Choosing the perfect entryway: French doors, patio doors, bifold doors. Which one is right for you?

In this day and age with modern living, we all want more space, more light, and more ease and flow in our homes. And with Spring finally upon us and Summer on the horizon, we start thinking about connecting our indoor living space with the outdoors. One way to create more light and openness is with french, patio or bi-fold doors. Each of them allow a seamless extension of your living or kitchen area into your garden, but which is best for you? 

In this blog we’re going to dive into each of them to help to feel more informed when making your choice. 

Understanding Your Options: 

Spotlight: French Doors

french rehau doors in modern home

French doors are always a very popular choice, often featuring multiple glass panels that extend the full length of the door. They’re renowned for their classic appeal and ability to flood interiors with natural light. Whether leading to a garden, patio, or conservatory, French doors create a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces, making them a popular choice for homeowners seeking to bring the beauty of nature indoors.

Spotlight: Patio Doors

sliding patio doors

Patio doors, also known as sliding glass doors, are prized for their functionality and space-saving design. These doors consist of large glass panels that slide horizontally along a track, offering unobstructed views of the outdoors and allowing ample natural light to filter into your home. Patio doors are ideal for conservatories, providing easy access to outdoor living areas while maximising interior space.

Spotlight: Bifold Doors

bi-fold doors

Bifold doors have become increasingly popular in recent years as they’re ultra modern and versatile, featuring a series of panels that fold back accordion-style to create a wide opening. These doors are perfect for conservatories or entrances to your garden as they seamlessly merge indoor and outdoor spaces. Bifold doors are prized for their ability to create a sense of openness and flow, making them a popular choice among homeowners seeking to maximise space and natural light.

Key Considerations for Choosing the Right Entryway For Your Home

Now that we’ve taken a look at each type of entryway, let’s discuss some key considerations to help you make the right choice for your home:

  • Assess Your Space and Layout Requirements: Consider the size and layout of your conservatory, living room, kitchen or wherever it is you’re looking to fit your new doorway, as well as any specific architectural features or constraints that may influence your decision.
  • ​​Space availability: Consider the amount of space available both indoors and outdoors. Bifold doors require space for the panels to fold back when opened fully, so they are ideal for larger openings and spacious areas. Patio doors slide along a track and do not require additional space for operation, making them suitable for smaller openings or areas with limited space. French doors swing inward or outward, so ensure there is enough clearance for the doors to open fully without obstruction.
  • Indoor and outdoor layout: Evaluate the layout of the indoor and outdoor areas where the doors will be installed. Bifold doors create a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces when fully opened, making them ideal for areas where indoor and outdoor living merge seamlessly, such as patios or garden areas. Patio doors are well-suited for areas with direct access to outdoor spaces but may not provide as wide an opening as bifold doors. French doors offer a classic and elegant look and are suitable for traditional homes or areas where space is limited but still desire a connection to the outdoors.
  • Views and natural light: Consider the views and the amount of natural light you wish to incorporate into your living space. Bifold doors feature large glass panels that offer expansive views and allow plenty of natural light to enter the room when closed. Patio doors also provide a good amount of natural light and views but may have a narrower frame compared to bifold doors. French doors feature multiple smaller glass panels, providing a more traditional aesthetic and allowing some natural light to enter the room.
  • Functionality and usage: Think about how you intend to use the doors and the level of functionality you require. Bifold doors offer maximum versatility, allowing you to open up an entire wall for indoor-outdoor living or close off the space for privacy and insulation. Patio doors provide a simple sliding mechanism for easy operation and access to outdoor areas. French doors offer a classic and elegant look with swing operation, providing a traditional aesthetic and easy access to outdoor spaces.
  • Energy Efficiency: 

In terms of energy efficiency, Bi-fold doors, when properly installed and equipped with high-quality glazing, can offer excellent energy efficiency. The multiple panels and seals when closed can provide good insulation, helping to keep heat inside during colder months and preventing heat from entering during warmer months.

Patio doors, especially those with double or triple glazing, can also offer good energy efficiency. However, the large glass panels can sometimes result in more heat loss compared to doors with smaller glass areas, such as French doors.

