That said, their unobtrusive nature means that they can compliment almost any home, especially when made with colour effects that match the rest of your property.


The advantages of french doors

If sliding patio doors are perfect for modern homes, then french doors are perfect for more traditional or period properties. They have been around for centuries, offering a practical passage between home and garden that many homeowners adore.

The frames of french doors are more noticeable than those of sliding doors but this allows for their colour and identity to come through much more obviously. While they don’t let quite as much light in, their visual appeal is enough on its own.

In fact, french doors are often paired with windows on either side of them to create a larger view out into the garden. This combination brings even more light into the house and allows the visual appeal of the frames to be highlighted even more.

Although all of our french doors are made from uPVC plastic, KLG Rutland has the capability to create a number of different colours and effects. If you want to maintain a period, wooden aesthetic in your home (or even install new doors into existing wooden frames), then it’s possible to get all the benefits of modern uPVC and all the aesthetic benefits of a wood-effect finish.


Which should you choose?

We’ve given a general picture of both sliding patio doors and french doors in this article, but we wouldn’t want you to go away thinking that if you have a modern home you can’t get french doors, or if you have a traditional property you can’t get sliding doors. There’s so much flexibility in the design choices that you can have a door that looks fantastic whatever the appearance of your home.

Instead, we recommend thinking about which style you personally prefer; do you want your doors to let in as much light as possible, or do you want the frames themselves to be centre stage? In addition, think about the size of your walls and the space you have in your home and garden to accommodate the different types of doors; these practical considerations can often provide helpful guidelines.

If you want any help in deciding what’s right for your home or you want to get a quote, get in touch with KLG Rutland today.