11 Better Patio Door Alternatives

Last updated on October 25, 2023

Traditional 2-panel sliding patio doors are practical, but they lack visual interest. Try these alternatives instead.

The traditional sliding glass patio doors are old-fashioned, and one can use alternatives to create better decor, especially when outdoor living spaces are trending.

The trend is opening up the patio and seemingly creating a shared space with the indoors. This can be achieved with glass doors with more panels.

Other options are more decorative and include French doors, accordion doors, shutters, and more.

Use the following alternatives to patio doors to create the perfect patio entrance.

3-Panel and 4-Panel Sliding Glass Doors

3-Panel and 4-Panel Sliding Glass Doors

Usually, sliding glass doors have two panels because they’re the most compact option.

But you’d be surprised how much a few extra panels change things. When you upgrade to a 3-panel sliding glass door, you get 50% more natural light. A sliding glass door with four panels makes an even bigger opening.

Three-panel sliding doors work by opening one slide at a time. You can choose which side of the screen to use, depending on how your door is configured.

For 4-panel sliding glass doors, the middle two panels can be moved and slid open over the outside panels. It gives you twice as much space for walking or just getting some fresh air.

Homes without sufficient wall space for larger openings or those with limited outdoor space could benefit from replacing their old sliding glass door with a new 3- or 4-panel model. You can add more panels without completely tearing down the wall if you use narrow glass panels.

Pocket Doors

Pocket Doors

Homeowners have been choosing to install pocket doors on the interior of their homes. They slide open and tuck neatly into the wall when not in use. They’re so neat they blend into the woodwork.

On the other hand, rather than a traditional door, you will have a stunning glass wall that will extend the living space of your home into the yard.

Each sliding glass door opens independently when you slide them apart, allowing you to create a large opening between your indoors and outdoors without any interruptions.

Depending on the size of the room where they’re installed, exterior pockets can be made up of anywhere from four to ten individual panels.

You can also stack the multi-slide patio door panels against the side of the house if there isn’t enough space inside the wall.

Bifold Glass Doors

bifold patio doors

Doors that fold up into themselves, also known as bifold doors, provide many of the same advantages as pocket doors. They are also frequently used in movable glass walls, which help achieve a contemporary look while giving an ever-expanding amount of living space.

Exterior bifold doors open up and out of the pocket when they’re not needed, so there’s no need to hide them away in the first place.

Folding doors on the exterior of a building provide a wide variety of arrangement options. You can customize the dimensions and the number of panels where they’re located to create any configuration of doors you want.

Double French Doors

Double French Doors

French doors, much like pocket doors, are an elegant addition to the interior of a home that is typically found in more traditional architectural styles. This is the second type of patio door in popularity.

Both in terms of their aesthetic and their practicality, French doors on the exterior are a design staple. They don’t take up much more space than sliding doors, so this option is a practical way to add more visual interest to the patio entrance.

You have a more incredible amount of flexibility to configure your patio door to meet your requirements when you use double-hinged French doors. You can select an entry that is either narrow, in-swing, or out-swing, depending on whether you want to save space on the inside or the patio.

You also have choices available regarding functionality. For example, you can use a single-door panel while you keep the other one permanently closed.

Pivot Doors

These aren’t that popular, but more and more people choose them. There are various pivot doors available, some of which only require a small part of the width of the opening to be opened.

As a result, they are an excellent alternative when there is not enough space on the inside or the outside to install a door that swings completely open.

Installing several small pivots instead of a single large one is yet another method for cutting down on the required swing room.

Accordion Doors

Accordion Doors

Folding accordion doors are a work of art when it comes to their unique designs, and they have an undeniable benefit over most other types of doors.

You can ultimately push them to the sides of the frame because it allows you to transition from your indoor living space to your outdoor living space, which is more open and airy.

There are smaller, double-door-sized versions of folding doors that look just as cool as their larger counterparts, and folding doors are particularly well-suited for large fronts that open out to the patio.

Roll-Up Doors

A taste for the roll-up patio door can be acquired, and this style of door is not for everyone.

This type of door is virtually identical to a conventional garage door, except that it is constructed out of glass rather than plastic, metal, or wood.

However, this is not the case. The glass roll-up door is among the classiest and most fashionable alternatives to sliding glass doors that you can get your hands on right now.

They look their best in extremely contemporary and typically minimalist home designs. We would advise only considering this alternative if you have a sufficiently large front to cover, as this will allow the distinctive design to shine through in its full glory.

Center Swing Doors

Doors that swing in from the center are comparable to French doors in most respects.

The primary characteristic that sets them apart from similar products is that only one of the door’s two sides can be opened while the other remains permanently closed.

Shoji Screens

Shoji Screens

Shoji sliding doors can give your home a different look without requiring you to adapt to new ways of operating the door. They do this while sticking with the general concept of a sliding door, which is still the preferred option for patio doors (s).

Shoji sliding doors, whose origins can be traced back to Japanese architecture, were traditionally made by adhering translucent paper to a bamboo door framework. As their name suggests, you can open these doors by sliding them open.

The design has been updated recently, particularly in the western world. It typically consists of a frame with paper sandwiched between glass panels.

This patio door is beneficial in either highly sunny and warm settings or extremely crowded and noisy (privacy concerns may arise).

Dutch Doors

Dutch doors are split in the middle, and you can open one part while keeping the other (bottom) closed. They are used in households with pets and toddlers.

In most cases, Dutch doors are available in the size of a single door, which makes them an excellent replacement option for smaller side doors that lead out to the garden.

If you have pets or small children that need to be kept inside, but you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to have open (half) doors leading to your patio, then these doors are an excellent choice.

Sliding Barn Door

Sliding Barn Door

The sliding barn door operates analogously to the sliding glass door in that it is hinged at a single point and slides along a track in a horizontal direction.

This sliding barn door can be pretty helpful in terms of maintaining consistent performance, and it also saves quite a bit of space. In addition, it has a rustic finish that can alter according to the particular person’s tastes.

Sliding barn doors are popular for their ability to provide complete discretion because there is not a single window or opening that can be seen through the door’s surface.

If there are any drawbacks that need to be considered, one of them would be the possible restrictions placed on the slide path. The barn door is possibly heavier and bulkier than other types of doors, which would mean that its movement would be more restricted.


Is it easy to replace a sliding glass door?

On the scale of easy, medium, and complex DIY projects, patio door replacement falls somewhere in the middle. It’s not the kind of project that someone who has never done DIY before should attempt. It is not recommended to try it unless you have prior experience removing and installing doors and windows.

How many glass panels should doors have?

If you live in an area with a lot of sunlight, you should look for a sliding glass door with at least four glass panes. You may only need two or three glass panels if you live in an area with colder weather.

Are sliding patio doors old-fashioned?

Sliding glass doors are often considered the modern go-to builder-grade option for new homes. However, they lack decor interest, and people tend to choose other, more decorative options.


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