Sliding Doors vs. French Doors: Pros & Cons

Sliding doors overlooking deck

Is it time to replace your sliding door? Are you tired of working around a slider that stopped working years ago?

When it comes to patio doors, nothing can create the instant feeling of summer and relaxation quite like them.

Sometimes, nothing could be more frustrating than an old or cheap sliding glass door that doesn’t work anymore.

You want to step out onto your back deck or patio easily or bring some more fresh air inside.

However, you have to get the door replaced first. If it’s time to replace that door, you are probably thinking about what kind of door you would like to choose, and which doors are in your budget.

Any style of door can be called a patio door these days. Generally, patio doors are built to be more like windows to let in light when they are closed.

However, in the past, patio doors were synonymous with sliding doors.

Choosing a New Door: French Doors or Sliding Doors

Should you stay with a sliding door, or opt for French doors?

French doors have had resurgence in popularity lately. However, they are not for everyone. There are different benefits and drawbacks of each type.

Sliding doors off dining area

Sliding Doors

There is a good reason sliding doors have remained popular. Sliding glass doors can span much greater openings in their standard widths than French doors.

In addition, sliding doors are great for use in restricted space when there is no room to open a door either inward or outward.

One drawback is that only 50% of the opening can be open to the outside at a time.

Sliding doors are at the lowest price point if you choose vinyl or aluminum.

However, with the lower price point comes the frustration of this type of door beginning to stick or not run smoothly along its track after only a few years.

Sliding doors tend to expand and contract more with the heat and cold. And cheaper materials do tend to look cheaper too.

The style itself can be a good one for midcentury modern homes with clean lines. There is no reason you shouldn’t choose a slider just because it’s a slider if you like the style otherwise.

Several manufacturers make a high-quality gliding door that will last as long as the house itself.

And don’t be fooled by those big box prices! Often the price you see advertised is for the door without hardware, additional treatments to the glass, or installation.

Once you price all that out, that good deal doesn’t seem so good, especially if the door isn’t going to last very long.

French doors

French Doors

French doorsTraditionally, French doors are hinged double doors that open outward. They can be designed to open inward according to the homeowner’s desires.

The great thing about French doors is that they allow you to use the entire opening.

The drawback is that they are limited by their maximum leaf size, which isn’t as large in the standard range of sizes as the sliding doors.

This can be perfect for smaller homes with smaller openings where you want to maximize the opening you have. They are also popular for more traditional style homes, and they can accommodate several different styles of window.

One factor to consider is cost.

French doors are more expensive than sliding doors, especially the bigger the size you are getting. If you are ready to make a more significant purchase for a home you plan to stay in forever; French doors are a good option.

For a quick upgrade before you sell your house, a sliding glass door is probably a better option.


It’s always a good idea to get a quote from a professional contractor for things like a new patio door.

Contractors can get wholesale pricing on patio doors, and their quotes will include hardware and installation.

Unless you have a lot of experience, it’s not a good idea to try to replace one of these yourself, as there are many ways to mess up and only a small margin for errors.

Bringing it Home

There are great options for both sliding glass doors and French doors for every style and price point.

Is your home located in Southeast Michigan? If you need any help finding what fits your needs, please give us a call! We would be happy to help with your new patio door.

Let’s get started


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