What are Different Styles of Patio Doors?

Mary McMahon

Whether replacing an existing patio door or installing one in a new home, there are a range of styles and options to choose from. When seeking out new patio doors, consider the space you are working with while you decide. Some types of patio doors such as sliding doors are suitable for small spaces, while an expansive pair of French-style patio doors can be used on a large patio. Depending on the area where the patio doors are being installed, other considerations should be taken into account such as the ability to make the doors weather tight against rain, wind, and snow.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

Patio doors break down into two basic types: hinged and sliding or gliding. Hinged patio doors usually come in a set of two, such as French doors. The doors generally open to the outside, and may incorporate large amounts of glass in their construction for an outside view. Some hinged doors take the form of accordion doors, and fold open. Accordion doors are popular in warmer climates, and are very space efficient. Sliding patio doors usually come in a set of two, with one door sliding past the other, and are commonly made entirely of glass.

A wide variety of construction materials are used for patio doors. The most common is glass, which may be found in a solid panel on some doors, or in a multitude of small panels set within a frame. For cold climates, glass can come insulated, double paned, or specially treated to keep the heat in. Wood is another popular material, because it looks beautiful, insulates very well, and is relatively easy to care for. Patio doors can also be made from vinyl and aluminum, materials which tend to be cheaper although as a result they do not wear as well.

Installing patio doors can be difficult, because it is important to get a tight seal and ensure that the weather stripping in the patio door frame is properly placed. Especially in older homes, it can also be difficult to hang the patio doors so that they are plumb, sealing out the elements and still opening and closing with ease. For this reason, many homeowners choose to use a professional installation service.

If you are installing your own patio doors, make sure to measure the existing patio door frame, and try to get a door which will fit in that space without modifications. You may want to consider sliding patio doors as they are among the easiest to install, and usually come with detailed instructions to assist you.

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Discussion Comments


I think that the style of patio doors you have can really make a statement. When we were building our home, I went with wooden patio doors because I felt like they added so much more to the space.

When I looked at samples of a plain patio door next to a wooden one, I could see a big difference and wanted to take advantage of the warmth the wood would add to the area where the doors were.

Our home is decorated in a lodge look, so the wood patio doors fit right in with the rest of the decor. These doors lead to a patio where we like to entertain on the weekends. Being able to get to the patio through these wooden doors is not only practical, but also adds character to the inside of the house as well.


I love rooms that have a lot of windows and let the sunshine in. I have a three season sun room that has 2 sets of patio doors that lead to a deck.

These patio doors are all glass and are in the style of French doors, which adds some charm to the room. The patio doors are separated by a large window, so this whole section of the room is all glass which looks out to my back yard.

The only thing about these glass patio doors is they show every fingerprint and I feel like I constantly need to have a bottle of Windex handy. The outside of the doors really need a good washing in the spring.

After a winter of snow and ice, you can see how dirty the doors are when you look through them. Other than keeping them clean, I enjoy the glass doors because I feel like it helps bring the outside indoors.

I have glass patio sliding doors that go from my breezeway to an outdoor patio. These glass doors let a lot of light and sunshine into the breezeway area which is nice. I also like the glass doors because they are easy to clean.

Alongside the glass door is a screen door so we can enjoy the outside air when we are inside without worrying about bugs getting in.

During the summer months these doors get a lot of use as we are going in and out of the house to the patio. We have our grill on the patio and several chairs to sit in, so I enjoy having an easy way to access this area.

If I have my hands full, I can easily slide the door open with my elbow and I don't have to set everything down to get the door open.

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