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Differences Between Patio Doors, French Doors, and Double Doors

Differences Between Patio Doors, French Doors, and Double Doors

The right entryway to your home can make a big difference to the overall look and feel of your space, so it’s a decision you’ll want to consider carefully. You’ll want to think about the overall architecture of the building, the functionality you desire, and how often the door will be in use. 

Consider also the interior and exterior decor of your home, the amount of light, and the level of security you want the main access to your home to provide — in addition to your own personal preferences. 

Let's take a look at some of the most popular and modern exterior entryways: patio doors, double doors, and French doors —and how they can fit into your home's design.

Difference between double doors and french doors

When it comes to choosing between double door vs french door, at first look, you might assume that they are one and the same, which is true in many ways. Yet, there are some subtle differences between them. 

So, what is the difference between french doors and double doors? The primary distinction lies in the material used for their construction. Double portals typically consist of solid wood, whereas French doors are fitted with glass panels for most of their length, which allow natural light to flow into the room.

Another difference between french doors and double doors is that French doors— in comparison, are more secure and longer-lasting.

And the fact French portals typically open outwards is an added difference between double door and French doors.

Difference between patio and French doors

Patio doors are generally thought of as sliding glass entryways on metal tracks, which became popular in the 1980s. However, the term has evolved over time to include any entranceway that allows you access to your patio or backyard — such as patio doors or French doors. 

Conversely, a French door is characterized by its light build and its extensive use of glass. They are generally fitted as a pair rather than a single home portal. The name comes from the fact that they were originally designed to look like the entryways of a French villa, which were designed to provide a sense of regularity, proportion, and illumination. These characteristics were consistent with renaissance architectural ideas popular in France at the time.

The main difference between patio doors and French doors is the way they open. Unlike portals that open outward, patio entryways slide along a track to one side, which means they don’t encroach on your outer space. In contrast, French portals are hinged double entryways that open onto your patio or garden. There is usually a central frame with a pair of glass panels.

Double exterior doors

Double exterior doors

Double exterior entryway is a type of door that consists of two solid-wood portals, one on each side of the opening. They provide better security and privacy than single interior portal.


  • More secure: Double exterior doors are harder to break into, which makes them less attractive targets for burglars.
  • Balance and elegance: Adding double entryways can give a sense of warmth to a larger home and provide an open feeling to a smaller one. Additionally, they can create a smooth balance when planned along with the layout of the windows and the front façade design.

  • More natural lighting: The extra space created by double exterior doors allows more light into your home, making it feel brighter and more welcoming.

  • More room for moving things and other activities: Double exterior portals allow you to move larger objects around your home without worrying about damaging the frames, walls, or floors underfoot. 


  • More difficult to close. Double exterior doors are much heavier than single interior entrances, which means that they need more support when closed. This makes them difficult to close and open, especially if you have arthritis in your hands. Also, for this reason, they are generally not used in situations where speed is important (such as at the front doors).

  • They tend to be less energy efficient (due to the longer time required for heat loss).

  • Generally costlier and harder to install compared to single interior doors.

French doors for exterior

French doors for exterior

A French patio entryway is an external double glass entry that opens outwards. The entryway usually opens out onto the garden via a simple hinged mechanism. French portals are designed to provide a sense of spaciousness and an added dimension to your home. They can be used as the main entrance to your home and are ideal for larger homes or properties.


  • Beauty and class: French entryways can add a level of sophistication to a home. The glass panels allow you to enjoy natural light, while the hinged design allows easy access to your garden and patio.

  • Natural lighting: With French portals, you can allow a flood of natural light stream into your home and create a sense of spaciousness.

  • A great focal point for any room: French portals can be added to any style of home, whether it's traditional or modern, and they look great wherever they're placed!
  • Easy cleaning: All you need to do is wipe them down with a damp cloth and they’re good as new! No need to worry about rust or dirt getting stuck in the hinges because they have no moving parts.


  • Maintenance: French patio ways are usually made of glass and can be easily damaged if they are not maintained properly.
  • Weather issues: The beauty of a french portal is that it lets a lot of light in but it also has the ability to let rain through as well. If you live in a place with extreme weather conditions, then it's best to have sills on both sides of the entry so that water doesn't get inside your home during heavy rains or snowfall season.

  • Installation: They require some extra work to install because they require hinges above the top rail which have to be installed first before moving on to installing the actual door itself.

  • Lack of privacy: A French portal is attractive because of the glass and design that allows natural light to enter. However, this also means people can see into your home from the outside. If you want to keep people out, then you will need to install additional hardware like blinds or screens so that they cannot see into your home while they're outside on your patio or deck area.

Patio entry doors

Patio entry doors

In general, patio entryways typically slide open onto patios or decks.


  • Great for summer rooms: They offer your home more space during the warm weather months by allowing you to open up an entire room for extra airflow.
  • Saves energy: They can help you save on heating and cooling costs by letting in fresh air while keeping out hot air or cold drafts. This is especially true if you have a large patio area that needs ventilation in bad weather conditions.

  • More privacy and space: If you have a backyard or yard, patio entryways make it easy to separate areas of your home without having to install walls or partitions, or take up extra space. 


  • Require lots of cleaning: Depending on the size of the opening and how often you use them, you may need to clean them every few months or so.

  • Stiff or sticky tracks: Some patio doors don't close properly because they've been installed incorrectly or damaged in some way by weather or other factors over time. This is especially common if you live in an area with heavy winds or snowfall, as this can damage the tracks and cause them to stick during closing time.

French, double, or patio doors: what to choose?

When deciding between double doors, patio doors, or french doors, which is the best, there are a few key factors to consider. 

French doors offer a classic, ageless appearance, with two sides that open outwards. Double doors provide a grand entrance, with two entryways that open inwards. Patio doors offer a modern design, with one large panel of glass that slides open. 

Each option has its own specific benefits and drawbacks, so it's important to take into account the size and style of your home, as well as your budget when making your decision. 

However, if you're looking for something more unique, then you may want to order a custom door from United Porte! Our design team can create a door based on your exact specifications.


Different entryways offer unique benefits and can be used to create beautiful and inviting access to your home. Ultimately, the choice of the door will depend on your personal tastes and the overall design of your home. 

No matter which option you choose, you can be sure that it will be a stylish and functional addition to your home. Do you have a favorite portal to your home? Let us know in the comments below!


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