What’s the difference between French doors and patio doors?

When looking to buy a door for your house, it’s very vital that you understand the different types available for you to choose from. This is very necessary because doors are a rather huge investment for your house compared to most other items. Two of the doors that you need a better understanding of are the French and Patio doors. You should be able to tell their differences and the benefits and demerits of each of the two door types. Patio doors are also traditionally known as sliding doors. French doors, on the other hand, belong to the same group of doors except for a few differences as follows:

In Terms of Design

French Doors

A typical French door is double hinged. These doors are operated by folding and opening outwards. Hence, they allow full access to the frame’s opening or gap where they’ve been installed. The ability to access the opening of the door in full is good for spaces that are smaller. They’re also great for the opening into gardens that are smaller where there’s a lot of importance attached to space. However, the largest size of the panel for each door is around 900mm. This that the maximum you can purchase in terms of size is 1800mm. Therefore, for larger openings, French doors won’t be suitable.

Patio Doors

With patio doors, you’re able to get opening spaces that are much wider. Some designs can be as large as 1600mm minimum and 4200mm maximum. Since they have a sliding design, they’re very convenient where space for opening inside or outside the house is restricted because they aren’t opened towards the walls. The demerit of Patio doors is that they only allow for 50% opening at any time. This means that half of the opening space will always be blocked every time. For this reason, patio doors have become less popular.

In Terms of Cost

The costs of the two types of doors vary based on the size and style that you choose. However, typically, the patio doors are relatively cheaper than French doors if they’re larger than 1800m. This is due to the fact that the methods of manufacture, mechanisms and hardware used are a bit more cost-effective.


Security features of every door are a huge concern for anyone looking to purchase a door. However, when you’re considering French doors and Patio Doors, take the following into account:

1. Multipoint Locks

The multipoint locks area very vital security feature of doors that you must look out for. These features help to prevent doors from being forced to open or being unlocked by the use of 3 or 5 point-locks. These locks join the frame and the door when closed.

2. Cover Splines

French doors need to have cover splines for covering the gap between the doors at the point of the meeting. This area needs to be reinforced more since it’s the door’s weakest area.

3. Opening Restrictors

Each and every door needs to have opening restrictors and if yours doesn’t have, you need to get some. These features help in preventing the door from getting by the wind open. This is typical for folding French doors.

4. Anti-Bump Cylinder

Every lock barrel on a door should have anti-bump cylinders. The cylinders offer extra security by preventing the barrels from being pushed through forcefully.

Thermal Performance

When you’re contemplating buying a door, it’s important that you take into account how much the door will be able to save you in terms of energy bills.