Clera Windows + Doors Blog

Why Is It Better to Choose Patio Doors Over Garden Doors?

Outside doors are a major element in improving your home’s aesthetics and curb appeal. More importantly, outside doors play a pivotal role in ensuring your home is secure from intruders and external elements. Therefore, it’s no surprise that many homeowners spend considerable time choosing outside doors such as front doors and back doors. 

For choosing front doors or entry doors, the main factors to consider include:

  • Aesthetics
  • Lighting
  • Security
  • Insulation/energy efficiency
  • Ease of maintenance. 

These same factors are also considered when choosing a backdoor – but with these additional factors: 

  • Ventilation and opening space
  • UV protection
  • Space requirements for operation. 

Though these factors to consider may seem numerous, the main choices for backdoors typically boil down to patio doors and garden doors. There are unique benefits and drawbacks to both – and in this article, we will compare these two types of outside doors side-by-side. By the end of this article, you will be able to choose the one that will serve you the best for years to come!

Let’s get started!  

Garden Doors leading to a garden’s paved path

Defining “Garden Doors” and “Patio Doors”

First, let’s establish the terminologies. Patio doors generally refer to a set of glass doors that slide on a track; these can be alternatively referred to as sliding patio doors. Meanwhile, garden doors generally refer to a pair of doors that swing on a hinge; hence, an alternative name for this outside door type is “swinging garden door.” Garden doors usually feature a pair of french doors that have glass panels that are crisscrossed by “grilles.” 

At A Glance: The Main Differences Between “Garden Doors” and “Patio Doors”

Factors to Consider: Sliding Patio Doors Swinging Garden Doors
1. Aesthetics More modern More classic
2. Lighting Allow more sunlight Allows less sunlight
3. Security Generally more secure Generally less secure
4. Insulation/energy efficiency Depends on materials and glass Depends on materials and glass
5. Ease of maintenance Generally needs less maintenance Generally requires more maintenance
6. Ventilation and opening space Less ventilation due to less opening space More ventilation due to a wider opening space
7. UV protection Depends on glass Depends on glass
8. Space requirements for operation Needs less space to operate Needs more space to operate

In the following sections, we will explore these factors one by one, going into their causes and what their benefits or implications are.

1. Aesthetics

The style of your outside door should match your interiors. At first glance, it is clear that patio doors have a more modern and sleek look – while garden doors have a more classic look. 

However, beyond modern vs. classic looks, sliding patio doors are so often chosen over garden doors because they are essentially blank, serving as a clear but strong barrier between the inside of the home to the outside space. They can showcase a really good view of your backyard landscape or amenities while being simple in and of themselves. This makes patio doors highly compatible with a wide array of aesthetic preferences.  

In addition, patio doors can better create the illusion of a bigger interior space since the view through it is unobstructed.  

2. Lighting

Many homeowners prefer that the opening at the back of the home provides as much natural light as possible, which is a benefit offered by patio doors more than garden doors. 

Patio doors are designed to maximize the area occupied by the glass with an optimal glass-to-frame ratio. In fact, the area occupied by the glass in a patio door is usually about 33 percent larger than that of a garden door. This allows for plenty of natural light to pass through. 

Garden doors, on the other hand, have limited space for glass, with most of the structure comprising steel and wood. This design may be preferred if privacy is a top concern. 

However, certain kinds of glass used for patio doors and/or patio door treatments can also provide additional privacy if desired. 

3. Security

The sliding design of patio doors makes it possible to integrate additional safety features, such as kick locks or security bars to prevent break-in attempts. Meanwhile, garden doors typically come with one standard lock. 

A concern that many homeowners have is that patio doors seem to be easier to break into because of their large glass surfaces. This could be true if you opt for a single-pane patio door. However, multiple-pane patio doors offer more resistance to physical force. Having an additional shatterproof film will also give reinforcement to the glass – not just for break-ins but for flying objects/debris as well. 

Because of the added security features that sliding patio doors can have, intruders would need to create a hole through the glass itself that’s big enough for them to go through – a difficult task if the glass is multi-pane and reinforced. 

With garden doors, however, all the intruders need to do is break the glass enough to access the lock from the inside and undo it – or alternatively, simply break the lock.  

There is no doubt that a high-quality sliding patio door provides more security for your home.

4. Insulation / Energy Efficiency

Patio doors are known to be more energy-efficient than garden doors and other backdoor options for large openings. Vinyl sliding patio doors are basically oversized windows that offer the same benefits as other energy-efficient windows.

In fact, patio doors can be custom-made like your windows with double- or triple-pane options, depending on your insulation and noise reduction needs. Many patio doors also feature low-emissivity coatings to control solar radiation.

Garden doors, on the other hand, are ordinary doors made from a combination of wood and steel, which have poor insulation compared to vinyl. They also don’t usually offer the option for increased panes, making it hard to increase their efficiency.

5. Ease of Maintenance

Vinyl sliding patio doors, similar to vinyl windows, are durable and low maintenance, even as it is exposed to the outside elements. Vinyl does not develop the same problems as metal or wood (which are the materials primarily used for garden doors.) 

Metal can corrode over time and wood can swell, warp, and rot. Therefore, the need for added maintenance on garden doors can cost you more in the long run – in addition to the higher price of garden doors to begin with.  

6. Ventilation and Opening Space

Amidst the numerous advantages of patio doors, so far, it must also be noted that ventilation and amount of opening space are two things that garden doors are able to provide more of. This is because of the door’s mechanisms. Since garden doors swing on a hinge, they can be opened fully, allowing for more ventilation along with a wider opening space.  

However, if you prefer to have ventilation at different points in the day using your back door, a sliding patio may be a more suitable option since it still gives plenty of ventilation while not appearing so obviously open as a garden door would. You can also control how much opening space you would need for ventilation. 

Circling back to the amount of opening space, however, if you regularly carry large items to and from your backyard, a garden door may be more suitable as it has the capacity to open fully. 

7. UV Protection

With a trusted manufacturer like Clera Windows + Doors, you can get both patio doors and garden doors with glass panes that have UV protection. This is not only beneficial for your health but also for protecting the interiors of your home. 

Both garden doors and patio doors let in plenty of sunlight, even if patio doors let in more. Hence, UV protection is a concern for both types of doors since too much UV light can cause colours of fabrics, furniture, and paint in your interiors to fade faster.  

Family looking out through patio doors into the yard

8. Space Requirements for Operation

An important consideration that many buyers often overlook is how the chosen outside door will interact with their back patio or deck. Patio doors are designed to open by sliding the panes such that they overlap each other, thereby not needing much space to operate fully. All a sliding patio door needs is its track.

On the other hand, swing doors that open outwards can impede your space and interfere with your furniture arrangement on the patio. You would need to adjust your furniture arrangement on the patio to allow the doors to open fully. Alternatively, if the garden doors would swing inwards, you need to make sure that nothing obstructs their path. 

Get Your Patio Door from One of Canada’s Most Trusted Manufacturers

Whether you choose a patio door or garden door, Clera Windows + Doors is here to give you great options to choose from and the freedom to customize. Our outside doors are fitted with the features that every modern home needs – better insulation, low-maintenance materials, a sturdy and secure design, and more. And because we manufacture and sell our own doors, we can also offer them for the best possible price. 

If you have any questions about our products or our installation process, please feel free to reach out to us. You can also get started by clicking here for a FREE estimate!

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