French doors, while providing a charming aesthetic, may be less energy-efficient than bifold or patio doors due to their design with two panels that meet in the middle. However, advancements in materials and glazing technology have improved the energy efficiency of French doors over the years.

Ultimately, the energy efficiency of any door style depends on factors such as the quality of materials, proper installation, and the presence of features like thermal breaks and low-emissivity (Low-E) coatings on the glass. It’s essential to consider these factors and choose doors that meet your energy efficiency requirements. Consulting with a professional or reviewing product specifications can help you make an informed decision. 

Budget Considerations and Long-Term Maintenance:

Set a budget for your project and factor in long-term maintenance costs. Typically, bifold doors are the most expensive among French, patio, and bifold options. This is because bifold doors often require more complex mechanisms and larger glass panels, which can drive up the cost. Patio doors usually fall in the middle range, while French doors tend to be the most affordable of the three, especially if they are made from standard materials and have simpler designs. However, prices can vary depending on factors such as materials, size, and additional features, so it’s essential to consider your specific needs and budget when making a decision.

Now let’s take a look at the Pros and Cons for each entryway…

French Doors:


  • Timeless Aesthetic: French doors add a touch of elegance and charm to any space, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal of your home.
  • Natural Light: With their large glass panels, French doors allow ample natural light to enter your home, creating a bright and airy atmosphere.
  • Versatility: French doors are available in a variety of materials, styles, and finishes, making them suitable for both traditional and contemporary design schemes.


  • Space Requirements: French doors swing inward or outward, requiring adequate clearance space, which may not be suitable for smaller rooms (if it’s an internal door for example leading to a conservatory) but are ideal for external doorways where you don’t have enough width for bifolds.

Patio Doors:

modern charcoal patio sliding doors


  • Space-Saving Design: Patio doors slide horizontally along a track, saving valuable floor space and offering seamless access to outdoor areas. Ideal for leading into a conservatory!
  • Unobstructed Views: With their large glass panels, patio doors provide expansive views of the outdoors, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of your surroundings from the comfort of your home.
  • Easy Operation: Sliding patio doors operate smoothly and effortlessly, making them convenient for daily use, especially for families with children or elderly individuals.


  • Limited Ventilation: Traditional sliding patio doors typically only open halfway, limiting airflow into your home compared to French or bifold doors.
  • Weather Exposure: Sliding patio doors are susceptible to wear and tear from exposure to the elements, requiring regular maintenance to ensure proper functioning.
  • Security Vulnerabilities: The large glass panels of patio doors may pose security risks if not properly reinforced with secure locking mechanisms and shatter-resistant glass.

Bifold Doors:


  • Space Optimisation: Bifold doors fold back accordion-style, creating a wide opening that seamlessly integrates indoor and outdoor living spaces, ideal for entertaining or hosting gatherings.
  • Versatility: Bifold doors are available in various configurations, allowing you to customize the number of panels and opening direction to suit your specific needs and preferences.
  • Flexibility: Bifold doors can be partially opened or fully folded back, giving you greater control over ventilation and natural light levels in your home.


  • Cost: Bifold doors tend to be more expensive than French or sliding patio doors, primarily due to their complex folding mechanism and larger glass panels.
  • Installation Complexity: Proper installation of bifold doors requires precise measurements and skilled craftsmanship to ensure smooth operation and a tight seal against the elements.
  • Space Needed: Must more space is required for bi-fold doors so they are much more suited to larger spaces. If space is limited, a better option for you mat be French doors. 

Choosing the perfect entryway for your living space can be a bit of a minefield with so many options available but hopefully this article has been of use to you. The main thing to do is to think about your priorities—are you more concerned with aesthetics, functionality, or energy efficiency? Each type of entryway offers its own unique blend of benefits, so weigh your options carefully.Whether you opt for French doors, patio doors, or bifold doors, each option offers its own unique set of benefits. Take your time to explore your options, and feel free to give us a call if you want to speak to a professional for some extra advice or to talk through your options. We’re always happy to offer a free, no obligation quote too.

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