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French Doors vs Sliding Doors: Which Is Best For Your Home?

When choosing between French doors vs sliding doors, there's a lot to consider. Learn more about price, style, energy efficiency, and more here.

So you’ve set up the house of your dreams, but you can’t figure out whether to go for french doors or sliding doors. 

Admittedly, you’re not alone in the big discussion of french doors vs sliding doors, and which are superior and better than the other. All you might know is that one comes with hinges and the other slides around. The short, and frustrating, answer about which is best is that it depends.

If you’ve been spending way too much time thinking about which one to pick, no worries. We’ve got you covered. 

Keep on reading for our full breakdown of the differences between French doors and sliding doors, and the key factors you’ll want to consider when you’re comparing the two models. 

French Doors vs Sliding Doors 101: The Basics of Design

Before we start our deep dive into the intricacies and differences between French doors and sliding doors, let’s make sure that you have the basics down. 

There are main stylistic differences between French doors and sliding doors that you need to know before understanding the comparison points. 

What Are French Doors?

Those are pretty patio doors that can swing open to provide a clear view of the outdoors. It follows a simple double-door style that can easily elevate both your interior and exterior looks. 

One of time main perks of getting French doors is the high degree of natural light that’s allowed to come through, illuminating the whole space and giving you a plethora of health benefits

Whether you’re a fan of leaving your doors wide open or just opening it a crack, it’s a lovely way to let some fresh air into your space. 

Moreover, you can go for French-style doors that can open outward or inward depending on your chosen model. 

But, you’ll want to keep in mind that you’ll need some clearance and space to fully open your patio doors. This is doubly true for the ones that open inward. 

What Are Sliding Doors?

You can consider sliding patio doors as more of an umbrella term for the host of versatile designs and types of sliding doors. 

There are your traditional sliding glass doors that tend to come in two large glass-made door panels and it gets more creative from there. 

One of the main reasons behind the creation of sliding doors is outfitting places with less space flexibility. You get to take advantage of having doors that slide in and out of position.

You can pick sliding doors that are made of fiberglass, vinyl, and even wood. 

French Doors vs Sliding Doors: The Battle Royale

Alright, now we’re at a point where we can start looking at the key comparison elements.

Those will be a lifesaver when it comes to nailing down which model of patio doors will be better for your space and your budget.

Energy-Efficiency

When it comes to energy efficiency, you can rest easy and know that there are models of French and sliding doors that can be equally energy-efficient. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of picking an energy-efficient model. It’s not only better for the environment, but it will also help you cut down on your cooling and heating bills.

Also, it’s a simple way to help your home’s temperature stay constant all year round. All you need to do is check the model’s ENERGY STAR® certification.

In addition, you’ll want to invest in doors that come with double (or even triple) paned glass. If you already have a pair of patio doors, and you’re noticing that your current windows have been leaking heat and air, you’ll want to get some door window replacements as soon as possible. 

Design Considerations

Sure, we’ve already spoken about the importance of getting enough natural light exposure. Thankfully, you can get either kind of patio door and they’ll allow enough light in. 

A slight difference would be the narrower frame of a sliding glass door, which allows for higher rates of natural light in comparison to French doors. 

The key differentiation here is about the design and the stylistic preferences. For instance, whenever you see historic and classic homes, you’ll find that they’ve used French patio doors. 

It mixes well with this form of architectural style. On the other end of the spectrum, you can get some modern sliding door pieces, and even pick ones with a pop of color to add some personality to your space. 

Price Range

When all else is held constant, you’ll find that French doors can cost you a bit more (on average) than sliding doors. 

However, you’ll want to keep in mind that your selected size, glass pack, hardware, materials, and the manufacturer will all influence your final price point. 

You can get rather well-made and unique sliding doors depending on the design you have in mind, and they can cost you a pretty penny.

Weather Concerns

Generally speaking, you’ll find that French doors tend to close (or slam shut) easier in a climate with heavy winds in comparison to sliding patio doors. 

Also, if you’re dealing with a lot of heavy rain, hail, or snow, you’ll want to pick French doors that swing out, not inwards. This way you can prevent moisture from getting into your indoor spaces. 

The Frequency of Maintenance

Sliding doors are lovely, except when the sliding mechanism of the glider door gets stuck or comes off its track.

If you’re used to energetic pets, and excitable guests with high probabilities of running into your screen, you might want to consider going for French doors instead. 

Ready to Get the Right Patio Doors of Your Dreams?

We know how overwhelming it can get to start researching the different types of patio doors available on the market and get lost in the different designs. 

Hopefully, our breakdown has shed some light on the french doors vs sliding doors comparison and helped you nail down which type you’d prefer for your home. 

If you enjoyed this comparison piece, you’ll want to check out more of the same at our home and garden section. There you can explore all the tips and tricks you could possibly need to take your home style to the next level.