If you’re looking to get the best from your patio, then bridging it with your home with the help of a large door is sure to be an effective strategy. Through such a door, you’ll be able to create the illusion of a single, wide-open space. What’s more, you’ll be able to easily move from the home to the garden, and vice-versa.
Naturally, there are many different designs of door which offer precisely this function. Two of the more popular designs are French Doors and the sliding door. The former consists of an ordinary set of double doors which incorporate substantial amounts of glass, while the latter consists of two or more panels, which can be slid behind one another with the help of tracks built into the floor and ceiling.
While these technologies each offer something slightly different, they share many virtues. We’ve already mentioned two of them: they help to create the impression of space, and they make it easier to move from the interior to the exterior of the building. If you’re hosting a garden party, and there are dozens of people milling around your house, then allowing foot traffic to easily flow from one area to another is crucial.
Another virtue of both approaches is that they increase the subjective impression of space for the people sitting inside the house. This is self-explanatory: if you’re able to see all the way down to the bottom of your garden from your living room or kitchen, it follows that you’ll have a greater impression of the space around you. Moreover, since more light would be able to enter the room, a glazed door of either sort would help to brighten up all the darkened corners of the room. On a related note, being able to see inside your garden is a good thing as you’ll be able to see all the beautiful things in it – and not just the empty space.
French doors are among the earliest examples of glazed door. They were first introduced by French aristocrats, who, influenced by the architecture in neighbouring Italy, had begun to incorporate arches and balconies into their property. The traditional hinged approach found in the French door shows little sign of going away, largely thanks to the fact that it works wonderfully, and has a classic aesthetic that fits in with the majority of modern homes.
The sliding door, by contrast, came much later. It operates by sliding panels behind one another, and thus it can be made much larger than more traditional doors. Sliding doors are able to incorporate far greater quantities of glass, and can open out over a much larger space. As such, they’re often preferred in larger interior with lots of wall to cover.
Patio doors have a reputation (perhaps an undeserved one) for being attractive to burglars. This is so for several reasons: they’re at the rear of the property, and thus less visible to neighbours and passers-by; they come with lots of glass, which offers a would-be burglar the chance to see inside; and they can often be easily dismantled, particularly if the hinges are exposed to the outside.
Adjudging which of the two varieties is the more vulnerable is difficult. There’s the potential for sliding doors to be lifted from their runners and removed, but this weakness has been all but eliminated in modern examples. French doors, at the same time, will come fitted with security hinges which lock into one another when the door is closed – preventing the door from being dismantled even if the cylinders are removed. Fit your door with two separate locks at two separate points and you’ll make it many times more secure in an instant.
Of course, one feature that both doors have in common is glass. What’s to stop a burglar from simply picking up a brick and smashing their way in? While this isn’t an impossibility, it’s far less common than we might assume. Firstly, smashing glass creates and almighty racket that hugely increases the chance of capture and imprisonment for the burglar. It also leaves a trail of forensic evidence, like clothing fibres and blood. There’s also a risk of injury which, in and of itself, the burglar will want to avoid. By installing a modern, rugged door, you’ll be creating a significant deterrent for burglars – whichever sort of door you opt for.
We should also consider maintenance. French doors tend to be a bit smaller, and so require a little less of it. With that said, the material the doors are made from will have a significant impact on how much care and attention they require, with timber needing occasional re-touching and sanding to last the distance. If the rest of your home matches up with it, investing in a sliding aluminium door might prove worthwhile.
Space is another important factor. This is where appearances can be a little deceptive; while sliding doors can be made much larger than their French-style equivalents, they’re incapable of opening out fully – since when the panels are fully collapsed they’ll still occupy a space the size of a single one of them. At the same time, French doors will open outward, and so you’ll need to clear a space sufficient to accommodate them on the outside.
Of course, your choice of which to buy will ultimately hinge on which best matches your circumstances, taste, and existing décor. If you don’t have a wall that’s large enough to accommodate a sliding door, then you’ll be restricted to a more compact set of French doors. But fortunately, there’s enough variety within each category that you’ll have a little bit of room for manoeuvre. You might, for example, augment a set of French doors by installing sidelights to either side of the door, or transoms just above it.
Heat your home for less
Upholding ethical forestry
Within 5 working days
Meeting performance standards