A very common scenario in which this question arises is when considering what kind of door to install for your patio/deck. However, French doors and sliding doors can also be used to separate indoor spaces such as the living room and dining room. So, how do you decide? Here are some factors to consider.
Viable open space is a key factor in deciding which door best suits your home. French doors swing inward or outward, which means you need to consider traffic and flow that coordinates with the furniture on either side. French doors are best suited in settings with plenty of open space between the doorway and furniture arrangements. Sliding doors can help maximize space because they slide open and shut, without the concern of required swinging room to worry about.
Check out this video about the practical function in a real life design model.
While French doors limit viable space for furniture placement, they are convenient when you want to create a larger entranceway. Sliding doors are double in size, but not in the actual passageway created. When both sides of French doors are open, they offer more overall access than sliding doors. Their wide open nature provides a very inviting entrance for guests. They are convenient when entertaining because they allow multiple guest to pass through at the same time.
Sliding doors require a track in both the bottom and top frame of the doorway. You probably don’t notice the track at the top, but certainly have to pay attention to the one at the bottom of the door. The track is elevated off the floor level and can be a tripping hazard for people passing through. French doors sit much closer to the floor, allowing for a clear walking path with no need to step into the doorway.
Both doors have distinct aesthetic appeal. Sliding doors are more modern and work well in contemporary settings, while French doors offer an antiquated, traditional application. When selecting a patio or double door, the overall style of the spaces they connect are important factors to acknowledge. Think about your furniture, interior and exterior architecture, and the type of design you want to achieve. Ask yourself which door type would better complement the setting.
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