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Exterior patio image featuring a 2-panel open Inswing French Door with Prairie 9-Lite Simulated Divided Lites in Pebble Gray exterior finish with Brushed Chrome hardware and a Beige sill

Exterior French Door Buying Guide

French doors have an elegance that other patio doors can’t match. Learn the differences between French door styles to help find the right one for your home. 

Types of Exterior French Doors 

Marvin Replacement exterior French doors are available as single hinged, double hinged, or as a space-saving sliding door.  

The type of French door you choose will depend on your preference and space considerations for the room where you want the door.

A single-hinged French door works well in smaller rooms while double-hinged or sliding French doors need more space and can bring in more natural light in bigger rooms, like your living room.

Double-hinged French doors also have the advantage of bringing in more fresh air than a single-hinged French door or a sliding French door.   

Single-Hinged Exterior French Doors 

Single-hinged exterior French doors work well in areas with limited space, like kitchens and bedrooms. Marvin Replacement offers a single-hinged inswing French door that can lighten a darker area well.  

Double-Hinged Exterior French Doors

Double-hinged exterior French doors fit best in bigger spaces, like a living room that opens to a patio. They can also open inwards or outwards. Depending upon the configuration, one door can be fixed or both doors can open. The additional door adds more natural light. Marvin Replacement’s Inswing French doors come in single hinged, 2, or 3-panel varieties. 

Sliding French Door 

If you like the design of a French door but are tight on space for a door to open and close, a sliding French door provides the perfect solution. Marvin Replacement’s Sliding French door is available with 2, 3 or 4-panel configurations and can span up to 16-feet wide for brighter views. 

Exterior French Door Materials 

Exterior French doors are typically built with vinyl, wood, or fiberglass. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to know the differences so you can find the best French door for your home.  


Vinyl French doors appeal to homeowners because of their affordability and versatility. Vinyl can come in a variety of colors and can imitate wood. Vinyl French doors can warp over time because they can expand in the summer and contract during winter as temperatures fluctuate.  


Homeowners like to choose wood for its classic look and the ability to paint it to match the rest of the home. Wood patio doors require regular maintenance to prevent any potential wood rot, mold, or mildew issues.  


Fiberglass sliding French doors offer the perfect mix of style and durability. Marvin Replacement’s Ultrex® fiberglass is 8x stronger than vinyl and has an acrylic finish that is 3x thicker than the competition, so it is virtually maintenance-free. Plus, Ultrex can be painted to match a home. 

Exterior French Door Pros and Cons 

French Door Pros 

  • Adds more natural light 

  • Allows fresh air in 

  • Adds design appeal 

  • Sliding French doors offer space-saving operation 

  • Hinged (in-swing) French doors maximize outdoor living spaces 

Exterior French Door Cons 

  • Hinged doors need room to open and close 

Ready to Start Your Exterior French Door Project?

See how our sliding French doors and inswing French doors can transform your home. Schedule a design consultation to get started.

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