An extended guide to patio door features

Apart from rushing out and buying the first set of patio door that you see, what would be the best thing to do in the situation where you want to have a new set fitted to your property?

Its probably a good idea to know the style choices, the different options for frames and glazing and have a rough idea of costs.

Patio Door Types

Broadly speaking you are looking at 3 designs:

  • inline sliding patio doors
  • swing patio doors
  • folding patio doors

Each type has its plusses and minuses, some of these Pros & Cons are going to be more influential on your choice, others less so.

#1) Sliding patio doors


  1. readily available in many options
  2. easy to install
  3. easy to operate
  4. secure
  5. UPVC, Aluminium and Timber versions
  6. Can be used for any size opening
  7. cant be blown open or closed by the wind


  1. can take up space within the frame and reduce size of entry/ exit way
  2. rollers can jam
  3. track can fill with debris and allow water to cross the threshold
  4. big doors can be heavy to move

#2) Swing patio door


  1. Great for small openings
  2. lightweight, easy to use
  3. side hinged
  4. easy to install
  5. easiest to operate
  6. UPVC, aluminium and wood door options


  1. not so suited for larger openings
  2. need side or top panels for wide openings
  3. can be blown pen or shut by the wind
  4. higher thresholds can be inconvenient

#3) Folding patio door


  1. Great for very large openings
  2. super glide tracks, easy to use
  3. side hinged and top or bottom hinged
  4. traffic doors for simple quick entrance exit
  5. almost 100% clear entry / exit way
  6. UPVC, aluminium and wood door options


  1. rollers can jump tracks
  2. bottom track can fill with dirt and allow water to come into the home
  3. costlier that the other designs

Opinion & summary

In our humble opinion, if you can afford them, then bifold patio doors are the most appealing, functional and secure. Whilst French doors look really good for smaller openings (up to around 2500m wide), there is the need to add side panels if you have a wide section to cover.

Sliding doors, are visually appealing when closed and offer a lot of external view, but you lose out on clear opening when the doors are opened because they always sit within the tracks – unlike bifold doors which move completely to the sides.

How much do they cost? – find out more here:

Patio Door Designs and Prices