How to Choose a Sliding Door

06/16/2022, 10:09 AM
How to Choose a Sliding Door

Sliding doors can be a great addition to any space. With so many types and styles to choose from, it’s helpful to know how to choose one. Find out more about the various sliding doors and learn some tips for finding the right sliding door for your project.

Types of Sliding Doors

Sliding doors can vary significantly depending on the desired use and aesthetic. They can be internal or external, improving the style of your home while adding functional and space-saving value. Various sliding door types are popular choices in homes around the world. Consider some of the most common types of sliding doors and how their characteristics and uses differ. 

Patio Doors

Patio doors are most commonly exterior doors, opening to an outdoor space like a patio, deck or yard. Patio sliding doors are made of glass to let natural light into the house while providing a view of the outdoors. Patio doors also aid in room ventilation, as they can be opened to let fresh air circulate inside. Patio doors are available in a wide variety of styles and designs ranging from basic to exotic, allowing you to find a perfect fit for your project. 

Patio doors are occasionally used in other parts of a house or building to divide two spaces. For example, sliding patio doors may be used to separate a kitchen from a dining room while still allowing access when the doors are open. Sliding doors can even be customized with different door handles and fittings to match the aesthetic of a space.

Patio Doors

Sliding Bi-Fold Doors

Sliding bi-fold doors are extremely common in houses, as they’re typically used to close off closets. Bi-fold doors are made of two panels connected with a hinge. When the door is open, the panels fold in half at the hinge. Variations of the bi-fold style sliding door may have more than two panels connected by hinges, though they still fold to the size of one panel when slid open. 

This type of sliding door is most commonly made of wood, though some styles feature windows and are used in other areas of a house as a classy way to divide rooms.

Sliding French Doors

French doors are one of the most common types of doors, both externally and internally. Traditionally, French doors open on hinges, though this requires a significant amount of space since French doors are typically pretty big. If you want the look and versatility of a French door with limited space, consider sliding French doors.

Sliding French doors are placed on parts like door rollers instead of hinges, so the doors slide easily. You may use these doors in a variety of ways because they’re beautiful pieces, whether closed or open. They can even act as a focal point in your home design.

Barn Doors

While glass sliding doors are often thought of as classy and elegant, barn doors offer a rustic style sliding door. Traditionally used in barns, garages and other outdoor buildings, barn doors have become popular choices for indoor spaces with a rustic aesthetic. Sliding barn doors hang from a track above the doorway and stay aligned with a groove along the bottom.

Barn doors are wooden and come in a variety of colors and shapes. Sliding barn doors can be a unique addition to any room while still offering functional value.

Bypass Doors

Bypass sliding doors are common for closets, pantries or laundry rooms. These doors typically consist of two panels on tracks to open or close. The left panel slides to the right to reveal the left side of the closet, and the right panel slides to the left to reveal the right side of the closet. 

Bypass doors are great options for smaller spaces and can be wood or glass. As an affordable option, they’ve grown in popularity.

Bypass Doors

Pocket Sliding Doors

Pocket sliding doors are installed on a track that goes into the wall of the doorway, so the door disappears when opened. These doors work well for small spaces or where you may like the open doorway but want the option of closing it off. 

Pocket sliding doors come in various materials, including wood and glass. Despite requiring a bit more planning for installation, these sliding doors can enhance any small space. 

Accordion Doors

Accordion doors fold up like an accordion when they open. These doors hang from the ceiling and don’t require hinges or other fixtures, making them easy to install. What accordion doors lack in aesthetics, they make up for in affordability. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to add sliding doors to a home, accordion sliding doors are the most effective option. 

These aren’t like traditional doors. They don’t seal or have any sort of permanent fixture keeping them However, with a variety of styles and colors, these doors can neatly close off any space, like dividing a bedroom and home office or creating a separate play area for kids.

How to Choose the Right Sliding Door for Your Project

Now that you know some of the different types of sliding doors, how do you choose the right one for your project? Here are some considerations to keep in mind to help you choose the right style.

Function and Style

Two of the biggest considerations to make when choosing the right sliding door are function and style. The different types of sliding doors mentioned above offer different functions, meaning one type of sliding door isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. For example, glass sliding French doors are a great option for an open-concept layout, though you likely wouldn’t want them as bathroom doors. Considering the function you want the sliding door to serve will help you narrow your choices.

Thinking about what you need to use the door for will also help you choose the right one. For example, if you’re looking for a sliding door that opens to your backyard and deck, consider what you need from the door. Do you need it to be glass so you can keep an eye on kids or pets or to let natural light into a dark room? Do you need the door to be wide so you can easily carry dishes from your kitchen to eat on the back deck? 

