Patio Doors

Chosen well and especially as part of a new extension or property renovation, modern patio doors provide substantial daylight thanks to reduced frame sizes and larger glass sizes. They are a a stylish, secure and energy-efficient addition to any property.

What is a Patio Door?

Patio doors come in different materials, types, and functions. They usually allow access from a room to a paved area or garden. However, nowadays, patio doors also include French doors, frameless doors, stacking doors, and even bifolding doors as garden access doors.

Patio doors can be made of aluminium, timber, PVCu, or a hybrid combination of wood and aluminium. Serving as a fully functional door in the home, patio doors bring in natural daylight and offer a means of ventilation.

Types of patio door

Find out which types of patio doors are best suited for a variety of scenarios. Everything is considered from materials to configuration and use.

Patio door Solutions

Before discussing the different materials that patio doors are made from, it’s worth considering the different design styles that are available.

origin sliding door handles3 1

Sliding

Glass door panels that slide to provide access between indoor and outdoor spaces.

reynaers bifold door2

Bifolding

A folding door system with multiple panels that fold together when opened

slide and turn design as alternative to bifolding doors

Slide & Fold

A space-saving solution that allows for easy opening and closing.

alumina french door 1

French Doors

Elegant, double doors with glass panels ideal for a heritage look.

A well-designed, attractive door set improves a living space, enhances the home viewed from the garden side and adds a focal feature in any room. You’ll also find aluminium doors widely used in high-end architectural glazing, featuring expansive glass, floor to ceiling windows and in some of the best house designs.

To choose the right doors as well as the best material, it helps to understand the options available. While doors are important of course, often they need integration with windows, screens and other products.

Comparing aluminium with PVCu, Timber and other materials

All of these popular patio door materials provide a variety of patio door types and styles. To illustrate the different types of patio doors, our at-a-glance table provides an overview.  Take a look at the different patio door types available in different materials.

 AluminiumPVCuSteelTimberHybridFrameless
Single Door
French Door
Bifolding Door 
Sliding Door  
Slide and Turn Door  
Steel-Look Door    
Doors with windows/screens 
Ultra-slim Sliding Door    
Pivot Door    
Automatic Door     
Open/Moveable Corner  ✓ ✓
Flush/Timber-look Doors     
Special shapes  
Oversize Patio Doors   

Always check with your chosen supplier or contact us with any questions. And remember, if you’re having bifolding doors, there’s no reason why you can’t match your bifolding door profiles to your French Doors. Origin is one of many bifolding door providers creating French Door designs using either their standard or slimline folding door profiles.

All of the current generation of materials used in these types of doors offer the following benefits:

  • Excellent door energy ratings and U-Values thanks to insulated profiles and glass
  • Double and triple glazing with most products
  • Latest security and weather protection from their design and high quality hardware
  • Extensive choice of colours
  • Solutions for lower thresholds, improved access or meeting specific requirements

The choices of doors are substantial for this part of the home. As well as this, some products work better replacing dated patio doors. Others are more suitable in new extensions.

An explanation of each type of material

For anyone looking to replace or provide new patio doors in their home, there is an excellent choice of materials. There is no absolute best material for patio doors.  Budget, house style, door function and personal taste are all important factors.

While we are an aluminium focused website, we do not necessarily say aluminium is entirely the best material for patio doors. There are also many good reasons to consider the other materials too.

Six ways patio door materials differ

  • Price whether by cost or brand.
  • Appearance, such as contemporary or traditional.
  • Specifications and design.
  • Quality of the product and components
  • The capability of the product, such as sizes, strength and integration with other products.
  • Security, weather and other accreditations.

As well as these, patio doors now form an integral part of many contemporary extensions and houses.  As a result, other external elements must complement and often work with patio doors.  For example, cladding, gutters, fascias, corner posts and steelwork, aluminium panels and even integral blinds.  

Consequently, how your patio door works with your other design or structural factors also determines the choice of material or brand.

In aluminium especially there is a big choice when it comes to finding who makes the best bifolding doors.  

For sliding patio doors, there are over fifty aluminium sliding doors to choose from, so invariably it is worth seeking advice on some of the best patio sliding doors on the market today. 

Aluminium patio doors

  • More flexible size options
  • Specialist options such as open corner or pocket sliding doors
  • More opening options such as tilt and slide, slide and stack doors
  • A better choice of frame styles
  • Slimmer frames than most other materials
reynaers bifold door2

PVCu patio doors

  • The most affordable patio door solution
  • PVCu doors provide the best timber-look option without buying real wood
  • The foils and woodgrains in PVCu patio doors are the best
  • The only PVCu door able to also match PVCu windows with most brands
pvcu patio sliding doors

Steel patio doors.

  • The slimmest and most luxurious option
  • Unbeatable sightlines and design detail only available with steel
  • Similar matching internal doors and screens
  • Fire-rated options available

Timber Patio Doors.

