French doors -- which come in pairs and incorporate plenty of glass to let the light shine in -- are a natural fit for patios. Not only do the glass panels in these doors allow for plenty of natural light, but they also bring the outdoors in so your family can enjoy views of nature and the outdoors from the comfort of the home. While these doors work well in many types of applications and come in many styles, some homeowners may be looking to swap French doors for something a little different, or make their home stand out from the crowd. These four alternatives to patio French doors provide just as much light and access to outdoor views while allowing you to put your twist on your home design.
Forget the standard, off-the-shelf white aluminum sliders of the past; while this standard option can still work in some homes, modern manufacturers are also making sliders to suit your unique style. The sky is the limit in terms of size, which means you can have one very large slider for a "barn-door" type application. You can also find special finishes such as oak and maple to match the cabinets and woodwork on the inside of your home. Many sliding doors also come with the latest seals to prevent leaks and keep your home dry. One downside to sliding doors is that you can never really slide them all the way out of the opening, so account for this drawback when considering this option.
Love the look of sliding doors, but want something that disappears from sight when it's open? Consider pocket doors, which slide along a track like a standard sliding door, but tuck away into a pocket built into the wall cavity when open, hiding them from sight and allowing for uninterrupted views. Keep in mind that pocket doors require advanced installation skills compared to sliders or French doors, but the extra work can be worth it for those who want doors to stay hidden.
Bifold, also known as multifold or lanai doors are made of of hinged segments, which fold together and can be stacked against one side of the opening. Some sit at the edge of the frame when fully opened, while others can be pushed out of sight against the wall on one side of the opening, leaving the entire frame unobstructed. Like sliders, modern bifold patio doors come in many colors, materials and finishes to truly meet your design needs.
Pivot doors don't require the hinges or sliding tracks found on other types of patio doors. Instead, they swing around a central pivot buried in the concrete or tucked into the top of the door frame. Pivots are capable of transporting very heavy loads, making them ideal for large openings. A pivot door will sit just to one side of the opening when fully opened, which means it could interrupt your view. Despite this drawback, many homeowners enjoy pivot doors for their unique architectural flair.