Types of Patio Doors: Hinged, French, and Sliding

Image of nice wood sunroom

Outdoor patios make the ideal reading nooks, barbeque spots, and gathering spaces for all your summer fun. Make your patio complete by finding the perfect patio door with one of the several unique types of patio doors available. Learn about the different styles and options available to you to discover your ideal patio door.

Finding your perfect patio door has as much to do with style and aesthetics as it does functionality and performance. The key to deciding which patio door options are right for you lies in understanding how they operate and what would work best in your space.

Sliding door options are great for limited space, while hinged doors offer a more traditional look but require some operating space. There are different styles of french doors that give you the option of opening them in both ways, so your decision then is which fits your home the best.

an infographic showing three types of patio doors: french hinged, sliding french, and sliding glass
At Asher, we only carry the best patio door brands, so you never have to worry about questionable quality. Contact our patio door experts for a free quote today.

Understanding Patio Door Types

Most patio doors are made mainly of glass to let in a lot of natural light and connect your indoor and outdoor spaces. They come in various materials and finishes, but all of that can be decided after you’ve chosen the patio door type. Different patio doors require some specific framing that you’ll want to have completed first. The primary differences in the door types are as follows:

  • Sliding vs hinged opening
  • Single vs double doors
  • Straight vs bifolding doors

Patio Door Styles

The three most popular balcony door types are all sold and installed by your trusted experts as Asher Lasting Exteriors. These door styles range from simplistic glass sliding patio doors to elegant double-opening types of French doors. Find the right style for you and pick the materials that best suit your home. One of these three styles is sure to fit your needs:

  • French Hinged Patio Doors
  • Sliding French Patio Doors
  • Sliding Glass Patio Doors

hinged french door

French Hinged Patio Door

Patio french doors come in hinged or sliding options. The french hinged door is a double opening door set that opens from the center and swings out to both sides. It’s a classic style that’s been upgraded by today’s technology to provide excellent security and energy efficiency. They take some room to operate, but you can choose to have them swing outward into the patio to save space.

Hinged Patio Door Options

When it comes to finishing your patio door, you have several styles to choose from. Materials like stainable oak, maple, or pine are popular and look beautiful with countless interior and exterior design themes.

You’ll also find many color, hardware, glass, and grille options. French hinged patio doors have traditional wide board stile and rail construction with mortise-and-tenon joints that create a timeless look. Customize it with the options below:

  • Colored stains or paints
  • Unique handles and hardware
  • Etched or frosted glass
  • Custom wood grilles

Pros and Cons of Hinged Patio Doors

French hinged doors are a beautiful addition to any patio, but there are a few drawbacks that you need to consider. When comparing hinged patio doors to sliding glass door styles, there are critical differences in look and feel as well as functionality. Here are the pros and cons of deciding on hinged patio doors.


  • Security: French hinged doors come with deadbolt locks to provide extra security for patios that are street facing or in a busy neighborhood.
  • Wide Entrance: Opening both doors provides a wider entrance to your home from the patio for easy accessibility.
  • Elegance: French hinged doors are not only an entrance point, but also a coveted decorative element.


  • Swing Zone: The area needed to operate is much wider than you would need with traditional patio sliding doors, but can be installed to swing inward or outward.
  • Ventilation: French hinged doors don’t typically come with a screen for aesthetic reasons, which means they’ll have to stay closed to keep the bugs out.
  • Cold Climates: Hinged doors offer great performance in colder climates, but only when they swing inward, as outward swings are likely to be stopped by snow and ice.

sliding french door

French Sliding Patio Door

Enjoy the classic look you love while conserving the space you need with sliding french doors. Renewal by Andersen has put a revolutionary spin on the traditional French patio door. Now you can keep the classic look of the French door and combine this with the space-saving advantages of sliding doors for patio access.

French Sliding Patio Door Options

The options available to customize french doors are endless and cover everything from the color, material, and hardware to glass and grille pattern. Each door frame is covered in a rigid vinyl sheath for low maintenance and a clean finish. Here are just a few of the options you’ll have to consider if you choose french sliding doors.

  • Colored stains or paints
  • Unique handles and hardware
  • Energy efficient glass
  • Custom wood grilles

Pros and Cons of French Sliding Patio Doors

French slider patio doors are an excellent addition to any patio design that will boost your home’s curb appeal and make your life easier with a wide access point to the outdoors. There are a ton of advantages to this style of patio door, but there are also a few drawbacks to some types of sliding doors you need to be aware of. Here is a list of the pros and cons of french sliding patio doors.


