A guide to choosing the right doors for your home

With so many options available, choosing between bifold doors vs sliding doors with windows might seem like a daunting prospect, but it needn’t be…

At Benchmark Windows, we understand that installing or replacing exterior glass sliding doors represents an important investment in your home and we’re here to help. Our guide to choosing exterior doors for your home will allow you to weigh up the pros and cons of sliding doors vs bifold against other options, such as our stylish bespoke French doors.

Three advantages of bifold exterior patio doors vs sliding doors with windows

Bifold doors have seen a meteoric rise in popularity with homeowners in recent years. With a concertina-like design, bifold doors feature various hinged panels that fold backwards along a concealed track that can sit flush with the floor and upper lintel. Configurations may vary, but bi-fold exterior patio doors are typically composed of two to seven glazed panels, dependent on the width of the aperture and overall design.

Adding style and drama

As springtime heralds warmer temperatures and your garden blooms, thoughts turn to ‘bringing the outside in’ and enjoying more outdoor entertainment.

Bifold doors can be folded completely back on themselves. This offers you the potential to open one side of your home to your terrace or garden space, achieving that sought-after flow, from indoors to outdoors. In contrast, standard sliding doors with windows can usually open by about 65%, with glazed panels stacked against each other when the doors are open.

Thanks to their ability to create a wide opening between your indoor and outside spaces, bifold doors add a real ‘wow’ factor to any home – especially beneficial when entertaining outside.

Sleek modern design

The desirability of bifold doors has seen no sign of wavering – this is more than a passing trend. Dark grey or black aluminium frames provide a stylish industrial edge to modern and period properties alike and can be especially effective when used in Victorian properties with modern extensions.

Safer access

Bifold doors can be installed with a completely flush threshold, opening onto your garden or patio area, whereas sliding doors tend to require a frame to step over (due to the sliding roller mechanism). A flush threshold removes any trip hazard and makes access easier and safer – especially for small children, older people, or wheelchair users.

Three benefits of exterior glass sliding doors vs bifold exterior patio doors

Sliding glass patio doors usually consist of two or more expansive panels of glass which slide sideways – along a track, to the end of a frame. This can create a sense of connection between your home and garden, all year round.

Maximise views and lightSliding Doors

Sliding doors generally have fewer panels – meaning a larger ratio of glass to vertical frame – when compared to bifold doors. This will provide unhindered views while also maximising the amount of natural light that can enter your room. If unobstructed views over your garden and the surrounding scenery are what you’re looking for then a sliding door will offer you minimal sightlines.

Requires less space to open

Sliding patio doors move along horizontal tracks – sliding one behind the other, aligned with the wall of your home. In contrast, the hinged panels of bifold doors will project outwards and therefore require a certain amount of space on one or both sides.


Sliding patio doors with windows can be partially opened to allow some air to enter the room or enable access to the garden. Standard bi-fold doors need to be opened with the entire set of panels folded back.

That said, it is possible to have a ‘traffic door’ added to your bifold system – allowing you to keep the other panels shut while having one single opening section to act as a conventional door out to your garden.

Three benefits of French doors

When choosing exterior doors for your home, various considerations will govern your decision, including available space and the period and style of your property. As well as sliding solutions and bifold exterior patio doors, we also offer a range of bespoke French doors for a more classical look.

Ideal for limited space

French doors – sometimes known as French windows or patio doors – are ideal for slightly smaller spaces where it’s not practical to dedicate an entire wall to glazing. Due to their size, French doors are generally more affordable and easier to install.

Bringing light into your home

Glazed French doors can be a good addition if you’re keen to bring more light into your home.

Straight-forward access to your garden

French doors are hinged to open fully, with no restrictions. Unlike sliding patio doors, they allow you to move seamlessly between your home and outside spaces.

Choosing exterior doors? Choose Benchmark Windows

We offer a broad range of high-quality double or triple-glazed French doors, bifold exterior patio doors, and sliding doors with windows – from classical to contemporary. In aluminium, engineered timber, uPVC, or hybrid materials, our exterior doors are durable, practical, thermally efficient, and secure.

When it comes to choosing exterior doors, our knowledgeable and dedicated team of door and window specialists will guide you in the right direction, helping you find the perfect solution to suit your lifestyle and home.

As accredited members of the Double Glazing & Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS), you’ll have the assurance that every Benchmark Windows installation comes with peace of mind guaranteed for at least ten years.

For more advice on exterior door options for your home, please visit our Lancing showroom or give our friendly team a call on 01903 337749 for a free quote.

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