Sliding Glass Door Vs. Hinged: What Are The Major Differences?

Paige Hanawalt
by Paige Hanawalt

When building your perfect home, you want the inside to melt beautifully into the outside. That’s where patios, porches, and gardens come in. Oftentimes we want to be able to experience the indoors while outdoors and vice versa. The type of door that links your outdoors to your indoors is an often overlooked, but extremely vital piece of home design.

Homeowners, designers, and builders are often caught between two types of doors and what value they add to any given home. Sliding glass doors and hinged patio doors are the two most common types of doors when it comes to moving seamlessly from the indoors to the outdoors.

Both form and function are extremely important to the overall feel of any given home. Designers endeavor to choose the right kind of door that will accurately reflect both the inside and outside of a space. Sometimes sliding glass doors work perfectly and sometimes hinged patio doors will unobstructed view and access to the backyard, deck, or garden.

Sliding glass doors and hinged patio doors have many differences from the space each takes up to the way the door itself opens.

Sliding glass doors are easy to operate, save on space, and offer an unobstructed view of the backyard. Hinged doors are stylish, allow for more air circulation, and are very secure. Hinged doors take up more space as they swing, while sliding doors don’t obstruct the spaces on either side.

Read on to find out which style will work best for you!

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One of the major differences between sliding glass doors and hinged doors is the amount of space each takes up within the home itself. If you’re looking for a door that won’t obstruct walkways or take up a lot of space, a sliding glass door is an excellent choice.

A sliding glass door will slide open along a parallel track requiring little to no additional space to be fully operational. Made up of two panels of glass, one is stationary while the other slides open and shut. If your room is smaller, opting for a sliding glass door will work perfectly by not taking up much valuable real estate within the room itself. You’ll be able to fit more furniture or art on the surrounding walls by going for a sliding glass door.

A hinged patio door can come as either a single or a double door. Depending on your space, a hinged patio door can either swing in or out. A hinged patio door will definitely take up more room in your home— whether the room it takes up is inside or outside depends on which side of the house you’d like to actually place the hinges.


If you’re in a hurry, a sliding glass door is definitely easier to operate. A gentle tug and the door easily slides open, staying in its track. It also doesn’t require much strength to open. Conversely, a hinged patio door requires a little more time and effort. Most hinged doors have the potential to bang open, leaving dents or dings in the wall behind it.

Most homeowners who have hinged patio doors will install rubber pads behind the doorknobs to save drywall from getting scuffed or dinged. If you go for a sliding glass door, you don’t really have to worry about the door damaging the surrounding area when you’re in a hurry.


When it comes to flooding your living room, kitchen, or bedroom with natural light, a sliding glass door is going to deliver the best amount of sun. Because a sliding glass door is essentially a window that can open, you’re going to get the full force of the morning and midday sun if you opt for a sliding glass door.

A hinged door doesn’t let in as much light. Too much of the space is taken up by the door itself. You can certainly have hinged doors that are paneled with glass, but you still won’t get quite as much light as you would with a sliding glass door.


Sliding glass doors and hinged patio doors definitely have different aesthetics. If you’re someone who loves a look that is more traditional, a little more sophisticated, then a hinged patio door would work well in your space. They’re a truly classic choice and can come in a couple of different designs.

Single Hinged Patio Doors

A single hinged patio door works more as an exit or entry point, separating the inside of the home from what could be a sunroom, deck, or garden. Single hinged doors are frequently found where there is less wall space. It’s a great idea for a condo or an apartment. Any place that is trying to utilize available space to max capacity would do well with a single hinged door.

Double Hinged Patio Doors

Ever a classic choice, the double-hinged patio doors are more commonly, and popularly, referred to as the French patio door design. In this design, two panels swing open from the center. Double hinged patio doors can really add a dramatic flourish to your space, acting almost as a statement piece.

Many French doors are paneled with glass, giving homeowners and their guests a beautiful view of a backyard, garden, or sunroom. If you’re looking to make an impression, a set of double-hinged patio doors will more than deliver.

Sliding Glass Doors And Style

Where a hinged door goes down the more traditional route, a sliding glass door is more modern and can even skew utilitarian in design. Because they are made completely of glass, a sliding door will give you an interrupted view of your backyard oasis, which can, in and of itself, be a living work of art. A sliding glass door gives you unfettered access both visually and physically to the out of doors.

Sliding French Patio Door

There are even sliding glass doors that incorporate the aesthetic of the French patio doors. A sliding French patio door is a unique blend that saves space and also adds a little bit of that classic design element. With wider stiles and rails, you get the full effect of a French door without taking up too much space in the room.

Multi-Slide Patio Door

A multi-slide patio door will beautifully meld the indoors and the outdoors together. With larger glass panels, two doors will slide open and stack against each other, tucked out of sight into a wall pocket. Depending on the design, door panels can travel to one side, or part in the middle.

Air Circulation

When those spring and summer months hit, there’s nothing more refreshing than a cool breeze. A sliding glass door won’t let in as much fresh air as a set of double-hinged patio doors. When you open both hinged doors, you can let in as much, or as little, breeze as you’d like during a summer evening. A sliding glass door won’t circulate air quite as well seeing as they really only open halfway.


There’s no doubt that security is a huge concern when designing a home. A hinged door is definitely going to offer a little more peace of mind when it comes to security. You have the opportunity to install a deadbolt, even a chain lock if need be. With a sliding glass door, you have a much more rudimentary lock design that can break easily.

Many homeowners will have to add extra security measures to a sliding glass door. By using a precisely cut wooden stick to place in the rail of the sliding glass door, you can better prevent any potential break in. Some companies have even designed a bar you can install halfway up your sliding glass door. You simply drop the bar down and it blocks the door from sliding along the rail. When not in use, you simply secure the bar so it sits perpendicular to the rail against the frame.

Related Questions

What Is The Difference Between A Hinged And Sliding Patio Door?

Typically, a sliding door frame is narrower than a hinged door. A sliding glass door will allow more light into your home.

How Do I Make My Sliding Glass Door More Secure?

Make sure your door is made of laminated glass or polycarbonate to keep from breaking easily. You can add a stick or a bar to the rail to prevent the door from opening all the way.

Can Sliding Glass Doors Open Both Ways?

Yes, if you have the multi-slide patio door design. Glass doors can be made to stack one on top of the other or to disappear into custom-built wall pockets.

Is A Sliding Glass Door Or Hinged Door More Expensive?

Generally, sliding glass doors are cheaper to install and cheaper to replace.

Do You Need Sliding Door Installation Services?

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Summing It Up

Depending on the space you have available and the design you’re going for, either a sliding glass door or a hinged patio door will work. You’ll want to look at the specific characteristics of each to decide which patio door would best fit your aesthetic and your lifestyle.

If security is a top priority, you might want to look at a hinged patio door. If filling your space with natural light is high on your list of priorities, you’ll be better off with a sliding glass door. Both come in a stunning array of designs that will help you find the perfect set for your home!

Paige Hanawalt
Paige Hanawalt

Paige is an elementary school librarian with a passion for writing. Her hobbies include reading an exorbitant amount of fantasy, slowly teaching herself to draw, and home decor. While she isn't the most talented artist or interior designer, what she lacks in skill she more than makes up for in enthusiasm. When she's not curled up with a book, you can certainly find her curled over the keyboard.

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