  • The best in natural materials
  • Warm to the touch feel
  • Excellent natural thermal insulation
  • Long service life
  • Quality guarantees and minimal maintenance

Hybrid or Composite Patio Doors.

  • Best of both materials, quality wood inside, low maintenance durable aluminium outside
  • Excellent U-Values and thermal insulation
  • High-end product and luxurious glazing
  • All types of windows and doors available as hybrid products
  • Distinctive styling creating altogether different looking glazing

Frameless Patio Doors.

  • The best product for fewer aluminium profiles and the maximum glass area
  • Creates distinctive and contemporary patio doors in the home
  • Larger sizes than regular French Doors
  • All the security, energy-efficiency and weather protection of framed doors
frameless slide and turn patio doors in a character home

Thresholds options for patio doors

With larger door sets a low level, easy access and even flush threshold such as those found on bifolding doors is also available on sliding doors, pocket doors and open corner designs.

French doors by their nature don’t come with a flush threshold but most door brands do come with a low threshold option such as the type used on front doors.

Getting a low threshold is easier when designing doors as part of a new extension than when replacing dated doors. However, a good installer has the skills to modify an existing opening, allowing the doors to sit lower as a result.

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Andrew DOBSONAndrew DOBSON
16:42 30 Oct 23
Nick responded incredibly quickly to my enquiry (on a Saturday too!), and was able to offer invaluable advice on both aluminum systems and manufacturer / suppliers. Thanks Nick!
chris steerchris steer
16:18 09 Oct 23
Had a meeting with Nick during the grand designs show. Was extremely helpful and professional would highly recommend
Chris WesthorpChris Westhorp
19:55 13 Sep 23
Extremely helpful with pointing us in the right direction to find the products we required and suggesting firms that could reliably fit them.Nick was quick to reply and very detailed in his advice.Highly recommend reaching out to them.
Cathy GreenwoodCathy Greenwood
07:03 11 Sep 23
Update - A second email to nick for help on bifolds resulted in a detailed informative reply even on a Sunday ! This guy is so knowledgable and helpful .I approached Nick for an independent view on sliding doors v bifold and the different brand options . His reply was extremely detailed and prompt and allowed me to navigate this often confusing world in a much more informed way . Thanks so much Nick
Anthony CraigAnthony Craig
12:45 05 Sep 23
This is a must site for anyone looking for advice. Great service and very quick answers to questions. Nick has been of great help quiding us through the maze of aluminium products. Thank you
Philip DuffieldPhilip Duffield
20:24 26 Jul 23
I contacted Nick @ ATS for guidance on what aluminium sliding door systems would be suitable for an opening in an extension that is going to be both wide and tall. He came back really quickly with very detailed and incredibly helpful advice. He is clearly extremely knowledgeable about the systems on the market and their respective features and capabilities. If you’re feeling a bit lost by the overwhelming range of choices out there, I’d definitely recommend contacting him.
Dariush HekmatDariush Hekmat
17:25 19 Jul 23
Nick's advice is great. He is always quick to respond and spends time on responses, which really help to make an informed decision.
Alan FosterAlan Foster
07:51 12 Jul 23
Absolutely fantastic. Asked for advice about replacing Crittall (?) windows late last night and early this morning received 3 great suggestions and contact information for suppliers
Rachel LauRachel Lau
09:24 16 Jun 23
Fantastic website full of valuable and pragmatic advice about product selection and comparison: no other website gives information like this. Truly written for public interest. Don't hesistate to reach out to Nick via the mailing system. He responds very quickly, is friendly, and has very sound and high knowledgable advice. I have already shared this with my friend planning her own grand design.
guard Charlieguard Charlie
12:28 14 May 23
I emailed this company just on the off chance they could help me with new magnetic sliders for my patio door. They were not able to supply those but were so very helpful providing me with the name of a company who could. I am so very grateful at the great service. Dare say customers must be very happy. thank you so much.
Benjamin LewisBenjamin Lewis
10:06 04 May 23
Nick is very helpful indeed. Extremely knowledgeable on bifolds which was in relation to my query. Great website as well, some very useful articles. Particularly appreciated the article that lists all the major bifold options in order of their sightlines! Thank you!
P JonesP Jones
08:07 15 Apr 23
I asked Nick some questions about an installation we were considering and he replied within hours with some very useful suggestions that will probably lead us to using a different make and supplier. Thanks, Nick. Great work.
Nicholas WallNicholas Wall
13:18 02 Apr 23
Looking for fair and honest expert advice on all aspect of aluminium windows and doors? These guys will arm you with all the information you need to make the RIGHT choice in a highly complex, crowded marketplace. post a question and you will get a very quick professional answer you can rely on being based on fact. Thanks guys!
Giorgia SiriacoGiorgia Siriaco
16:25 21 Mar 23
