Design Tips and Considerations for Various Types of Patio Doors

Published on: March 03, 2023

Patio doors can create an indoor-outdoor feel in your living space by bringing in ample natural light and providing a clear view of the beautiful outdoors. And Washington has some incredible vistas, making it worth it to invest in high-quality doors that will fit your lifestyle and your home.

A patio space can become an extension of your living room. But it starts with a door that makes it easy to access the space and seamlessly flows from inside to outside. Learn about the various patio door options, what they are best used for, and some considerations for integrating them into your home.

Types of Patio Doors and Top Considerations Before Installation

Whether you’re replacing a window with a door to make your outdoor spaces more accessible or looking to upgrade your existing patio door, review your options first. Each style of door offers pros and cons alongside a unique appearance and aesthetic.  

1. Swinging French Doors

This door style is elegant and provides two large panes of glass to view the outdoors even on days when you’re staying cozy inside. They let in lots of natural light. 

You can select from doors that swing in or out based on your home and what you need. Just know that if the doors swing in the hinges will be on the inside of the doors, meaning you’ll see them from your living space. In contrast, doors that swing out will have outside hinges that are only visible in that space. 

Only homes with plenty of room can pull off the swing-in doors. That’s because you’ll need to have clearance for the doors to open inward and not hit furniture or come in contact with side tables or other home elements. Plus, you’ll have more considerations for door stops to protect your walls.

For all those reasons, most homeowners choose to select outward swinging doors for the easiest access to the outside and seamless paths inside.


  • Secure: these doors offer deadbolt locks and are ideal for homes where the doors face the road or are more exposed.
  • Wide entrance: since both doors open, you’ll have ample room to get to your outdoor living spaces.
  • Elegant design: nothing is more elegant than French doors. You can make these doors ornate to meet your design preferences.


  • Swing zone: you’ll have to allow room on your patio for the swing zone, which can create some wasted space in your outdoor living.
  • No screens: you won’t be able to ventilate this area by opening the door and allowing the outside air in. 

2. Sliding Doors

Homes with limited floor space leading out to their patio or deck benefit from sliding doors. You can choose whether the doors open to the right or the left. But all sliding doors sit along a horizontal track. You can customize the handles, glass and grid patterns. And many door manufacturers offer various colors for the trim around the doors, much like the trim around a home’s windows.

Vinyl-framed sliding doors are considered durable. They also provide some of the lowest maintenance of any material type for a door.

Another benefit of sliding doors is that you can have a screen allowing you to open the door and let the fresh air in. Doors with hinges don’t have a screen option. So if you enjoy opening your windows and turning off the AC in the spring and fall, this is a good option for you.


  • Space efficient: sliding doors are some of the most efficient patio doors as far as space goes because you won’t have any swing space to worry about.
  • Ventilation: since these doors allow for a screen door, you can allow fresh air to come through your home.
  • Clear views: sliding doors offer some of the least obstructed views outside.


  • Smaller opening: these doors generally have a smaller opening, which makes them more challenging to transport large furniture or flows of people in and out.
  • Operation: some doors get stuck due to debris in the track or snow and ice buildup. 

Allow the Professionals to Do It

3. Pocket Glass Doors

Similar in appearance to sliding patio doors are pocket glass doors. But these doors offer the benefit of your doors disappearing once opened. That’s because they’ll slide inside the wall giving you wide open spaces between indoor living and outdoor living.

When opening a pocket glass door, each panel will tuck inside the wall. Many commercial spaces find these doors beneficial for creating an inviting environment on nice weather days.

These doors also offer a stunning, unobstructed view outside even when fully closed. Homes that back up to wooded, hilly or mountainous landscapes find that these doors frame the home beautifully. 


  • Open space: these doors offer completely open space between your indoor and outdoor space when open.
  • Uninterrupted views: pocket doors offer large windowpanes to view the outside with uninterrupted views.


  • Ventilation: you can’t use these doors in conjunction with a screen.
  • Installation: installing these doors can be more expensive since you’ll need to create the pocket space for them.

4. Bifold Glass Doors

Another way to get more windowpanes looking out over outdoor spaces is to use bifold glass doors. As you open these doors, each panel folds on top of one another, offering a fully open invitation to the great outdoors. 

Homes with more modern architecture tend to lend themselves well to these doors. And in rooms with walls of windows, the doors can blend in and create a clean appearance while still providing outdoor access when you want it.


  • Modern: these doors offer a modern feel for modern homes.
  • Optimal lighting: with tons of glass, these doors offer optimal natural light into your home.


  • Style: these doors don’t look great in all homes.
  • Swing: while the doors fold, you’ll still need to leave some swing space for the doors.

Patio Door Considerations

Design Tips for Patio Doors

You have many outstanding options when it comes to patio door styles. As you review your options, keep these considerations in mind.

  1. Swing space: if you want the elegance of French doors or any type of hinged patio door, review whether you have the space for the door to swing open. While most people choose to have the door swing outward, this will still consume some of your outdoor living space and you’ll need to keep the space clear of all patio furniture or planters.
  2. Visibility: some door styles offer more glass surface than others to provide more expansive views of your outdoor space. Consider how uninterrupted views with large panes of glass might open the feel inside your home and provide more natural light.
  3. Style: each home or commercial building is unique and already has character and style before adding a patio door. You want that patio door to fit with the style of the rest of your home. Don’t use an ultra-modern door in a traditional home or it will feel mismatched and awkward. 
  4. Cost: consider the total cost of the door, including installation. While you want functional space, it has to meet your budget, especially if you’re replacing your exterior doors as a part of a whole home window replacement project.
  5. Options: some patio door styles offer more styling options than others as far as colors and hardware. If matching the door frame to your vinyl windows is important to you, a sliding door is likely the best style choice. But if you want the best-looking door for a traditional home, French doors will likely provide the design you want with the style options to fit your home.

Patio Door and Window Installation

If you’re looking for patio door and window installation from a team of experts you can trust, schedule a free estimate with 2FL Windows, Siding and Roofing. Our technicians will visit your home or business to see the space and make a recommendation about what is best for you.

Further Reading:


  1. […] If you’re looking for the greatest return on investment (ROI) when renovating your home, here’s why you might consider new exterior doors or patio doors. […]

  2. […] Design Tips and Considerations for Various Types of Patio Doors […]

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