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Interior view of a Marvin Replacement Bi-fold patio door. opened in the middle.

Types of Replacement Patio Doors

Patio doors impact your home’s style and functionality. They serve as the transition from the indoors to the outdoors. The type of patio door you choose should complement your home’s décor. Learn about Marvin Replacement patio door types to find the perfect patio door.

Types of Patio Doors to Consider

There are three popular types of patio doors: sliding, French, and bi-fold. Each type has a unique style and function. Patio doors either swing or slide open. A bi-fold door can function both ways in certain configurations. Here’s what to know about different types of patio doors and where they can work the best in your home.

Sliding Glass Door

Sliding glass doors often appear in homes leading to decks or patios. They can come as two-door, also referred to as two- panel, configurations. Marvin Replacement sliding patio doors can have as many as four panels and stretch as wide as 16 feet. Our sliding patio doors feature slim frame profiles to maximize natural light and views. You also choose our sliding French door option, too. It has the traditional style of a French door and the space-saving function of a sliding patio door.

Pros and Cons of Sliding Glass Doors

Sliding Glass Door Pros

  • Expansive natural light space: Marvin Replacement patio doors can reach heights of 8-feet tall to create spaces filled with nourishing natural light.

  • Space-saving design: Since sliding patio doors use a track system to open and close, they don’t need room to swing open. If you’re concerned about a door’s swing path interfering with furniture, a sliding patio door offers a solution.

  • Ventilation: Sliding glass doors open wide for cool breezes to pass to add ventilation to your home. Good home air circulation has several benefits for the air quality in your home.

Sliding Glass Door Cons

  • Operation: Sliding glass patio door tracks must remain free of debris for smooth operation. Marvin Replacement Sliding Patio Doors feature heavy duty rollers for easy movement. Plus, we use a top-hung screen design. Top-hung screen rollers remain free from debris that can accumulate along bottom tracks.

Marvin Replacement Sliding Glass Door Project

Before image of a three-panel patio door
Completed installation of a three-panel Marvin Replacement sliding patio door.

Sliding French Door

Our sliding French door functions the same as a sliding patio door. It adds the elegance of a traditional French door. It strikes the perfect balance of style and function for those who enjoy French doors but lack space for a swinging door. You can select between two, three, and four panels to find the fit for your home.

Pros and Cons of Sliding French Doors

Sliding French Door Pros

  • Bold profile: Our wider panel sliding French door has a bolder design than our sliding patio door.

  • Divided lite options: You can select one of several divided lite patterns to match your home’s existing French door style. Or, you can add a divided lite pattern for more design accents.

  • Style continuity: If you have swinging French doors in other places in your home, a sliding French door can complement your interior design motif.

Sliding French Door Cons

  • Smaller viewing area: The wider profile does reduce viewing areas and space for natural light to enter. But the extra style the design offers can outweigh that.

Marvin Replacement Sliding French Door Project

Before image of a two-panel inswing French door.
Exterior view of a two-panel Marvin Replacement black sliding French door.

Bi-Fold Patio Doors

Bi-fold doors, also called accordion doors, slide along a track. They stack together tight when opened. Bi-fold doors open your home for guests by extending the indoors outdoors to a patio or deck. Marvin Replacement Bi-fold doors span up to 22-feet wide with our seven-panel configuration to expand indoor-outdoor living.

Bi-Fold Doors Pros and Cons

Bi-Fold Patio Door Pros

  • Unique design: Folding glass doors, have a unique design ideal for maximizing indoor-outdoor living spaces. When opened they allow ample fresh air inside. Our bi-fold doors have an available pleated fabric screen to keep pests outside.

  • Versatility: Our bi-fold door has 28 configurations available. You can have one panel operate like a swinging door while the rest function like an accordion door. Let your imagination wander with the design possibilities!

  • Panoramic views: Marvin Replacement’s Bi-Fold Door captures scenic backyard views. A bi-fold door can serve as a window wall with the function of a patio door.

Bi-Fold Patio Door Cons

  • Space: Bi-fold doors often get used in expansive areas, like a living room or a kitchen, and need sufficient space to open. Tight on space in your home? Marvin Replacement Bi-Fold Doors can come with as few as two panels to fit into any space like a sliding patio door.

Marvin Replacement Bi-Fold Door Project

Before image of an old French door.
After image of an installed Marvin Replacement bi-fold patio door.

French Patio Doors

French doors, also known as hinge doors, have classic style that homeowners love. They work great in spaces lacking natural light because they have a large glass area and can come as one panel. Choose a one, two, or three-panel French door to fit your vision for your home. Our French doors swing in, so you don’t have to worry about them interfering with any outdoor landscaping. The difference between French doors vs. sliding glass doors is the profile of the door. French doors have wider profiles for bolder looks than slimmer sliding patio doors.

Pros and Cons of French Doors

French Door Pros

  • Elegant design: French doors have timeless appeal that fit traditional home styles well. You can also add divided lites to maintain a historical look.