After a lot of research to find doors that would meet our unusual size requirements and feeling increasingly uncertain about the best way to spend our small budget, I stumbled on the ATS website, and I'm so glad I did! I contacted ATS to request advice and Nick promptly replied with a wealth of information, providing us with options and relevant contact details. I only wish I'd found them sooner!
Carol NortonCarol Norton
10:01 17 Mar 23
I've been so confused about how to achieve the look I'm after, and going round in circles with various window/door companies, trying to get away from the huge chunks of plastic currently around my windows. I didn't expect an email to a company found through a Google search to really help - but I was desperate, so I tried. I'm SO glad I did. Finally I have clear explanations from ATS of where I've been going wrong, exactly what I'm looking for, and a list of local companies that might be able to provide it! The response has excelled my expectations and I feel as if I'm finally inching closer to a home with which I'll be happy and comfortable: thank you.
David NunnDavid Nunn
20:54 14 Mar 23
It is rare that I write reviews, however after my very positive communication with Nick - enquiring about suitable slim sash aluminium windows for my project, I felt that a review was definitely warranted. I can reinforce the many positive reviews posted so far, Nick was very quick to respond, providing comprehensive detail, with excellent independent advice.In summary, great service, thank you Nick.
Chantal AuerbachChantal Auerbach
13:04 09 Mar 23
Nick from Aluminium Trade Supply was incredibly helpful informative and pleasant to deal with. He responded quickly to emails and was very knowledgeable. Highly recommend being in touch with Nick if you are considering new aluminium windows or doors.
Lee JonesLee Jones
20:21 22 Feb 23
I dropped Nick at Aluminium Trade Supply an email re high security slim sightline bi-folds and their alternatives and he responded that quickly (and so comprehensively) that I felt bad I’d not paid him for his time!Nick Sir your product knowledge is outstanding and you are providing a level of service that goes wayyyy above and beyond expectations. I’ll definitely make sure I mention Aluminium Trade Supply to anyone I encounter looking for a fenestration solution 🙏🏼
G JG J
15:13 13 Feb 23
We are looking to replace some old UPVC patios doors with aluminium ones. The ATS website is a great source of advice in an area where clear information is sorely lacking. Having used the website, I then followed this up with a number of specific questions relating to our search, and Nick came back very quickly with clear, detailed and very useful advice.I have been very impressed with both the website and with Nick's advice. My only regret is that I didn't come across ATS before replacing various windows in 2021 - I'm sure it would have saved me a lot of grief and money! Thanks again Nick.
Azza McCabeAzza McCabe
17:47 01 Feb 23
So impressed with this company.Responded to my query quickly andgave valuable advice. Nick was extremely helpful and we were able to move forward with our project.
Adri LoloçiAdri Loloçi
11:21 08 Jan 23
Nick was super fast to respond and provided some great recommendations. I would recommend this website to anyone looking to find bifold or sliding aluminium doors.
Stephen HoustonStephen Houston
16:16 03 Jan 23
Looking for aluminium crittall style internal door and external patio French doors. Noted good reviews and thought would ask for advice. Comprehensive reply with excellent independent advice and lists of fitters who could provide products and installation. Great service.
Inga GeachInga Geach
08:25 21 Dec 22
Nick from Aluminium Trade Supply has been extremely helpful with navigating the jungle that is aluminium glazing for our upcoming extension project. His advice was prompt, detailed and always impartial. Very grateful for your input, thanks Nick!
Amanda BurtonAmanda Burton
10:54 16 Dec 22
Brilliant website and an excellent service. Nick provided not only detailed advice and supplier contacts, but highlighted the considerations of various products so I could make an informed choice. Our Sunvista minimal sliders were fitted this week and I couldn't be happier, stunning. Thanks once again for your advice and recommendations, invaluable!
Keith BarnesKeith Barnes
17:18 10 Dec 22
Very helpful advice given to my question, including the name of 3 different companies that i could try for the product being enquired about. Many thanks
Munim ChowdhuryMunim Chowdhury
11:45 13 Sep 22
Nick has been very helpful on signposting me to a number of partner organisations for steel/aluminium doors.
SUSAN wallaceSUSAN wallace
17:26 31 Aug 22
My experience with this firm was exceptionally good and this is notalways the case as a female, dipping a toe into technical waters.I was spoken too with courtesy and at a level that helped me consolidate what was needed .On top of that I was given a list of companies and places where I could obtain the type of product I needed.I could not thank them enough and would certainly go there again and reccommend others do too.
Paul SalterPaul Salter
22:39 22 Aug 22
Contacting Aluminium Trade Supply is like contacting the Oracle direct. Advice is always comprehensive and balanced. On multiple occasions they have provided me with options that fully meet our objectives. Many thanks.
Nick McCormackNick McCormack
20:25 14 Aug 22
Really helpful and useful came back to me on a Sunday with some invaluable information. Highly recommended.
ray addisonray addison
13:14 14 Aug 22
received a prompt reply to my query,and helpful information from ATS
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