  • Modern Style: Compared to hinged doors, sliding french doors offer a more contemporary look to compliment a modern aesthetic.
  • Space Saver: Since these doors slide on a track instead of swing outward you won’t need to worry about having enough space for them to fully open.
  • Wide Entrance: Sliding french doors often come in pairs that slide in opposite directions giving you double the opening of traditional glass patio doors.


  • Ventilation: Screens aren’t typically included with french doors because the aesthetic would be diminished, however they are available as an option.
  • Operation: Sliding doors are prone to getting jammed or stuck due to debris in the track or accumulated ice and snow.
  • Cleaning: Glass doors may be easy to clean from the inside, but the outside can be a challenge in the winter months especially.

sliding glass patio door

Sliding Glass Patio Door

There are many types of sliding glass doors, but our favorites feature a thin frame for maximum glass coverage that brings the outdoors into your home. They are also the economic choice for a sliding patio door replacement, as they require less of the fine woodwork that goes into a french sliding door. However, this isn’t always the case. As you’ll see, there are many customization options available.

Sliding Patio Door Options

At Asher Lasting Exteriors, we only provide our customers with the best sliding door materials. Rigid wood panels are used for the frame that can either be covered in a clean vinyl finish or stained for a natural look and feel. You will also have multiple glass options to choose from to get the best energy savings for your specific climate. If you’re thinking of going with this style, you’ll have all the sliding glass door options available below and more.

  • Colored stains, paints, or vinyl finish
  • Custom handles and hardware
  • Energy efficient glass panes
  • Available stylized wood grilles

Pros and Cons of Sliding Glass Patio Doors

There are many types of sliding glass doors that have been around for a long time. Since they came on the scene, there have been significant improvements to their performance, but common knowledge hasn’t caught up with them yet. We’ve heard all the talk of common myths about sliding glass doors, and we’re here to debunk them with a pros and cons list.


  • Space Saver: Since these doors slide on a track instead of swing outward you won’t need to worry about having enough space for them to fully open.
  • Ventilation: Sliding glass doors are often accompanied by a sliding screen for maximum ventilation that windows just can’t match.
  • Open Viewing: Of all the many types of sliding doors a simple glass door will offer the best views with little or no obstruction.


  • Size of Opening: Sliding glass doors open wide enough for easy daily use, but hinged or french doors can accompany larger furniture or tables more easily.
  • Operation: Sliding doors are prone to getting jammed or stuck due to debris in the track or accumulated ice and snow.
  • Cleaning: Glass doors may be easy to clean from the inside, but the outside can be a challenge in the winter months especially.

hinged french patio door

Which Patio Door is Best for You?

Deciding on a patio door can be difficult as each has its own charm and unique appeal. Now that you know what each has to offer and which aspects make them different, it’s time to select the style that’s right for your home.

A hinged door may be more secure and easier to operate, but can you sacrifice the space they need to operate? Maybe you’ve settled on a sliding door, but there are so many types of sliding doors that now you need to decide between a decorative or minimalist approach. If you’re stuck between a few options, here are some tips to help you choose.

Tips to Choose

One thing to consider when choosing a patio door style is your climate. For instance, french hinged doors may be the best patio door for cold weather as long as they swing inward. On the other hand, you might struggle to swing them outward into a snow pile, and likewise, a sliding door wouldn’t work well if the track was frozen solid. Here are a few more valuable tips to consider:

  • Sliding doors often come with internal blinds as a way to add privacy to your living spaces.
  • Always check the Energy Star rating of the glass used in patio doors.
  • Hinged doors are typically available in a broader range of colors to match your home’s exterior.
  • French doors are a hallmark of exquisite style, but make sure they fit your home aesthetic first.

Explore the Asher’s Selection of Patio Doors

With spring and summer on the way, it’s time to find your backyard inspiration and craft the perfect summer getaway right on your patio. Once you’ve found the ideal patio door, complete the patio with plenty of versatile shade and privacy options.

When it comes time for the more significant exterior renovations, call Wisconsin’s trusted experts at Asher Lasting Exteriors. We only carry the best brands, so you never have to worry about questionable quality. Contact our patio door experts for a free quote today.