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Reviewing the Types of Patio Doors

March 18th, 2021, 9:17 AM

Ready to start enjoying your deck or patio again? While we're waiting for the weather to decide what it wants to do, it's a great time to review the types of patio doors available on the market. At its core, it's a fairly simple debate — sliding patio doors vs. hinged patio doors (aka French patio doors). There are variants of each operating style, but for most homeowners, it comes down to one or the other. Which is the right choice for you depends on factors like size, space, security, and aesthetics.

Hinged patio doors

Often billed as the more "traditional" type of patio door, hinged patio doors swing inward or outward from the door frame. A set of two hinged patio doors pushed or pulled open from the center are referred to as French patio doors. Subdividing the glass panel into more sections, or lites (with grilles or bars), will contribute to a quainter or statelier look. Less interruption to the viewing area conforms to a more modern aesthetic. 

Many homeowners will flank their French patio doors with double-hung or casement windows or top them off with transoms (fixed glass panels above the frame) — combined with some artful sticking and moulding details, these arrangements can have a truly marvelous effect. 

PROS: Classical charm and beauty; security is like that of a traditional door (deadbolt + knob lock); generally more durable than sliding patio doors; a single hinged patio door ideal for minimal wall space.

CONS: Functional space within the immediate vicinity of French patio doors reduced due to inswinging or outswinging operation; cannot be fitted with a screen door; may look too "old-fashioned" in some applications.

sliding patio doors

Sliding patio doors

Sliding patio doors are essentially supersized sliding/gliding windows, with glass panels sliding along upper and lower tracks. Generally speaking, sliding patio doors are considered more "modern" or "contemporary" because framing details are minimized while sightlines are maximized. However, for those who appreciate the detailing and elegance of French doors but prefer the operating style of sliding patio doors, sliding French doors represent an excellent compromise. 

Sliding patio doors most often consist of one fixed (immovable) glass panel and one operable (sliding) panel, although today's manufacturers offer several intriguing multi-panel configurations, which might entail extra panels, more than one sliding panel, and/or panels that utterly disappear into pockets built into the wall. 

PROS: Clean and modern "wall of glass" aesthetic; space on either side of the door can be fully utilized; can be paired with sliding screen door to let fresh air in while keeping the bugs out

CONS: Less secure than hinged patio doors (simpler locking mechanism makes them easier to break into); sliding panels can stick or come off-track

Bifold patio doors

Less common but worthy of mention are bifold patio doors, which fuse hinged and sliding operating styles. Hinged panels fold or unfold as they are pulled along tracks, similar to an accordion. When fully opened, bifold patio door panels are barely there, neatly stacked upon one another to blur the separation between indoor and outdoor space. During the warmer months, this is a tremendously attractive option, especially if you are blessed with a beautiful backyard or stunning view. 

Find your perfect patio door with Hodges

Beyond operating style, there are all different types of patio door framing materials and colors, options for low-e or decorative glass, options for internal or between-the-glass shades and blinds (for enhanced privacy), and more. Get in touch with Hodges to find your best fit. 


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Arlington, Virginia
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Everything was excellent. The salesman offered good advice and provided examples of how the end result would look. Hodges' workers arrived on time and worked quickly. The lead installer was quite knowledgeable as well, so the job was done neatly and without incident.

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Vienna, Virginia
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Arlington, Virginia
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I just wanted to express my appreciation to the team your company sent to install a few doors and repair windows in our house. They were professional, caring, cooperative and extremely courteous. They are a major asset to your company. On the whole, our experience with the Hodges Company has been very positive and we happily recommend your services to others.

Mary V.
Bethesda, Maryland
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The deck door is fabulous and the installation is super!!! I love how wide it is, and how easily it opens and it actually locks! thank you for the expert product and installation.

Kevin J.
Springfield, Virginia
Door Installation

I think they did a very good job. I will go back to them in a heartbeat.

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Arlington, VA
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Your guys did a great job. The temperature in the house is up by 3 degrees and the heat pump is running half as much.

Larry C.
Gainesville, Virginia
Window Installation

We love our new door. The installation work was timely, quick and well-done.

Mary Ann M.
Arlington, VA
Door Installation

Throughout the entire process - from our first meeting to the on-going daily supervision - by you of the job, the professionalism, the quality of the products, and the workmanship was outstanding.

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Vienna, Virginia
Window and Door Installation

Tom is definitely a master craftsman and did an excellent job. Just want you and the company to know that both Tom and Larry did an outstanding job and we are very pleased with the results.

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Arlington, VA
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Your craftsmanship made all the difference, and it was nice getting to know you. We hope to hire you again.

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Chevy Chase, MD
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We will definitely be using Hodges again when we look to replace some windows in our house

Daniel Q.
Woodbridge, VA
Door Installation

Before, we could never keep up with the cold. Now we just turn the heat on, and it stays in the building. Complaints are way down, and we're very happy.

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Falls Church, Virginia
Window Installation

All in all a really fantastic company - they've been in business a long time and it shows based on how they treat the costumer. Am planning to do windows next year, and they will be my first phone call.

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North Potomac, MD
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Manassas, VA
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Falls Church, Virginia
Window and Door Installation

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Washington, D.C.
Window Installation

The whole process from initial meeting to installation was painless and quite surprisingly, a lot less expensive than we thought it would be... Thanks again for taking such good care of us. If anyone I know is looking for new windows, I will certainly recommend your company.

Carol B.
McLean, Virginia
New Window Installation

The installer, who I think was Tom Langworthy, did excellent work. He was respectful of our space and cleaned up after himself. He always conducted himself in a professional manner. He seems highly competent and he engenders confidence in his workmanship.

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Washington, DC
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Hodges had very knowledge salespeople, highly skilled installation crews, and the product lives up to expectations. You can't ask for better than that.

Richard N.
Ashburn Village, Virginia
Door Installation

We are so very, very happy (once again!) with the Hodges Company....this is the third time we have had a project completed, and each time we've been so pleased.

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Arlington, VA
Door Installation

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Fairfax, VA
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