  • Adds natural light: French doors fit perfect in mudrooms and laundry rooms to bring natural light to rooms that don’t always get it. Bedroom French doors add style and refreshing natural light for a special look.

  • Flexible configurations: French doors can come as a single door, double doors, or three doors. You can have one door remain stationary with two-panel and three-panel French doors. You can also have both doors swing in from the center for a wide opening in a two-panel configuration.

French Door Cons

  • Swing path: French doors open and close with a hinge. They need room to swing open without obstruction. Some rooms might not have the space to accommodate a swinging door. In those instances, a sliding door might work best.

Marvin Replacement French Door Project

Exterior view of an old French door.
Exterior view of an installed Marvin Replacement French door.

What to Know About Replacement Patio Doors

When you’re thinking about different types of patio doors, consider the door material. Different patio door materials have advantages and disadvantages. Knowing the differences can help you make a wise decision. It’s also important to know how the door glass affects your home’s energy efficiency.

Patio Door Materials

Patio doors get built with different materials. Each type of material has different properties that make it stand out. Manufacturers build patio doors with vinyl, wood, aluminum, or fiberglass. Marvin Replacement uses our proprietary Ultrex® fiberglass to construct our patio doors.


Many patio doors get built with vinyl because of its affordability. However, vinyl lacks the strength of Ultrex fiberglass. Vinyl can start to soften when exposed to temperatures of 163° F. It can also expand in warm weather and contract in cold weather. A patio door material that expands and contracts can make it difficult to open and close.


Wood patio doors have warmth and charm for timeless appeal that homeowners enjoy. Wood patio doors may need routine maintenance to keep their appearance and operation. If you like wood patio doors but not the maintenance, Marvin Replacement’s EverWood® finish mimics the look of wood without the upkeep.


You can choose aluminum patio doors or aluminum clad doors. Aluminum patio doors offer an affordable solution for those looking for a stronger material than vinyl. Aluminum patio doors aren’t ideal in hot or cold climates because aluminum is not a good insulator. Aluminum-clad patio doors attempt to address energy efficiency concerns. Cladding applies a thin layer of aluminum over wood to prevent moisture issues with wood. Wood also serves as a better insulator than aluminum alone.


Fiberglass patio doors offer an energy efficient option that needs next-to-zero maintenance. Marvin Replacement’s Ultrex fiberglass has 8x the strength of vinyl and a thick acrylic finish resistant to scratches. Choose from seven exterior colors and five interior finishes, including our EverWood finish. We also have dark exterior colors available because of our fade-resistant finish. 

Ultrex Fiberglass: Proven Strength for Peace of Mind 

Compared to other materials, Ultrex is the strongest framing material in the replacement industry.

Ultrex is 8x stronger than vinyl and 3x stronger than Fibrex

Ultrex offers superior bending and flexing resistance to protect the integrity of your home. 

Wood/Vinyl Composite (Fibrex®)
Flexural Modulus (KSI) — ASTM D790

Patio Door Glass

The type of glass plays an important role in making your home energy efficient. Patio door glass gets coated with microscopically thin metallic coating called low emissivity (Low E). The coatings help reduce solar heat gain. Some coatings can reflect heat back into your home to help keep heat. Certain coatings work better in specific climates than others. Those in warmer climates will prefer a glass coating that rejects solar heat. Someone in a colder climate will want one that allows more heat into a home. Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) numbers can help determine the right type of glass coating for your home. The coatings also help block ultraviolet (UV) rays that can fade furniture in your home. Marvin Replacement features four Low E coating options. One of our design consultants can help you pick the best patio door for your climate.

Patio Door Hardware

When you select a patio door you also have a choice to make with the patio door handle. Marvin Replacement has two patio door handle styles. Our Northfield collection has a contemporary appearance. Our Cambridge collection has a curved design to suit traditional homes.

How Much Do Patio Doors Cost?

Patio door costs vary based on the type of material used to build them. The size of the door also affects the cost of a patio door. You also must factor in labor costs when buying a patio door. Patio door replacement projects can have special installation needs. Extra installation work can increase patio door costs. The patio door features and options you choose can impact the cost of a patio door.

How to Choose a Patio Door?

You can consult a patio door buying guide to help you choose a patio door. But the main considerations are function, looks, material, and style. The function matters because there are sliding patio doors and swinging patio doors. You also want to think about how the patio door will look where you put it. The type of material you choose for the door matters, too. Some materials have more strength and durability than others. The patio door style options you choose make a difference. Factoring in your climate is important when considering glass options.  

Sliding Glass Door Replacement

Knowing where to buy replacement patio doors can be tricky if you haven’t done it before. Replacing sliding glass doors is easy with Marvin Replacement. Our design consultants can help you find the right options for your sliding glass door. We’ll also handle installation. It’s tough enough picking a patio door. Trying to find professional installers is another thing. Marvin Replacement makes it so you can find both at the same time.

1 “Life cycle assessment of windows for the North American residential market: Case study” by the University of British Columbia. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 2008.

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