When looking at the design of your home, you’ll need to take some time to consider your doors. French doors and sliding glass doors are two very popular door styles that can fit into almost any home. While both options serve the same function, they both do it in very different ways. To better understand which door option you should choose for your home, here’s a deeper look at the differences between French and sliding glass doors.

French Doors

French doors can use almost any sturdy material for their construction, with a popular choice being wood. French doors use hinges on one side that connect to the door frame to swing open, leaving a space for you to cross. These doors can open only in one direction once installed, but that direction can change depending on the design you choose when first installing the door.

Sliding Doors

Glass sliding doors predominantly use glass and wood in their construction, though you can use different materials for a sliding door if you want. These doors utilize doorframes but sit inside the frame rather than attach to them. These doors slide sideways along rails to open. Some sliding doors hide inside the walls when you open them, while others will just slide to the side parallel to another sliding door to give you the space you need.

The Differences

While you can already see many of the differences between these two door styles, there are still many ways they differ. Understanding these small differences can help you pick the perfect door for your home and make the decision easy for you in the end. Here’s a rundown of those differences and what they mean for homeowners.

Doorframe Width

Given the doors are the same size and number, the sliding door’s frame will be smaller in size in most situations. Without the need to connect the door to the frame with hinges, you can make the frame a lot smaller. However, most homes use the French door-style frames because it’s more traditional than the sliding door frames.

Hardware Options

One of the biggest differences between these door options is their hardware and what door handles they come with. Because of the different ways these doors open, they need different styles of handles to open up easily. French doors use a lever system that requires a rotation to unlock the door from the frame so you can pull or push it open. Sliding doors just need a handle so you can place your hand and pull it sideways to open.

Space Utilization

Another way to differentiate these two door styles is to compare how large they are in your space. Because of their wide frames and swinging nature, French doors need a lot more room in your house. However, they take up a lot less space in the wall, so they may fit in narrow spaces with only a small amount of wall. This is because sliding doors need space to slide sideways, so they don’t work well in spaces without a place to slide.

Threshold Size

The thresholds of these two options aren’t the same, and you’ll need to consider that when ordering these doors. A French-style door typically has a small threshold bump, so it’s easy to walk over, and most people won’t even notice it. However, because sliding doors use rails to move, they require larger thresholds to house the rails. You can get both door styles without threshold bumps if you want, though it can be problematic for the sliding doors, as they only have one rail to connect to.

Typical Materials

There are many things you can do when it comes to material choices for these doors, but they typically use similar materials for most of their designs. It all depends on what you want for your own building and theme. However, French doors normally use wood, both heavy and light, with a bit of glass for accents. On the flip side, glass sliding doors predominantly use glass with a frame of sturdy materials to hold it all together as it slides to open and close. Even though the glass is strong, it can still break if something strikes it hard enough; thus, it’s something worth considering if you have children or have concerns about criminals breaking in.

Accessibility Rating

While both doors are great options, they aren’t equally accessible to all people in the world. Many people have issues opening up and using doors, and getting the easiest door to open can help with aging in place and make your home more accessible to others. As long as accessibility is a part of the design, sliding doors are easier to use and are far more accessible. It comes down to the fact that they’re easier to open, and that they don’t swing in the way when using them.

Frequent Issues

While neither door is perfect, both have their issues when it comes to operation. Understanding these problems can help you prevent them, and you can choose which one you would prefer, given that these issues might come up depending on your choice.

Scratching or Dents

Both French doors and sliding doors can cause damage to their surroundings and themselves if you don’t install them with the proper precautions. A sliding door can scratch as it moves, causing paint damage and chipping into the materials if it doesn’t sit on the rails correctly. A French door swings open, and that can cause it to hit other things, putting dents into the door and the other item it strikes. Installing door protectors can prevent this from happening.

Installation Issues

These doors are both difficult projects you shouldn’t do on your own. Incorrect installation can cause numerous issues, like damage to your home and poor insulation, which can cost you thousands of dollars over time. It’s best if you can hire some professional French door installers to get the job done.

Which To Choose

Now that you know more about the differences between French doors and glass sliding doors, you can choose which one is the best for you. There’s not one universal answer for this, and it really comes down to what you want in your home. As long as the doors will fit in your home, you can benefit from either type of door. If you’re happy with the choice, it’ll be a good addition to your home.

French Doors vs. Sliding Glass Doors: What’s the Difference?