Along with function, you want to consider style. It’s best to consider the style of the house or the specific room the door will be in. For example, if you’re going for a modern style, you may look for sleek sliding doors. For a classic look, sliding French doors with white trim may work best. Something wooden like sliding barn doors could complement a rustic farmhouse. 

Personal Preferences

If you’re a homeowner, you’ve likely already decorated or will decorate your house according to your style preferences. If you’re a contractor, you’ll likely consult with the homeowner to ensure you’re making choices they’ll like. Once you narrow a type of sliding door based on function, apply your personal preferences to style and design aspects like:

  • Color: Sliding doors can be found in nearly any color and can often be painted to change the color after installation. The right color for your door depends on your preference, though you might choose to match or complement the color of the walls or exterior siding or make the door stand out with a pop of color. 
  • Material: Sliding door materials range from glass and metal to wood and vinyl. While much of your material decision depends on personal preference, the material also determines how durable your door will be against exterior elements, like moisture, wind impact and general wear.
  • Hardware: Another aspect ultimately up to personal preference is the door’s hardware, like handles, locks and rollers. These pieces come in various finishes and styles, allowing you to customize your sliding doors to your preference.
  • Grids: If you prefer your sliding door has windows, you’ll need to consider the window grid style or panel layout. Common grid styles include diamond, perimeter and colonial. You may prefer something elaborate or for your door to have no grids at all.
  • Decor: Sliding door decor might include things like molding, blinds or curtains. Add or choose decor for your sliding door as desired.
Tips for Finding the Right Sliding Door

Tips for Finding the Right Sliding Door

Different sliding doors work better in some rooms than others, so take time to research each door style carefully and consider how it will look and function in the room. Here are some tips to help you find the right sliding door for common rooms in a house:

  • Look for big windows: If you’re using the sliding door to access the outdoors, be sure to find one with big windows or glass panels. Windows allow ample natural light into a room, which can help illuminate dark rooms and closets. Additionally, sliding glass doors allow anyone indoors to enjoy and appreciate the view outside. 
  • Measure for width: Determining the maximum width available for a sliding door can be a huge determining factor in deciding which style works best for a room. More width is beneficial for patio doors, as you’ll likely need the additional space when carrying things through the door. Multipanel sliding doors may be possible here. On the other hand, large doors won’t work in small spaces like a pantry entry, which means you’ll need to adjust what you’re looking for. Be realistic about what will fit in your space.
  • Create a gateway to other spaces: The right sliding door will help you create gateways to other spaces, whether inside or out. Sliding doors can create an open flow and gateway when the doors are open. Find sliding doors that will allow you to merge two spaces together. For example, sliding French doors between your dining and living room creates the possibility for an open concept while also leaving the option to separate the area with closed doors.
  • Match the finish to your house: The door’s finish can significantly affect how the door looks in a room or against your home’s siding. Whether it’s an interior or exterior door, choose a finish that matches the existing walls of the house. Complementary finishes help add to your sliding door’s aesthetic and visual appeal. Some finish options include colored veneer, polypropylene, laminate or just primer and paint. 
  • Consider energy efficiency: When it comes to exterior sliding doors, energy efficiency is crucial. Your home can lose significant amounts of energy and heat through the door’s frame and glass if you choose the wrong materials. Special types of glass can reflect UV rays, increase privacy and lower energy bills.

Why Choose a Sliding Door

If you’re unsure whether a sliding door is a right fit for your project, consider these benefits and reasons to choose a sliding door:

  • Save space: One of the biggest reasons to choose a sliding door is because they require less space when opening and closing the door. Without a hinge to swing the door out, you can don’t have to worry about your room or outdoor area accommodating the width of the door arc as it opens and closes. Sliding doors travel along one line, parallel to your wall. This aspect makes them ideal choices for homes or rooms with limited space.
  • Offers visual appeal: Sliding doors are considered stylish, meaning they enhance the visual appeal of a house or room. With so many different sliding door options, there’s something to go well with any style and room design. With high visual appeal, sliding doors may also increase the value of a house.
  • Increases functionality: Sliding doors can help increase the functionality of a space. Whether accessing a patio or a pantry, they are easy to use and let you make the most of a space.
  • Improves light and airflow: Sliding doors with windows increase the amount of natural light in a room. Light from outside or filtering through other rooms can better reach the interior with sliding glass doors. Additionally, sliding doors can improve airflow throughout your home. Whether circulating between rooms or ventilating fresh air, sliding doors allow air to move between spaces when open.

Find Sliding Door Hardware at Premium Hardware

Are you installing a sliding door or upgrading your door’s hardware? Quality hardware is the key to giving your sliding door stylish finishing touches. At Premium Hardware, we have a wide selection of sliding door handles, locks and other hardware in a variety of finishes and styles. We’ll help you find pieces that work for the design you have in mind.

For more information about our sliding door hardware, contact us today!

Find Sliding Door Hardware at Premium Hardware