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Know Your Sliding Door Design Options

Living room with large sliding glass doors leading to patio.

Sliding doors are versatile, aesthetically pleasing, and incredibly functional. From custom designs to standard options, there are more choices than ever for homeowners like you. Paired with innovations in glass technology, there’s never been a better time to replace your existing sliding door or design a new entry for your home!

Choosing the right make, model and style for your space can be tricky. To learn more about your options, and which one might work best for you, check out our sliding glass door recommendations below.

Why a Sliding Door?

Since sliding glass doors are mounted or suspended from a track on the doorframe and slide open as opposed opening inward or outward, like a traditional door, they offer some distinct advantages.

If space is tight a sliding glass door can be a great option. Since the door slides open instead of swinging open, you don’t need as much space to open and close the door. In addition, since most sliding doors consist of large glass panels, they offer a lot of aesthetic value (especially if you have a magnificent view).

Depending on the make and model, sliding glass doors are versatile enough for indoor or outdoor use.

Most exterior sliding doors are referred to as “patio doors” or “sliders”. Interior sliding doors include pocket doors, barn doors, and closet doors.

Related Topic: How to Fix a Sliding Glass Door That Sticks

Types of Sliding Doors

Sliding doors are often categorized by their use (indoor or outdoor) and track type.

Patio Doors (Exterior Sliding Doors)

Sliding glass doors elevate both the interior and exterior appeal of your home, offering unobstructed views of the outdoors, stylish patio, or pool area. If you intend to use your slider as an exterior door it MUST be rated for exterior use. If it’s not, it can cause problems (leaks, door frame damage, etc) that will eventually lead to replacing it with an exterior rated door. Starting out with the right type of door will ensure it holds up well when subjected to various weather conditions throughout the year.

The most common sliding door designs include fixed door panel (the door that slides open horizontally) and sliding French doors (both panels slide toward the outside of the door frame). Both door styles continue to grow in popularity because they fit well wide a variety of design styles. Exterior barn doors, often used for sheds, garages, and, you guessed it, barns, have grown in popularity for use inside of home. Using barn doors in a kitchen entry way can provide a unique, rustic look.

Most exterior sliding doors are made using a wood, vinyl (PVC), or aluminum frame, just like most standard doors and windows. Many modern patio doors incorporate soundproofing and are rated high for energy efficiency.

Interior Sliding Doors

When it comes to interior sliding door there are a wide variety of options to choose from. So many in fact that the choices can be overwhelming. Here are some of the options to consider:

  • Bypass closet doors consist of two door panels, each of which open by sliding along a track and nest either in front of or behind the other door panel.


  • Pocket doors are ideal for areas with limited space. They open along a track and disappear into a hidden slot within the wall.


  • Barn doors sliding across a track that is affixed above the doorway or closet opening. These doors are a popular with interior designers that are looking to recreate a rustic, farm house look. They are available in a wide variety of styles and finishes.


  • Sliding French doors function like their exterior cousin. They are ideal for small spaces where a swinging door might require too much space.


  • Accordion and bi-fold doors are most primarily for closets. Both sides slide along a track and collapse like an accordion (hench the name).

Most sliding interior and exterior sliding door can be customized to fit your space, design preference and style.

Related Topic: Sliding Glass Door Security

How to Choose a Sliding Glass Door:

Although the number of sliding door options seems overwhelming narrowing your choices down to your specific functionality requirements can make the choice easier. Do you need and interior or exterior door? What if your style preference? Are you working within a specific budget? These are all things you should consider.

To narrow down the selection and help you choose the right sliding door for your home we’ve put together the list below:

  • Indoors or outdoors: Will this door be an interior or exterior door? For exterior sliders, consider doors that are well insulation, highly rated for energy efficiency, provide security, and offer an unobstructed view (if this feature is important).


  • Measure the available space: Some sliding door designs require more space than a hinged version. Measure the area where your door will be installed to determine if the exact size and style you selected will fit.


  • Pick your style: Consider the design elements of the door that will influence the look and feel of your space. For exterior or patio doors, consider the interior and exterior frame, finish, hardware, and any custom glass features. For interior doors, consider the type of track (bypass, barn, etc.) door color, finish, and if window or mirrored glass panes work best.

Ready to Choose Your New Sliding Door?

Sliding door come with features and functionality that make them an extremely popular choice with many homeowners. However, with so many sizes and styles to choose from, selecting just the right sliding door for the interior or exterior of your home can be daunting task. But once you choose the right door, it can really compliment the rest of your home.

Need Custom Sliding Glass Doors?

If you need a custom glass door design, your local Glass Doctor can help. We have the experience and expertise to help you choose a sliding glass door design and style that is exactly right for your space.

For expert advice and professional installation, call us today at, 833.974.0209 or request an appointment online.