All your questions about patio doors answered

patio door garden

A patio doorway opens to the outdoor parts of the house, leading to the backyard or opening up the living room to a deck or a garden. Patio doors are normally sliding doors, but in recent years the term has been used interchangeably with many different types of doors. And in this article we are considering the different types of ‘patio doors’, including folding doors, sliding doors French doors and garden doors.

Things to think of when deciding on a patio door

Before you decide on the type of patio door for a new construction project or replacement for an existing exterior door, ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Is it?

  • Improved functionality
  • Enhancing visual appeal
  • Durability or sturdiness
  • Energy efficient patio doors
  • Increase natural light

These cover the majority of reasons for choosing patio doors. There are other practical considerations will affect what kind of patio or garden doors can be installed.

  • How much space is there for the door to fill?
  • Does the door have room to swing?
  • Will the door frame have sidelights?
  • What style fits best with surrounding décor?
  • How often will the door be used?
  • How cold does it get in your city?
  • What is the budget for the project?

Types of patio doors

Sliding glass patio doors – They are comprised of one or more panes of sliding glass. These doors are very space-efficient, functional and offer the best views out. Sliding doors also start at budget-friendly prices, making them some of the most popular types of patio doors.

Lift and swing patio doors – Like sliding patio doors these too have a sliding mechanism but the panes of glass are much larger. Lift and swing style doors are unparalleled for matching a great view outside. The lift and slide mechanism makes them extremely energy efficient and easy to operate.

Swinging French doors – These are like ordinary doors hinged on one side. French doors are available in a vast selection of styles, with glass inserts, single fold, bi-fold doors and more. Most French patio doors have large glass windows or complete glass panels and sidelights to maximize natural light.

Folding doors – Folding patio doors offer the panoramic views of sliding doors while making a style statement. Folding doors are great for extremely wide openings; they are used to expand the living room in an integrated outdoor deck. Doors can be bi-fold, tri-fold or more; they can have up to eight glass folds!

Garden door – A garden door is a simple but sturdy workhorse patio door. These are like entryway doors, usually with a wood effect, glass inserts and sidelights. Many come with blinds integrated into the door, and incorporate energy efficiency features. These are reliable workhorses; ideal if all you want is a strong patio door that can handle the worst the weather can throw at it.

Glass and type of glass

Energy efficient glass – A patio door with double-glazed glass panels helps keep energy bills low; important if the door has floor to ceiling glass panelling. Low emissivity (Low-E) glass also adds a Low-E coating which keeps the indoors warm/cool and reflects sunlight.

Decorative glass – Decorative glass inserts are usually reserved for garden doors and French doors. Decorative glass adds style and enhances privacy. Decorative elements can include steel grills, colored glass and even frosted glass.

Built-in blinds – Having blinds incorporated between panes of glass in patio doors is an incredible space saver. They make a space much neater and you don’t have to clean them either. Blinds can be manually or electrically operated.

Don’t want your neighbours peeking through your patio doors? Door systems offer a ‘privacy level’ rating for swinging doors, bi-fold doors and sidelights.


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Material choice

Vinyl patio doors – Vinyl is one of the most popular materials for patio doors. It is strong and energy efficient. Vinyl doors resist weather wearing extremely well and do not deform in extreme cold.

Wooden garden doors –Wood doors look great but they are expensive and difficult to maintain. Wood also requires regular maintenance and wooden doors are known to bend, warp, break and jam in changeable weather.

Steel and aluminum patio doors – Doors made of steel and aluminum are some of the most durable you will find. In fact, folding patio doors and sliding doors are often made of metal because it is such a durable material.

Speak to Eco Choice Windows and Doors about new patio doors for your home or establishment. Schedule an appointment for a free on-site visit to understand what doors will work best for you, receive an estimate and find easy financing options.