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Patio Doors: French Doors Versus Sliding Glass Doors

Hi, I hope you can you help us with something.

Myself and my wife just bought our first house. The living room has two sliding doors (patio doors). They’re pretty beat up and we want to replace them. We’re thinking about using French doors instead, but we’re not sure of the pros and cons. Stuff like energy efficiency, maintenance, security etc.


Congratulations on the new house. I remember buying my first house; it was exciting…and scary all at once.

On to your question. When it comes to performance, maintenance, and security, there’s not a big difference between a French door and a sliding door. If you get a good patio door and solid installation, a French door will perform just as well as a sliding door. You can get quality locks for both types—auxiliary foot locks for sliding doors and multi-point locks for French doors.

Maintenance depends on what kind of material you get. Wood will need to be scraped and repainted to stop rot. Vinyl or vinyl-clad won’t. I would just stay away from aluminum—it will kill your energy bills.

Here are the three differences you and your wife should consider:

1)    Looks: French doors look more classic, while sliding doors are more modern.
2)    Space: Sliding doors are going to take up less space than French doors because the panels don’t swing out. I don’t know what your living room is like, but an inswing French door in a small living room could be a problem.
3)    Function: A big benefit of a French door is that you can open both panels. The extra wide opening is great when you need to haul in furniture. Sliding doors will always have one panel that stays put.

Most people make their decision based on number 1 alone. There’s nothing wrong with that. A lot of homeowners choose French doors purely for looks. Of course, now you can get a sliding door that looks like a French door! Check out the Frenchwood  sliding patio door on this page.  Just make sure you get a good door and a good installation.

Gerry Rogers About Gerry Rogers

Gerry Rogers is the President of Mr. Rogers Windows


  1. Hi, Gerry:

    My husband and I want to replace our sliding glass doors. We like the elegance of French doors (we have room to open them) but I like to bring the outside in and don’t like how much the frame of the French door takes away from the view. Do you have an in-between solution for us? Is there an elegant-looking sliding glass door or glass door, or a French door that has a smaller frame? Or anything I haven’t even thought of.



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