Sliding Vs Patio Doors – Whats Best In 2024?

12 min read Doors

Sliding Vs Patio Doors: Designs, Costs, & Installation

Which is it, Sliding Vs patio doors? Lets find out! Whether you want to upscale your old patio doors or look for easy access in compact spaces, sliding doors offer custom solutions to meet your needs.

In this comprehensive guide, we compare sliding doors with patio doors while giving you information on installation, maintenance tips, and the best design options in the market, with an experienced, expert and professional installation company of windows and door, such as ourselves Sheerwater Glass.

aluminium bi-folding doors white

Sliding Vs Patio Doors: What is the Difference?

The prime difference between sliding doors and patio doors lies in the door features, styles, types, and pricing. Here we compare the various aspects of these doors.

Sliding doors can be installed anywhere in the house, both internal and external- kitchen, bathroom, cabinet, or patio door. It is a practical solution to get the most out of small spaces.

The door type is based on a rail track for opening and closure. The namesake indicates that the door panel will slide sideways without occupying an extra room.

A sliding door profile can have any number of leaves (1-6) depending on the position and expanse.

A patio door is an external backdoor giving access to the garden area. Patio doors are available in various types and styles- sliding, French, and bi-folds. Modern kits feature slim frames encompassing see-through double-glazed glasses for maximum energy efficiency, natural light, and bold exterior views.

Your decision when choosing the patio door type depends on the ease of access, aperture length, budget, and other aspects. For instance, a sliding door offers quick access to the outer without the hassles of moving the hinged door panels.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Sliding Glass Door

When choosing a sliding door set, there are several considerations and options. Since there is no single choice for everyone, you need to find the one suited for your home and budget.

– Size and Location of the Opening

The aperture size is the first thing to measure before selecting a profile. Based on the size, you can choose the number of panels, panel width, etc.
For instance, doors with two or four panels offer various opening options- single and both side openings. It is a matter of personal choice considering aesthetics, ease of operation, etc.
The door configuration and operation system depend on the type of opening.

– Material and Finish

The prime material options for sliding doors include aluminium, uPVC, timber, and composite. While uPVC is a pocket-friendly material, the costs can considerably rise for the rest.
It is impossible to paint the uPVC doors. The frames though are available in a variety of colours to match your preferences. However, you can achieve the desired finish (matte, satin, glossy, semi-gloss) on timber, composite, and aluminium frames. You can also choose from 1000’s of RAL colours with a aluminium option.

– Energy Efficiency and Insulation

It is best to upgrade to energy-efficient insulation units in every household in the UK. Since these doors have large glass panels, double-glazing systems work best for raising thermal efficiency. Hiring FENSA-approved experts is a worthy decision replacing old sliding doors.

– Security (Door Features, Hardware, and Accessories)

From toughened glasses to multi-point locking systems, there are several elements to ensure comprehensive security configuration for external sliding doors. We recommend installing multi-point locking systems and flush bolts to prevent unwanted access to the indoor premises.

– Privacy and Soundproofing

Privacy is a concern when you have full-length sheer glass doors. When privacy matters the most, there are several options to keep people from viewing the indoors.

  • Use dark curtains or blinds to conceal interior views.
  • Frosted/etched glass promotes medium brightness but creates a barrier for outsiders peeping through the door.

Sliding doors with double-glazed glasses reduce noise but are not 100% soundproof. However, there are strategies to block outdoor noise from disturbing the inmates. Acoustic glasses, acoustic caulking, weatherstripping tapes, and door sweeps can block up to 90% of outdoor sound.

– Customisation and Personalisation

Door feature choices are never the same for all homeowners. This is where bespoke designs take centre stage. You may opt for one or more custom features for your sliding door profile:

  • Colour effect and finish
  • Integrated blinds
  • Type of glass panels
  • Door size
  • Operating configurations

With the help of glass etching and printing services, it is now possible to add personalised elements to doors and windows in an exciting new way. Get your company logo or other objects on your double-glazed panels for a personal touch.

Pros and Cons of Sliding Glass Doors

Like all other door designs, sliding models offer convenience and design. But some concerns may require your attention. It is worth weighing the potential benefits and downsides before the installation or renovation project.


  • Daylight Illumination

Modern slimline configuration design allows maximum natural lights indoors to keep your rooms bright throughout the day. Increasing visibility in a room without incurring energy expenses is a great idea.

