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French or Patio Doors? What’s the difference and How to Decide on Doors

If you are looking at doors to install at the rear of your property, you’ll have two main choices: French or Patio doors? You might not even realise straight away there’s a difference, so here at Unicorn Windows, put together this guide to help you understand the difference between the two and to help you choose the best one for your property.

French or Patio – Is there a difference?

While both types of doors are stunningly broad and will fill your living area with natural light, there are some key differences. The most noticeable difference is in how they open. French doors are double doors that swing open on hinges. Patio doors are the ones that slide on a track along the wall. Whilst this might sound like merely an aesthetic difference, the two types of mechanisms each have their benefits and drawbacks. 

How do you want your doors to open?

Consider the space you have and how you see the doors opening. For example, French doors generally open outwards. However, this can always be adapted to open inwards if it would suit your property better. 

Patio doors slide along a track and open horizontally. For most people, their choice is based on the space available. 

If you have the space to allow a large swing arc clear outside your home (or inside if you prefer), French doors will give your home a fabulous European style and feel. On the other hand, if space is short,  then a patio door might suit you better. Plus, you won’t need to clear a space each time you want the doors open. Both options offer beautiful big glass panels, wide opening options and plenty of sunlight. 

Do you live in a windy climate?

We know everywhere experiences a bit of wind from time to time. However, if you live in a property that leaves you a little more vulnerable to the elements, you need to ensure your doors won’t slam shut. This is especially important if you have pets or children who might get hurt.

With french doors, there is a risk of doors slamming in windy conditions. There are, of course, ways around this if you are set on this style; For example,  door stops or safety restrictors, which will limit any damage. However, if you are at risk of more windy days than average, then a patio door might suit you better as they are not in any way affected by the wind. 

Opening Control

There are times for a variety of reasons why you might not want your property to be fully open to the outside. Patio doors offer better control if you just want them cracked open to let in a bit of airflow. If you prefer your doors to be fully open, then French doors are ideal, and you get a view that’s twice as wide!

We hope this article has helped you decide which type of doors are best for your property. Whatever you choose, both patio and French doors can make a big difference to your living space and give you year-round views across your property and beyond.