Sliding Patio Doors vs French Doors: What's the Difference?

Ashley Christensen
October 23, 2023

When looking at sliding patio doors and French doors side by side, there are some obvious and not-so-obvious differences between the two. The best way to decide which one is the right choice for you and your home is to compare the two, side-by-side. 

French Door Facts

French doors are a fairly common style of entry doors, referring to both swinging and hinged doors. One of the biggest distinctions of French doors is that they have the ability to be opened both inward or outward from the center, instead of on the sides. French doors typically have a more intricate style and appearance, so they are most commonly found in homes that have a more traditional style to them. 

Sliding Patio Door Facts

As the name implies, sliding patio doors slide open and close instead of swinging open and close. Additionally, sliding patio doors come with a sliding screen door, so you can leave your patio door empty and enjoy the beautiful weather outside without worrying about bugs! Sliding patio doors are generally made out of vinyl and are available in the same colors as your vinyl windows. 


As with most other things, the price is a determining factor when deciding on which style of door to purchase. Which one is more expensive and which one will fit within your budget? On average, french doors typically cost more than sliding patio doors, but as with most other things, the size and style can cause the price to vary drastically. In order to be able to accurately determine which door is going to be more affordable, get a bid based on your personal preferences. Color, size, style, etc. will all factor into the price, making it difficult to give a general price here. 

Design Differences 

If you are undecided on which door style you want to invest in for your home, there are a few key design elements that differentiate the two that might help you make a final decision. 

  • French Doors Have a Wider Frame

When comparing French doors to sliding patio doors, you’ll quickly notice that French doors have a wider frame, which is a more traditional style that many homeowners desire. On the other hand, sliding patio doors have a narrower frame, allowing more natural light to enter your home. 

  • Different Hardware Options

Because sliding patio doors operate differently than hinged French doors, this means they require different hardware options. French doors have hinges and swing open, meaning they require hardware that has a latch to keep the door shut and not blowing open. On the other hand, because sliding patio doors don’t swing open, they don’t require a latch to keep them closed, therefore, they require a different style of hardware to operate. 

  • Sliding Patio Doors Use Less Space

If space is a concern, you’re not going to want to invest in a door that requires ample space to operate. If space isn’t a concern, you can purchase any style of door that you want without worrying about using it. In homes, where space is of concern, sliding patio doors are ideal as they take up minimal space compared to French doors that require a significant amount of space. 

As you can see, each style of door has its own distinct features, that appeal to different homeowners. Deciding on which one is the better door, comes down to personal preference. If you are looking to replace your sliding patio door with a new one or want to replace your French door with a new sliding patio door, contact Gordon’s Glass today to receive a free estimate!

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