Sliding Doors vs. French Doors, Which Is Right For You?

Sliding Glass Doors vs French Doors - Penny Window

Patio doors in your home can provide many benefits. They can allow more sunlight into your home, make a room look larger, add value to your home, and allow for better ventilation. Patio doors can also bring a new design element to your home.

Keep reading for a description of the pros and cons of sliding doors vs. french doors.

Table of Contents

Types of Patio Doors

The chosen size, frame, metal, glass type, and finish options can all impact the final look of the doors you choose.

Options like these are great when considering convenience, energy efficiency, affordability, and style. But when it comes to installing or replacing patio doors, the choices can feel overwhelming.

Replacement doors are an easy and economical way to upgrade your home. But to get the most out of this home improvement project, it’s worth considering different doors, not just new ones.

In many cases, switching out one type of door for another delivers more benefits for an exact cost.

There are many different kinds of patio door configurations. These include:

  • Traditional French Doors – These are side-by-side doors where both sides open and swing from the center. These doors are the ones most people think of when they hear the term “French doors.”
  • Single Operable Hinged Door – Although these appear full French doors, only one side opens. People who want the look of traditional French doors but have limited patio or floor space can use these.
  • Inswing vs. Outswing – You can choose whether you want the doors to swing into the interior of your home or outward. Often, floor space and weather are the two determining factors between these choices.
  • Sliding – These doors don’t swing in either direction; instead, they slide back and forth. Because of this, they require less floor or patio space.
  • Accordion – These are folding doors that can turn a wall into a window that opens to the outside. The doors can fold together, and some can even wrap around corners.

Although there are many options when choosing patio doors, the two most common types are sliding glass doors and french doors. Each has unique features, advantages, and disadvantages. In a nutshell, sliding or French doors have pros and cons.

Sliding Glass Doors vs. French Doors

What Is a Sliding Door?

A sliding door has two or more side-by-side panels mounted to slide along a track on the floor. One panel is fixed, while the other slides side to side.

Their look is more modern, and this patio door generally takes up less space.

Sliding Glass Doors vs. French Doors

What Is a French Door?

A French door is made mainly of glass and sometimes looks more like a window with grids holding multiple panes together. Their look is more traditional.

It is a common misconception to assume that a French patio door is only two side-by-side swinging panels. There are multiple options to choose from.

Sliding Glass Doors vs. French Doors

If you’re preparing to replace your existing patio door or have one installed for the first time, you’ll need to debate sliding glass doors vs. French doors.

Use the pros and cons below to help you make the right choice for your home.

Pros and Cons of Sliding Patio Doors


  • Views – Since sliding glass doors are more like windows than doors, they give you great views of your yard and the scenery beyond. They also let in lots of natural light, making any room feel more significant.
  • Cost – Prices for both door styles vary widely, but low and high-end sliding glass doors are usually the less expensive option.
  • Space – Since sliding glass doors slide laterally as they open, they don’t disrupt the space around them. If you are working at close quarters, this proves to be a real asset. This can help with the arranging of furniture as well. With sliding doors, you will not have to worry about furniture being in the way when the doors are opened.


  • Safety – It’s surprisingly common to leave sliding glass doors open accidentally. And since they are made of glass and offer clear views into your home, they could attract burglars. Since sliding glass doors are only held in place by thin tracks and rollers, they can be pried off using standard tools. Most burglars target sliding glass doors rather than the front door to gain easy entry. These tracks can also create a tripping hazard. You may have to pay close attention and step slightly to clear the way when walking in and out.
  • Aesthetics – Sliding glass doors typically project a sleek, modern appearance. For certain homes, that look will clash with the existing design. A sliding door may be too modern if your home has a more traditional design.
  • Longevity – Rarely designed for looks but rather as a limited space alternative, sliding glass doors can wear out much faster than the timeless look of French doors.

