20% Off Your Installed Project This July. Plus, $0 Down, 0% Interest, 0 Payments for 12 Months*

Marvin Replacement French vs Sliding Patio Door

French Doors vs. Sliding Glass Doors

Can’t decide between a French door or a sliding door? French doors add elegance to a home with their wider profile while sliding doors offer slim, contemporary style and functionality. It’s good to know the differences so you can choose the right patio door for your home. Here’s what to know between French patio doors vs. sliding glass patio doors.

Types of French Doors 

Marvin Replacement offers inswing French doors and sliding French patio doors. The difference between the two is a hinge. An inswing French door opens and closes with a hinge. A sliding French patio door opens and closes by using rollers on a track. Both options maintain the same style as a French door, which is characterized with a bigger, bolder profile. Searching for the right French door? Check out our French door buying guide.

Single-Hinged Exterior French Doors 

A single-hinged exterior French door will only swing inward or outward. A single-hinged exterior French door will open to the right or to the left. When picking a swinging French door, you’ll need to select the handing of the door. Handing is the direction a door opens and gets determined by viewing the door from the exterior and the location of the door on the hinge. If the door appears to the left side of the hinge, the door is left-handed. Marvin Replacement has single-hinged inswing French doors as part of its collection.

Double-Hinged Exterior French Doors 

A double-hinged exterior French door has two panels. It's also known as a side-by-side configuration, or a double French door. A double-hinged French door opens from the center inward or outward. Our inswing double-hinged French doors can come as two-panel units.

Sliding French Door 

Stuck between a sliding patio door vs. a French door? You can choose a sliding French patio door, which looks like a classic French door but has space-saving sliding function. Our sliding glass French patio doors come in two, three, or four-panel configurations that can span up to 16 feet wide. A sliding French patio door gracefully expands your entertaining space.

French Door Pros and Cons 

A French door has several advantages because it can come as a one-panel door, which fits in tighter spaces and can add natural light easily. A single-hinged French door fits great in a laundry room or mudroom space that doesn’t have any natural light sources.  

French Door Pros 

  • French doors open extra spaces in a home and help create indoor/outdoor living spaces. A double-hinged French door can open to a patio space and allow for easier movement.

  • French doors provide a tight seal against water and air.

  • You can add divided lites or simulated divided lites to French doors for additional appeal.

French Door Cons

  • Inswing French doors need more room because they open into your home.

  • Wider profiles can mean less glass space and a smaller viewing area.

Sliding Glass Patio Door 

A sliding glass patio door operates on a track and slides from the center, to the right or to the left. Marvin Replacement sliding patio doors come in two, three or four-panel configurations that can span up to 16 feet wide.  

Sliding Door Pros 

  • Save on space—the panels on a sliding glass patio door slide neatly on top of each other to save interior space. 

  • Can provide unobstructed views. 

Sliding Door Cons 

  • Some sliding patio doors can struggle to open and close after years. Marvin Replacement sliding doors use a heavy duty roller system to open and close to alleviate that issue. Plus, our screen doors come top hung in order to avoid any clogged track issues. 

  • Sliding glass doors aren’t available in one-panel configurations.


Both exterior French doors and sliding glass patio doors have appealing features but deciding between the two can come down to your home’s style. An exterior French patio door might fit better in a home with a more traditional style because it has a bigger profile and additional style elements. A sliding glass patio has a slender profile and can fit well into more modern styled homes.  

French Door and Sliding Glass Patio Door FAQs

Are French Doors Outdated?

French doors might come in and out of fashion, but rarely will they make a home look dated. French doors have a timeless elegance that never makes them outdated. French doors, however, might not fit with contemporary styled houses as well as other patio doors.

Are French Doors More Energy Efficient vs. Sliding Doors?

Both French doors and sliding patio doors are energy efficient because they provide tight seals to prevent air leakage. A two-panel French door allows more of an opportunity for air leakage since it opens and closes in the middle. Both types of patio doors have energy efficient glass options.

Open the Door to Better Living with Marvin Replacement Patio Doors

Like the look of a French exterior door? Or prefer the function of a sliding glass door? Maybe a bi-fold door intrigues you? Explore all our patio door options.

Back to All Articles