  • Seamless Accessibility

Sliding doors are all about quick opening and closure. Whether you want to keep the leaves wide open in summer or closed for warmth during the frost season, the mechanism eases accessibility.
Modern units have recessed floor tracks to ease wheel-chair accessibility and enhance safety for children to play around.

  • Optimise Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

French doors open outside, seizing the surrounding extent. The sliding panels will stay close to the next leaf or wall within a limited stretch to provide maximal room for other uses.

  • Insulation and Energy Savings

A combination of double-glazed unit, thermally efficient frame, and advanced fixtures (drop seals) boast low *UV value. It means the door keeps the rooms warm by reducing heat transfer. Old single-glazed sliding doors have poor (6.0 W/m2). With double-glazing, this can be reduced to 1.6 W/m2.

*Lower the UV value, the greater the energy efficiency of the door or window.

  • Regulate Ventilation

Sliding doors are just the ideal thing for ventilation without compromising security. Only sliding panels can be partially opened to release impure indoor air. This is a limitation for bifold and French door systems. You must move at least one leaf for the same.

Opening the entire panel is problematic in winter. You may create a small gap by sliding the corner panel for mobility and ventilation and retain maximum heat.


  • Stiff and Sticky Tracks

Besides wiping the glass surfaces, you must keep the sliding rails clean for smooth door movement. If your patio sliding panels are close to the kitchen, they can become sticky within a few days. Clean the tracks at least once a week to avoid this problem.

  • Safety Concerns

Safety has been one of the limitations of classic sliding doors. With kits featuring advanced locking systems, security should not be a problem for renovated homes. Shatterproof tempered glasses with protective resin layers last for years. These units are hard to break during burglary attempts or collisions.

  • Maintenance Requirements

Besides regular cleaning, sliding doors require lubricant application to retain high performance. A professional door fitter can guide you through the process.

  • Potential For Droughts

Worn-out tracks can make your sliding doors droughty. If the module has been around for many years, inspect the rails for any signs of moisture or airflow. Depending on the extent of damage, your door may need replacement or repairing the chipped runners.

Common Sliding Door Myths

From exorbitant pricing to airflow through the panel gaps, there are speculations among homeowners about sliding doors. Finally, we are dispelling the sliding doors myths by addressing common misconceptions. Some kits include high-quality rubber door sweeps (door bottoms) for drought protection.

Myth 1- Sliding Doors Look Clunky

The concept has a bit of truth considering the yesteryear door designs. Today sliding door kits in chic slimline finish perfectly blend with modern minimalist interiors. From muted palettes to warm tones, colour options widen the scope of decking the doors as per the wall designs.

Myth 2- Bulky Sliding Panels are Hard to Move

Old thick wooden frame sliding doors are heavy and back-breaking to slide. All thanks to the light trims, advanced hardware, and mechanism, sliding a panel is smooth and hassle-free.

Myth 3- Rainwater Leaks Through Sliding Doors

Wider door gaps are to blame for this theory. New models are braced with advanced weatherproofing technology for resistance against extremities.

We Will Install Your Sliding Glass Door For You

There can be many difficulties involved within the installation of your sliding door. But we take them all in our stride to complete and create a seamless finish to compliment your house and garden.

Things We Will Supply

  • Our bespoke sliding door system
  • Measuring tape
  • Saw
  • Crowbar
  • Screwdriver/Electric Drill
  • Spirit Level
  • Screws and Nails
  • Waterproof sealants
  • Motar/Plaster (if required)

Step 1- Prepare the Wall Aperture For the New Door

First we will remove the existing door and clean all edges to make a clean apeture for the new door to be installed.

Step 2- Remove the Debris and Install the Frame

There maybe some mess during the brickwork. We will clean outdoors and indoors before the installation. This eases the work and finding door parts, nails, and other fixtures that are hidden.

Measure all sides with the spirit level to ensure all sides of the wall are level with the outer frame of the new kit. We will make sure the exact dimensions for the door.

Step 3- Fix the Door to the Frame

Sliding door profiles differ from one to another. We always follow the manufacturer’s recommended procedure to perform the steps exactly when installing the door and tracks.

Fix the outer frame with screws along the specific gaps provided. It eliminates the need for drilling holes elsewhere. Filling in the gaps between the frame and wall with our special expanding foam, which hardens with a concrete like grip, to stop any small crevices meaning no compromising on the insulation or any heat loss.