Pros and Cons of French Doors


  • French Door From Outside ViewStyles – French doors are painted, stained, and styled in various ways, making them a dynamic design element in your home. The different types of wood used in their construction will also change the character of the door.
  • Longevity – Our wide selection of French doors can be used to complement and enhance your existing design scheme. They keep their appearance for more extended and revitalize the home while improving the atmosphere.
  • Safety – French doors are much safer than the sliding door option. It’s easy to spot when they’ve been left open, and they create a strong barrier between the inside and outside of your home. French doors have a more robust locking mechanism, sturdier construction, and thicker glass. Rather than leaving your home vulnerable, they are sought after to make it safer.
  • Features – Some people don’t like the view from their patio or prefer to light a space with lamps. In those cases, the opaque character of some French doors will be preferable. Additionally, the size of the door’s opening often plays a part in the homeowner’s choice. If you have a sliding glass door installed in a six-foot slot, you can only open the door to a width of three feet. That is just the nature of this type of door. Tracks and rollers wear out, malfunction easily, and often collect debris. In lots of frustrating ways, these doors are hard to work with. French doors installed across that same 6-foot opening could be opened to a width of almost six feet, giving you maximum utility when needed.
  • Energy Efficient – Newer french doors are built with an advanced type of glass that is renowned for its thermal insulating properties. Put more of the air you pay good money to heat and relax stay inside where you want it. Once sliding glass doors begin to age, they often let climate-controlled air bleed out of our home, and harsh outside temperatures seep in. That raises your monthly utility bills while making your home less comfortable. Update the barrier around the doors to prevent this
    . Inspect your door’s insulation for normal weather wear and tear.


  • Space – French doors typically swing inward. That means they will need the necessary clearance, possibly forcing you to move a couch or table into an awkward spot.
  • Cost – A set of well-made French doors can cost more than $1,000 – though less expensive options are available. They may also show signs of wear and tear, forcing you to repaint or restain.
  • Weather – With out-swinging French doors, the weather could be a consideration. It’s hard to open a door if it’s piled with snow. Plus, if you have a habit of propping open your patio doors, heavy winds could blow and slam the doors shut.

Choosing Your Patio Door

There are tons of differences between patio door options. When choosing your patio door, you will want to make sure to consider the following options:

  • Door Style – Not all the available designs are a good fit for your home. Traditional homes may not look suitable with a modern patio door, and vice versa.
  • Frame Material – The type of material you choose will determine your door’s functionality and durability. Available choices include wood, aluminum, steel, or composite. Each of these choices has pros and cons. Choosing between them usually comes down to personal preference.
  • Energy Efficiency – In most cases, wood and vinyl patio doors are the most energy efficient. Any glass door you choose should have an available energy efficiency rating. Poor insulation is indicated by a “low E” or “filled insulated glass” rating.

We Can Narrow Your Decision Between Sliding Glass Doors vs. French Doors

When you’re ready to improve your home with sliding or French patio doors, find many options at Penny Window. No matter what look you’re striving for, what features you require, or how much you have to spend, we have doors that can meet all your needs.

We are experts in choosing what is suitable for you and your home.

With our free consultation, one of our employees can help go over any concerns and help narrow down your choices by giving you available options in the style you are looking for.

We pride ourselves in listening to our customer’s needs and delivering what best suits them and their homes. Helping you narrow down door choices by price, efficiency, and look is what we do best.

Our expert door installers will hang your new doors in no time. Start the process by getting a free estimate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Better, French Doors or Sliding Doors?

It is hard to say that either is better than the other. The choice between French and sliding doors depends greatly on the style and functionality you are looking for.

While French doors are more of a traditional look, sliding doors give a modern twist while saving floor space. Additionally, energy efficiency and cost may help guide you to the best choice of patio doors for you.

Are French Doors More Expensive Than Sliding Doors?

On average, French doors are more expensive than sliding doors. A French door itself can cost upwards of $1,000 before installation. Additionally, French doors may show wear and tear sooner, meaning repainting or finishing may be necessary.

Are French Doors More Energy Efficient Than Sliding Doors?

Overall, French doors are more energy efficient than sliding doors. Most French doors are thicker, more advanced glass that helps with insulation. This helps keep outside air out and inside air in, leaving your home as comfortable as possible without raising your electric bill.

Which Are More Secure, Patio Doors or French Doors?

The term patio door, although often thought to mean a glass sliding door, refers to all styles of doors that open to yard space.

However, the French door is often a safer choice when speaking of sliding or French doors. Many things make French doors safer, one being that they are easy to spot when left open. French doors generally have more robust locking mechanisms, sturdier construction, and thicker glass.

Related Resources

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