French Doors Vs Aluminium Sliding Doors – Which is Better?


Looking for easy access to your garden and lots of light streaming in from the outside? Choosing the right patio doors is an important decision to ensure this. Whether you’ve decided to replace your patio door or opt for a completely new one, it can be tough know which style to go for.

Patio doors are available in many different styles, including bi-fold, sliding and French. The two most popular options are French doors and glass sliding doors.  So, how do you decide which is the best option for you?

Luckily, we’ve got all pros and cons of sliding glass doors and French doors to help you reach the right decision for you.

First things first, what’s the difference between French doors and sliding doors?

The topic of French doors vs sliding doors has been long debated. But first let’s go over the main attributes of sliding doors and French doors so you can learn more about what each option entails. We can then go into more detail on the different deciding factors that will help you choose the perfect patio door for you.

French doors: 

  • French doors (also sometimes called hinged patio doors) open from the centre. They are open and closed from their hinges in a swinging manner (much like any other standard door in your home).
  • French door design is generally more ‘classic’ rather than contemporary, so it would suit a home with a more traditional decor scheme and architectural style.
  • With French doors, you can open one door or two, depending on your preferences. You don’t have to throw both open just because you can. The beauty of French doors is you have the option to do so if you want.
  • An advantage of French doors is that you can use that wide open space to move any large furniture items into your home that won’t fit through the front door.
  • French doors typically have chunkier frames than sliding glass doors.


Aluminium sliding doors:

  • Sometimes called gliding patio doors, aluminium sliding doors differ from French doors in that they are made of larger panes of glass and slide open and closed.
  • Sliding doors open by sliding either one over the other, or sliding out from the centre over fixed panels.
  • A sliding door is arguably the ‘neater’ option as the two doors nearly slight into each other rather than swinging inwards or outwards when opening.
  • Another benefit is the ease with which they smoothly open, making them the easier choice for a household where there may be elderly people or disabled people who can simply slide the doors open. You also don’t have to worry about little fingers getting trapped in door hinges or slamming doors.
  • Sliding doors often come with a screen door, so you can enjoy a cool breeze wafting into your home without having to worry about any insects creeping in.
  • Glass sliding doors are also great for those who want as much glass area as possible on their doors. French doors often have thicker frames, especially in the section where the two doors meet in the middle. Lovers of natural light will prefer the bigger glass section and narrow frames disrupting the view that sliding doors offer.
  • When sliding doors are open, no extra space is taken up as they slide into each other. So they are the more space-efficient option of the two.
  • Aluminium sliding doors are more contemporary in style, so may not suit a more traditionally decorated home but would suit those homes with a more modern aesthetic.

French Doors vs Sliding Doors Security and Energy Efficiency

Ensuring your home has the most energy efficient glass sliding doors and windows is a priority for any homeowner. Out of these two types of patio doors, French doors had traditionally been better at retaining heat and keeping the cold out. This is because glass isn’t great for insulation and sliding doors have larger glass sections than French doors. However, sliding doors offer a tighter seal than French doors. And it is now possible to invest in double glazed sliding doors with advanced insulation technology. So it is fair to say that modern sliding doors are now more energy efficient than French doors.

The security levels of aluminum sliding doors and French doors has improved a lot over the years as technology and more stable materials combine to make them more burglar resistant. There are additional security measures you can take when installing your patio doors to make your home safer. This includes the installation of electronic locks and automated alarm systems, which work really well with sliding doors. Our sliding door manufacturers Sunflex offer all these measures to so you can choose the level of security you need to help you feel comfortable in your home.

Whichever option you decide to go for, check that your choice is classified as British Standard (BS) Kitemark PAS 24-1 to ensure optimum security.

French Doors vs Sliding Doors Cost

Cost is an important consideration that will help you decide which patio door to opt for. In the UK, the average starting price for basic patio doors is £1500+ for French doors and sliding doors. These average prices are including labour and all the materials, so you could cut down on costs if you’re a DIY expert who can fit the doors in yourselves. However, it is a complicated project, so we’d advise getting your doors professionally installed to avoid any issues later down the line.

Traditional wooden French doors are usually more expensive than sliding glass doors. It does all depend on variable factors such as the specific model you go for, customisation of the security measures and insulation, and whether you are doing the installation yourself.

French Doors vs Sliding Door Design

Your design preference could be the main deciding factor between French doors and aluminium sliding doors as they differ quite a bit in terms of their aesthetics. As mentioned before, French doors tend to have wider door frames, meaning that you get less natural light streaming into your home. This chunkier frame of French doors may be more suitable for older properties, or those who like a traditional style of decor.

Sliding doors offer lots more natural light and a simple narrow frame for those who prefer a modern and functional design. The way that glass sliding doors are designed means that you get a neater looking door as the doors simply tuck into each other (which is also a great factor for those looking for a more space efficient option).


French Doors vs Sliding Doors View

Who doesn’t want to enjoy the sight of a nice garden view out of their patio doors? Sliding doors are undoubtedly the better option for this, as they offer wider views from their larger glass panels. Even when sliding doors are open, your view won’t be disrupted. Since French doors can’t open as wide, they tend to offer a more restricted outside view. 

To summarise, are sliding doors or French patio doors better?

The short answer is – it really depends on your needs and preferences! It is clear that aluminium sliding doors are the better option in terms of functionalities due to their space-efficiency, ease of use, better views and ability to stream in a lot more light. However, French doors could be better suited for those who like the traditional design and have more space to play with. Either way, hopefully, this article has helped you understand a little more about the pros and cons of both options so you can decide which is best for you.

Still struggling to decide? Contact us with any more questions and we’d be happy to help.