French Doors versus Sliding Doors

Double French Doors — Windows And Doors in Cheltenham, VIC

The doors you choose for your home can add a wonderful aesthetic appeal; most of us don’t even bother to change the doors and leave them as they are when we first purchase our home. Sooner or later, you’ll want to look into a door replacement to add a touch of personal style and improved functionality, also to reinforce your home’s security with a new door installation. A new door is like a breath of fresh air for your home!

While most doors can be simply swapped out for a new design, there’s one place where you get a lot more flexibility: the exterior doors to your patio or backyard. These doors are far more interesting because they connect the indoor and outdoor spaces of your home, so it’s important to give due consideration to function and features. Both visual and physical transition from indoors to outdoors needs to be seamless without compromising your energy efficiency, security or aesthetics.

A door replacement project is a significant financial investment and there are a lot of important things to keep in mind, so to help make things easier for you we’re going to talk about the two most common door styles: French Doors and Sliding Doors.

French Doors and Sliding Doors

The two most common styles of exterior door that can lead to your backyard are known as French doors and Sliding Doors.

Sliding Doors are, most commonly, made from two components; a fixed panel and a sliding panel – essentially two framed glass panels, one of which is mounted on rollers allowing a smooth opening and closing action. These are designed to offer a more seamless transition between your interior and your exterior, creating the illusion that it’s one continuous space thanks to the majority of it being made of glass.

On the other hand, French Doors are the more traditional style doors found in homes and often have large, broad frames that house a smaller bevelled glass panel. French doors comprise two identical panels that swing open, usually outwards. Because the two doors are usually identical, they’re often flanked by two additional glass sidelight panels to let in more light and create a more open feel.

View Of Lake From The House — Windows And Doors in Cheltenham, VIC
Half Opened French Doors — Windows And Doors in Cheltenham, VIC

Materials used in French Doors and Sliding Doors

When choosing French Doors or Sliding Doors, you’ll find that the two most common materials used are aluminium and timber.

Timber requires regular maintenance and can be enhanced to fit your home aesthetically by simply sealing or staining with a natural finish, or by painting a different colour inside to outside. However, due to the porosity of timber as a natural material, it will degrade over time and therefore won’t last as long as aluminium. Timber also has the advantage of keeping your home a little warmer in winter and cooler in summer since its density is more thermally efficient than aluminium.

Aluminium is the polar opposite on many points; while it can still look aesthetically pleasing when modernising a home, it can’t compete on flexibility with colour choices (inside or out) or thermal properties. That said, Aluminium offers a budget friendly solution – it’s less expensive than Timber at the outset and requires little to no maintenance going forward, making it a great “no fuss” solution in this busy life we lead.

Comparing French Doors and Sliding Doors

Now let’s take a look at the main differences between French Doors and Sliding Doors and their pros and cons.

French Doors Advantages and Disadvantages

Let’s start with the advantages of French doors.

  • Wider doorway – French doors have a much wider doorway which is great for ventilation and for moving large items in and out of your home.
  • Design flexibility – French doors offer choices for traditional, colonial or sleek and modern by selecting different materials and glazing finishes.
  • Improved ventilation – Since both doors open up, it creates a much wider space allowing greater airflow through your home on pleasant days.
  • Aesthetically pleasing – For traditional homes such as Victorian and Edwardian or California Bungalows, French Doors tend to conform more to the original styling.
  • Retractable screens – Retractable insect screens can be fitted to French doors, keeping bugs out whilst preserving the visual connection to your outdoor space.

And now we’ll cover the disadvantages.

  • Swing space – Since they swing open inwards or outwards, the doors may encroach on walkways and limit where you can place furniture and other items.
  • Less viewing space – The broad frames of French doors make the glass panels smaller, obstructing your views.
  • Potential maintenance worries – French doors are heavy with lots of moving parts, and require regular maintenance of hinges, flush bolts and locks for smooth operation.

Sliding Doors Advantages and Disadvantages

Let’s first discuss the advantages of Sliding doors.

  • Space-saving design – Sliding doors take up a lot less space due to their inline design.
  • More viewing space – Less frame and more glass, particularly in aluminium designs, causes less visual interruption and lets in more light.
  • Comparatively inexpensive – With fewer moving parts, larger frames and glass panels, Sliding Doors are less expensive to manufacture and install than French Doors.
  • Excellent aesthetics – Sliding Doors are a practical solution and look fantastic in almost all modern homes, and most traditional homes.

Finally, we’ll cover the disadvantages.

  • Added security compromises aesthetics – in certain situations, making Sliding doors even more secure can require the installation of bulky external anti-lift locks, internal dead bolts or costly dark and heavy security screen doors.
  • Entry space is limited – Having a fixed panel means that your opening is generally half that of French Doors, restricting the overall functionality of the doorway.
  • Maintenance – since the rollers and tracks can accumulate dust and grit, they require regular brushing and vacuuming, plus the larger glass panels of sliding doors may mean more frequent cleaning of handprints!

Recap and Summing Up

While choosing between French doors and sliding doors can be difficult, we hope that this article has helped make your decision a lot easier.

French doors can provide a unique look to your home while offering a lot of ventilation and access space, but they can be difficult to maintain especially over long periods of time. On the other hand, sliding doors are easier to use and more budget-friendly, saving space and keeping you connected with your outdoor space; however, they offer a smaller doorway.

If you’re still having trouble deciding, then give our experts at Facelift for Homes a call 1300 732 523 – we’d be more than happy to answer any of your questions regarding door replacements, or to help guide you to the door that’s right for your needs!

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Special “Winter Warmer” Double-Glazing Promotion On Now – Visit our Showroom at 58/148 Chesterville Road Cheltenham, or call 9532 2727 for details!

Special “Winter Warmer” Double-Glazing Promotion On Now – Visit our Showroom at 58/148 Chesterville Road Cheltenham, or call 9532 2727 for details!