Step 4- Make the Door Tight to Protect Against Water and Drought

This step involves applying the waterproofing sealant to prevent gaps, airflow, and water leaks. Apply the colourless water sealant on all sides of the door panels to seal any small holes, rifts, etc and cover with clean trim, to create a smooth seamless finish from door to wall.

Sliding Glass Door Maintenance Tips

Even the first-rate sliding door material and gears get damaged and worn out with time. Periodic cleaning, maintenance, and repairs can extend the lifecycle of the door profile, offering prolonged satisfaction.

Regular Cleaning and Lubrication

The regular cleaning and maintenance routine involves a few tasks:

  • Keep the tracks clean of dust, dry leaves, pet hairs, and debris
  • Wipe the glass panes to enjoy the spotless shine
  • Lubricate the rollers and other door parts (as advised by the certified installer)

Wooden and composite frames require extra care. Painting and waterproof sealant coating is a must. Fading paint indicates the time for repainting and sealing the timber door parts.

Inspection of Weatherstripping, Tracks, and Hardware

On average, all homes in the UK bear about 150 wet days though it usually feels more than that! Hence protecting the doors and windows from weather impact is crucial to extend the material lifespan. Check the weatherstripping seal on the doors. Changing the faulty seal can keep the set protected for years.

Repair or Replacement of Damaged Parts

Like all other door materials and types, sliding doors, tracks, and hardware go through wear and tear. When the doors feel heavy and hard to move, it is time to check the track rails, door alignment, and chipped pieces. It is time to contact a licensed door repair specialist.

DIY Vs Professional Maintenance Options

The best thing about sliding doors is the possibility of repairing wear and tear defects. While people with carpentry and hands-on experience can perform DIY sliding door maintenance work, those without joinery knowledge may look out for local professional repair/replacement services. These include problems:

  • Door alignment knocked out of the kilter
  • Broken latches, seals, and glasses
  • Worn out tracks
  • Rotten/swollen wooden frames

What is the Cost of Installing Sliding Glass Doors in the UK in 2023?

The overall cost of sliding doors depends on several aspects:

  • Material
  • Glazing (double)
  • Glass type
  • Size and number of panels
  • Fixtures and accessories
  • Custom design or style (if any)
  • Labour charges

Contemporary Sliding Door Design Trends

Minimalist/Frameless Designs

Futuristic sliding doors are in, featuring slimline frames and large glass panels for maximum inflow of natural light. The emerging trend strikes the right balance of simplicity, functionality, high performance, and adaptable solutions tailored to specific project requirements.

Full-Height Glass

Floor-to-ceiling double-glazing units are more than just connecting you to the landscape. Maximum sunlight throughout the day in winter keeps the interiors warm for longer. The low-thermal emissive glasses prevent heat loss to curtail energy consumption for running heating appliances.

Smart Technology Integration

From innovative sliding mechanisms to energy-efficient glazing to security enhancements, modern sliding doors are the perfect addition to smart homes. Today premium kits feature integrated blinds, automated locking systems, and flush interlocking tracks for privacy, security, and easy operation.

Intricate Glass

Double-glazed glasses are not far behind when attuning the overall look and feel of the door profile. If sheer minimalism is not your type, there is a range of glass art techniques to add a creative touch to the door design. Homeowners can opt for frosted, printed, and etched glasses for privacy and stylish vibes.

Do you require a new sliding door? You will Find Your Perfect Patio Doors for Sale With Us!

We are a premium glazing company and sliding door installer in Surrey. Get in touch for more details, a custom quote, or visit our showroom for a free quotation.

payment payment

Get A Quote

One of our team would be happy to have a chat with you about your requirements, answer any unanswered questions and measure up at a time that suits you to provide you a free, no obligation quote.

Get A Quote
feedback feedback

Our customers say

“Used the Sheerwater team to replace a couple of Velux windows in our converted loft. Really first class experience, great communication throughout, super professional and the installation was the best we've had in terms of fit and finish and (lack of) damage to surrounding areas. Will use again!”Tim Loake
View more reviews on Which?
location location

Areas we cover

Sheerwater Glass provides window installation and repairs throughout Surrey and the surrounding areas of our Woking showroom. If you’re interested in our services, we encourage you to check if we serve customers in your area by simply typing in your postcode.

If you check and find that we don’t serve customers in your area, in some cases, we may be able to help. Please call us to find out more.

Check your postcode