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French Vs Sliding Glass Doors: Which Is Right for You?

Sliding Glass Door
The transition space between your house and your patio is important. The natural option is a door. The question is, which kind of door is right for you? Your two main options are French doors and sliding glass doors. Both are practical, attractive choices for your house. Learn about which is right for your style and needs.

French Doors

French doors are doubled-up doors that meet in the middle with hinges on the sides. The door entry is wider to accommodate the double doors, though the doors themselves are narrower than traditional doors. French doors can come with a single, large pane of glass or multiple panes. A common customization is choosing an arched French door.

Pros and Cons 

The only real disadvantage of French doors is that you have two latches to work instead of one. Realistically, though, the two doors are a benefit because you can open one and leave the other closed to control ventilation. When you open both, you have a wider entrance to travel through, which is handy if you're carrying supplies out to the patio or accommodating people with disabilities.

The other main advantage of French doors is their aesthetic. These double doors are considered a classic in design. What's more, since they come in a wide variety of styles, you're sure to find a set that matches your d├ęcor.


French doors don't require much more maintenance than traditional doors, except again that you have double latches to watch out for. Likewise, one or both doors feature a locking system at the top and bottom to secure it to the frame in case you only want one door open, so you'll need to keep those in working order. Finally, you'll want to ensure the hinges stay adjusted.

Window Treatments

If you want to control the light and the view through your French doors, you have a few options. Some homeowners hang light curtains from above the door. You can also have the panes fitted with plantation shutters. Another common treatment for French doors is blinds, especially naturalistic bamboo or matchstick blinds.

Sliding Glass Doors

Sliding glass doors consist of a large pane of glass in a frame. The frame slides along tracks at the top and the bottom with a latch on one side for security. While traditional sliding glass doors are only a little wider than standard doors, you can also choose wider glass walls to create more open space between the interior and exterior. Frames are usually aluminum, vinyl, or fiberglass.

Pros and Cons

Sliding glass doors come in fewer style options. What's more, you have a track at the bottom, which can be a tripping hazard.

That said, one of the big advantages of sliding glass doors is how much glass you can have. Even a traditional sliding glass door features a large pane of glass with no obstruction of views and light. When you choose a sliding glass wall, you can minimize the transition between the indoors and outdoors. Likewise, you can keep the sliding door open at any level to control ventilation.


Over time, sliding glass doors can stick in the track and be difficult to move. Typically, this stickiness is a result of dirty rollers or debris in the track, so you'll need to clean those out. Following the cleaning, it's necessary to lubricate the tracks. You'll also want to watch the latch mechanism, though they usually don't present undue problems.

Window Treatments

Window treatments for sliding glass doors are similar as for French doors, consisting primarily of light curtains or fitted blinds. However, some homeowners opt for vertical blinds. A bonus of vertical blinds is that you can control light and privacy, and they're easy to sweep aside to use the door.

The door style you choose depends largely on whether you fancy modern-looking sliding glass doors or classic-looking French doors. Either way, visit Wadsworth Glass Inc. for a wide variety of patio door options.


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