The two most common styles of patio doors are gliding (or sliding) and French Style Patio Doors. Many of our clients come to us, wanting to replace their patio doors, but unsure if they want to stick with the same style they have or change to a different one. When they ask our advice on which style is better—gliding patio doors or French style patio doors—we tell them it depends on their situation. If you’re trying to choose which style you prefer, here are the pros and cons of each to help you decide.


Gliding (or Sliding) Patio Doors: Pros and Cons

2 panel Gliding patio door As the name implies, gliding patio doors slide open and closed horizontally along a track. If they are located near furniture or other obstructions, this style is a good choice because they don’t take up any space inside or outside the room. Another advantage to gliding doors is that they are much easier to adjust than French doors when the house foundation experiences shifting (which is a frustrating problem for many San Antonio homeowners). They have a more contemporary look for the modern-themed home, and they are also typically less expensive than French doors.  With the multipoint locking system engaged, these doors are also much more secure than they used to be.Patio Door Multipoint Locking System

There are cases when this style is not the best choice for your home, however. If you need an extra-large opening for moving furniture or hosting parties with a lot of people coming in and out at once, this gliding patio door style probably won’t give you enough space. If your home is older or just has a more classic design, this modern look may not fit with the rest of the house. It also has a more pronounced threshold because of the track it slides on, which is a potential tripping hazard.


French Style Patio Doors: Pros and Cons

french style patio doorsFrench style patio doors open and close like regular doors on hinges. Typically one panel will be the active one that you use regularly, and the other panel can be locked into place as the passive side. These patio doors give a beautiful, classic look to the room they’re in. The multipoint locking system (see image above) has greatly improved their security over the years. They also have the advantage of a very wide opening when both panels are fully opened, perfect for moving large furniture or allowing heavy traffic in and out of the room. Also, with no track to slide on, their threshold sits at a much lower level, which is a bit easier to step over.

There are some disadvantages to this style, however, that may not make it a great fit for your home. For one thing, they require floor space for opening and closing that you don’t have to worry about with gliding patio doors. They are also much harder to adjust when the home’s foundation shifts (again, this can be a issue that many of us face here in South Texas). French doors are generally more expensive than gliding patio doors, as well.


Both styles of patio doors will add a beautiful accent to the room they’re in. It’s really up to the homeowner to decide which one is the better fit for their home and lifestyle. We are always happy to explain the features, benefits, and disadvantages of each to help you with that decision. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us directly.