Patio Doors – The Complete Guide To The Different Options

Patio Doors For You

Looking to transform a room in your house, without expensive building work? Patio doors are a significant way to open up a living space, bringing in natural light and fresh air

These flexible types of doors can provide a new vista or enhance a current view, provide peace of mind in terms of security and for many, offer a new quality of life not to mention adding value to a home.

Types and Styles of Patio Doors

As with most things related to home improvement and double glazing, there are a lot of different choices when it comes to the style you choose.

We’ve picked out the three most popular options to look into in a bit more detail…

French Doors

These are ideal for smaller openings.

Two doors open from the centre thereby not obstructing views when open.

They can be hung to open inwards or outwards with the option of Georgian bars depending on the aesthetics of the home.

If more light is required, there may be scope to fit ‘sidelights’ either side of the doors, also giving the illusion of a wider effect.

French Patio Doors

Sliding Patio Doors

Two or three panels slide sideways, overlapping one panel.

Without the need to open inwards or outwards, a sliding patio door won’t take up valuable space inside the room or outdoors.

The slide can be slight, thereby allowing a small amount of air and less access or opened fully for maximum benefit.

If the building allows, ‘pocket doors’ can be installed; the sliding panel disappears into a cavity recess for neatness.

Sliding Patio Doors

Bifold Doors

Sometimes referred to as ‘folding slide’.

These sliding glass doors often run on tracks flush with the floor which gives the feel of the garden and home being all one, complete space.

Whole walls of glass can be concertina-ed open, by ‘stacking’ the door panels either inside or outside offering the greatest view and accessibility in large spaces.

Bifold Patio Doors

What’s right for me?

Whilst choosing a patio door is a personal choice, there are key factors to consider first.

Patio doors rarely require planning permission.

However, if the building in question is listed or in a conservation area, it is advisable to check with the local authority in case restrictions apply.

A trusted company specialising in patio doors will be able to talk through the best options for you offering a fitting service which, depending on the complexity of the work.

This usually takes between one and three days and causes minimal disruption to the home.

Alternatively, patio doors can be purchased off-the-shelf from hardware stores and fitted by a builder or (to reduce labour costs) some may consider it a DIY project.


Considering your family needs (your style of living, the look you desire, room size and of course budget) will be paramount to choosing the right patio door (see also ‘How To Measure A Door‘).

It would be prudent to think about how often the doors are likely to be used – summer months when garden use is at an optimum, the opening of a large wall space is great for social gatherings and extending the indoor space.

Cost of Patio Doors

Prices of patio doors vary greatly.

Naturally, the choice of material will be the key factor, but doors follow fashion trends which are reflected in the pricing.

For example, bifold openers had become hugely popular in recent years and therefore often represented the most expensive option, yet more recently the trend is shifting towards sliding doors.

Designers especially are frequently being asked to to incorporate this option, favoured by many because it offers the most unobstructed views when the doors are closed.

Aluminium, being the sturdiest material, is at the top end of the pricing scale.

At the other end of the scale, off-the-shelf PVC doors represent the cheapest option.

Other factors will include door ‘furniture’; handles, weatherstrips and locks for example, which may or may not be included in the initial price. 

In terms of your glazing choices, all types of patio doors can be produced in double or triple glazing.

Whilst triple glazing offers the best in terms of thermal efficiency this has to be weighed up with the extra cost.

These days, many high-performance, double-glazed patio doors have more than adequate levels of thermal efficiency.

The cost of fitting will depend upon the complexity of the project but as with all home improvements, it is advisable to get at least 2 quotes from different installers.

Naturally, when purchasing doors from a company, it is important to check their history and if possible, ask to view previous work they’ve done in your area.

It’s also important to check the warranties included.

check the warranties included!

Wood, uPVC or Aluminium?

When choosing patio doors, it’s worthwhile thinking about the area you live in as far as climate is concerned (see also ‘How To Keep Patio Door Open In Wind‘).

Some doors expand and contract and so if you experience broad changes in weather where you live, make sure the system you choose can cope with this.

All types of patio doors can be supplied in UPVc, wood and aluminium.

Wooden doors are often chosen for their sustainability, their traditional feel and versatility. They can be painted or stained to suit the style of property.

Aluminium doors have been powder-coated and therefore do not need repainting and can be made in wider fittings than timber as there is no warping when exposed to heat and moisture.

For those who value both material types, the clever combination of timber internally with aluminium frames is known as ‘composite’ doors.

That’s it from us! 

Hopefully that has helped highlight some of the most popular options for the ever-popular glass patio doors and given you some useful information to take to your local window company.

You can find all our other buyers guides via the Glass Directors homepage.

And if you already have a set of these and are looking to improve the security, check out our guide to patio door alarms here.

Matt James

Matt James

Hi, Matt here! I started out almost 20 years ago as a teenager working in the family business fitting doors, windows and conservatories. I now run this website to share the best tips and advice for anyone looking to get a good deal on double glazing.

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