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French Doors vs Sliding Patio Doors

September 6, 2016

We're routinely asked to provide quotes for French doors to people planning their home renovation projects. As much as we love the look of French doors we will sometimes recommend installing a sliding patio door instead. We carry great options on both of these products, but here's an insider's look at the pros and cons and why you might consider installing a sliding patio door instead.

  1. The Look: People love the look of a traditional French door. It has an undeniable elegance that's mainly associated with the grid pattern. Did you know that we also have sliding vinyl patio doors that have this same pattern? So if it's just the look that you find appealing, read on.
  2. Grids: Sure, the grids on a French door are classy, but they can also be a bit of a pain to clean. With a vinyl patio door, the grid pattern is actually sandwiched between the sealed units, so there are no edges to collect dirt. You get the look you love, and they're a breeze to clean. 
  3. Space Saving: French doors take up more "opening space" then sliding patio doors. If you have a smaller sized patio or deck, the space it takes to open the door can compete with your limited furniture space. Like a pocket door, a vinyl sliding patio door doesn't require a "swing" which makes it a space saver in small spaces. 
  4. Ease of Installation: French doors can be finicky to install especially if you're renovating an old door. If it's you're not an experienced builder, most find that patio doors are easier to install as they have fewer moving parts. Installing French doors requires balancing and fine tuning, so for those who want a simple approach we will also recommend choosing a patio door.
  5. Lots of Sizes. There are far more options available if you choose a sliding door. The standard sizes for a sliding vinyl door are a 6068 XO or OX. This translates to a door that's 6' wide and 6'8" tall. The "O" represents the non opening side of the door and the X represents the opening portion of the door if you are on the outside of the house looking in. So a sliding door in a 5068 is, you guessed it... 5' by 6'8". An 6068XO is a 6' door whereby the right side of the door slides from right to left. Now having said all of this, you can also get larger doors that have more sections (e.g OXO), a door with transoms (glass sections above the door itself) and doors that are even taller. 
  6. Easy Sliding: Many people have had negative experiences with older styles of aluminum patio doors or low quality vinyl doors. They were beasts to open and close, especially when parts got rusty and worn, or they warped over time. This is an  issue of the past,as these doors now have lighter construction, better quality materials and significantly better engineering overall. You can literally push these doors open with one finger.


If you still prefer the wider opening of a French door, you don't mind cleaning the grids, and can spend the time or money to install them correctly we have some great options for you and are happy to provide a quote. If you prefer a Modern approach, a sliding patio door is a often a better solution for gaining easy access to the great outdoors. Give us a call and let's talk about colours, styles and sizes.

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