white wooden french doors with grid

French, Bi-fold and Patio Doors Explained

Open-plan and uninterrupted access between inside and outside are hallmarks of modern living. French, Bi-fold and Patio doors play a key role in creating these spaces and here’s what you need to know about each.

Modern living is all about open spaces and creating an uninterrupted passage between the inside and outside of the home, regardless of whether you live in a modern or traditional home.

This is certainly the case for homes that feature living/kitchen/dining rooms that open out onto a garden or outdoor space, a configuration that is popular among both couples and families.

The key to bringing light into these spaces, and allowing the easy transition between indoor and outdoor living, is the use of French, Bi-fold and Patio doors.

While these different types of door essentially do the same thing, there are subtle differences between them and some work better on certain properties than others.

Below, we discuss the characteristics of each and the type of property they suit best.


French doors have been around for hundreds of years and are the most traditional in appearance.

They are usually comprised of two separate doors that open outwards or inwards. One door has to open before the other, but both can be opened.

If you live in a more traditional property and if there are already doors installed that lead out to the garden or patio, they will most likely be French.

This makes replacing them with new Timber French doors a very simply task. We even offer multicolour, which enables you to finish the doors with a different shade internally to complement interior décor.

Doors can open in or out and can be integrated into larger frames with sidelights. Attention to detail in the design of proportion, sizes and forms of the profiles ensures our French casement double-glazed doors look entirely original, whilst providing modern standard of comfort, security and longevity in use.

Engineered timber sections that resist warping and twisting, high security locking systems with robust proprietary hinges and high-performance paint coatings that provide a long life of low maintenance.

French doors are very much a classic, but they do have a few drawbacks. The structure of the frames means they do not allow in as much light as Bi-fold and Patio doors – so if you are looking to break down barriers between home and garden, you may consider checking out Bi-fold or Patio.

That said, French doors are classic, beautiful, safe and secure and provide superior insulation and draft exclusion.


Bi-fold doors have become very popular in recent times as they can be fully retracted to allow uninterrupted access between inside and outside spaces.

Perfect for entertaining on those warm summer days when the sun is shining and the drinks are flowing.

Not only practical, these stylish folding doors are rife with high specifications and boast a 1.1 W/m2K U-value, achieved through the use of argon gas filled double-glazed units featuring energy saving glass and warm edge spacer bars. Bi-fold doors are also attractive and available in any of the RAL colours for complete coordination with your existing colour scheme.

What’s more, because they fold back using a smart concertina system, they can be partially opened outwards, providing tremendous flexibility.

Bi-fold doors use glass panels that are not obstructed by an internal frame – unlike French doors – so allow plenty of light into a room and offer uninterrupted access to views.


Patio doors, also known as Sliding doors, are made up of large glass panels that slide behind each other. These large panels of glass allow in plenty of light and provide uninterrupted access to views.

The main drawback to Patio doors is that they cannot be completely opened up in the same way that Bi-fold doors can – one of the glass panels is always behind the other.

With a possible span of up to 18 metres, timber patio doors can be up to 3 metres wide per pane and have a capability of opening up a wide aperture. The pane options are two, three, four or six and despite the size of the patio doors, they are exceptionally smooth in their operation, and glide effortlessly.

Aesthetically, they look great an all types of property from barns to Victorian terrace houses as well as new builds and Georgian villas.

Why choose timber doors:

There are many reasons for choosing timber doors over uPVC alternatives, not least the superior look and finish timber doors offer.

Our range of doors includes patio doors, folding sliding – or bi-fold doors, French doors and Stable doors. All are manufactured using our strong, layered timber and top performance double glazing.

This durable and reliable combination is finished with a thorough treatment to ensure an exceptionally long-lasting weather-proofing, unrivalled protection from the elements coupled with elegance and style.

In addition to this, our timber doors are safe and secure and thanks to our high-quality glass, provide unrivalled levels of insulation. Our doors are also offered in a wide range of colours and finishes and are fully bespoke. Feeling inspired? Check out some of our favourites below:

Slim sash windows, cottage flush casements and French doors all with 18mm astragal bars and finished in white.

Stunning French doors and flush casement windows in Dorset Cream with 27mm astragal glazing bars for a project completed in North Yorkshire.

Impressive Patio doors finished in a Light Oak stain with Brushed Metal ironmongery.

Feeling inspired? Get in touch with our team to find out how we can help you transform your home.

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