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Patio doors: taking the guesswork out of style selection

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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It's understandable that a lot of people look to complete cost-effective patio revamp projects, as, in essence, this is a space that doesn't need to be the start of the show, given that the garden will always draw more attention, but there is one element that can't be skimped on; the patio doors. 

Look at any stunning patio design projects and one thing will quickly become clear; that gorgeous patio doors, which create a seamless connection between the inside and outside of a house, are a staple inclusion and moreover, can actually make or break the finished aesthetic.

For anyone that hasn't ever given a lot of thought to the way patio doors look, now is the time, because there are numerous types of patio doors to choose from now. Whether a contemporary, rustic or traditional aesthetic is wanted, there is a perfect set of doors just waiting to be installed, but materials, budgets and usability need to be taken into account, alongside affordability, which is where this handy guide comes in. 

The following styles of doors are the most popular for patio areas and the associated pros and cons have been listed, to make for an easy final choice.

French sliding patio doors.

Sacramento Modern Residence by Klopf Architecture: modern Living room by Klopf Architecture
Klopf Architecture

Sacramento Modern Residence by Klopf Architecture

Klopf Architecture

Large glass patio doors are a fantastic way to introduce a huge amount of natural light into the interior of a home and can work well as part of a contemporary facade design. As well as light, wide opening patio doors will allow amazing air flow to be enjoyed, which could be a critical factor is a house is located in a humid and hot state. 

French sliding windows tend to be offered in widths of 10, 12 or 16 feet, but this is by no means prescriptive, as custom orders are always possible, which also leads to a good variety of potential construction materials. 

Suitable materials:

- Wood. This will need to be stained, treated and maintained, to account for any damage and climate-induced swelling.

- Aluminum. Good for weatherproofing and cost-effectiveness.

- Double, triple or sound-proofed glass. Nothing less than any of these options will do, in terms of modern energy efficiency standards.

Costs: It's not possible to really hone in on a singular price, but these are large, expensive installations, so it would be wise to budget for a five-figure outlay.

Folding patio doors.

San Carlos Midcentury Modern Remodel: modern Houses by Klopf Architecture
Klopf Architecture

San Carlos Midcentury Modern Remodel

Klopf Architecture

In terms of stylish patio doors, ideas don't get much more impactful than a wide and dramatically folding installation. Ideal for any home that would benefit from an unfussy and more open-plan vibe, folding doors help to really blur the line between indoor and outdoor spaces, thus making a patio feel like part of a wider interior design scheme.

Suitable materials:

- Aluminum. Given the number of moving parts, it would be a little too risky to try and use wood. Wood could be used as an extra decorative element.

- Double, triple or sound-proofed glass. 

Costs: Folding doors are most definitely not cheap and average at between $1,000 and $1,500 per foot. Given that most installations will be at least 15-feet wide, it would be unwise to start with anything less than $15k in the budget.

French out-swing patio doors.

Patio doors, decor-wise, can encompass a wide range of styles, but for a pretty, traditional and recognizably sweet finish, French doors are an absolute winner. They come in two formats as well, with out-swinging being the most common, as this allows for a very fresh and natural connection to a patio space. A home can literally open up to the garden with doors of this style in place.

Suitable materials:

- Painted wood. Pastel colors and white are the most common choices and work incredibly well to create a more French country aesthetic.

- Aluminum. Great for a weatherproof, simple and modern take on classic patio doors.

- Double, triple or sound-proofed glass. 

Costs: Budget at least $1k for aluminum French doors and more for wood, as carpenters will need to create and fit them properly.

French in-swing patio doors.

This is the other French door style that is often selected and differs from the first in terms of the fact that the panels open inwards. The inward operation will allow for patio doors with screen designs, which allows for fresh air circulation, plenty of natural light and yet, no insects inside the house.

Suitable materials:

- See above out-swing door materials.

Costs:

- See above out-swing door costs.

Pivoting patio doors.

 Windows by A2studio
A2studio

Pivot Door

A2studio

A final suggestion is to choose something traditional and give it a patio twist. A pivoting door is something commonly installed at the front of a house, but replace the solid structure with glass panels and suddenly, a perfect patio transition has been created. This can be a more budget-friendly option than expensive folding doors, but will still offer a fantastic amount of light and air flow.

Suitable materials:

- Wood. This works well, as it creates a more sturdy and traditional aesthetic. Using metal would create something of an industrial look, which would be very niche.

- Double, triple or sound-proofed glass. 

Costs: More expensive than off-the-peg French doors, for sure, but less than sliding or folding options. For a stylish installation, at least £2k should be budgeted for.

Are you decided upon your perfect patio door style now? Which are you set on?
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