Quite often I’m asked by customers for my thoughts on whether they should replace their existing sliding patio doors with a French swing double door system. They usually see it as an updated more refined look.
Well there are some advantages and disadvantages to each option.
French doors definitely change the look of an entry and a whole room sometimes. They can provide a larger opening (walk through) area than sliders, come in a variety of materials from steel and fiberglass to wood or vinyl. Additionally, they can be fitted with elegant or contemporary hardware in numerous styles and finishes. As for disadvantages, they do reduce the amount of visible light that enters the room, require swing area to open on either the inside or outside and some systems require special hideaway screens that add to the cost. They also cost more in most cases and many times, require a custom size if the sliding door is less that 82″ in height, which is most common.
The advantage of sliding doors is their ease of use and they do not take up any interior or exterior space to operate. Sliding patio doors almost always cost less and are easy to operate for young and old alike. However, they do have a smaller opening (walk through) area, can feel dated for some and don’t allow as much accessorizing. They allow more visible light in and provide good protection against air and water infiltration. Vinyl sliding patio doors are by far the most popular but aluminum clad wood sliding doors are also sought after for an upgraded look.
The decision is a personal one that is best made after uncovering all the factors.