What Are the Best Types of Sliding Doors?

Lauren Murphy
Written by Lauren Murphy
Updated June 22, 2021
Large sliding door
Martin Barraud / OJO Images via Getty Images

Sliding glass doors are the most popular choice for patio doors among homeowners, but there are several options to consider

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Sliding doors are great for adding dynamic transitions in your home’s interior or unique windows to the outdoors. Glass is a popular sliding glass door material, but it’s not your only option—wood and composite plastic are common as well.

How Do Sliding Doors Work?

Sliding doors involve fixed door panels mounted on a track, which allows them to slide open horizontally along a set of rails. Sliding doors also typically have a guide along the bottom of the track to prevent the door from going rogue and swinging back and forth. Some also have stops on either end to set boundaries for how far the door can slide forward and backward while staying in its track.

Types of Sliding Doors

Not all sliding doors are the same, and, depending on your needs, some will be better suited to your home than others.

Sliding Glass Doors

You can enjoy the beauty of the outdoors from inside your own home by installing a sliding glass patio door. Because they’re made of glass, sliding glass doors let in lots of natural light—so your Instagram shots will look next-level. 

Not only do sliding glass doors look stunning, but they’re also functional. They’re easy to open, which makes going to and from your patio easy-peasy. And when you add a screen, you can leave your door open like a giant window to let in the breeze.

Pocket Doors

If you’ve visited a home with a jack-and-jill bathroom, you’ve likely seen a pocket door. Pocket doors are essentially door panels that slide in and out of the door. To install them, you’ll need to make room for a so-called pocket in your wall that the door panel can slide into when opened.

Pocket doors are great options for homeowners who have limited space because they essentially disappear when slid open. They’re typically used for bathrooms, pantries, or closets, and are traditionally made of wood and come in a variety of finishes.

Bypass Doors

Sliding doors in glass showers are most commonly bypass doors. Bypass doors have two fixed panels hanging next to each other with tracks both above and below the door frame. To open and close it, simply slide the panel.

Bypass doors are low-cost and easy to install, and thus are common in home interiors. Homeowners use them for showers, closets, and even to separate living spaces for privacy.

Sliding French Doors

French doors are big, beautiful doors covered with relatively small framed glass panes that let in tons of natural light. They’re gorgeous, traditional-looking, and they fit well anywhere in a home, whether used as an interior or exterior door. No matter where you install them, sliding French doors will add tons of charm to your home.

Most French doors are hinged, not sliding, but there are sliding French doors that save space and still have that one-of-a-kind French door look. Consider this gorgeous door style if your home is a bit cramped, but you don’t want to compromise on style.

Barn Doors

Browsing Pinterest for home ideas, you’re almost certain to spot styled images of barn doors. They have become popular additions to farmhouse-style homes in recent years because they make stylish and convenient sliding doors for bedrooms, bathrooms, and closets. 

Sliding barn doors feature an upper track that holds the door and allows it to slide over a doorway. To open the doorway, slide the door panel back over the wall. Unlike a pocket door, you’ll still be able to see the stylish barn door when it’s open.

Large sliding door
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Pros and Cons of Sliding Doors

As with anything, sliding doors come with disadvantages and advantages. If you’re deciding what type of door to install in your home, choosing the right door for you on the first try will save you money in the long run. Here are some aspects to consider:


  • Add natural light

  • Save space

Sliding doors are often made of clear glass, so they can provide ample natural light, especially when they lead outdoors. With sliding glass or French patio doors, you’ll never have to wonder what the weather is like outside. And if you install them inside, they will allow natural light to flow freely from room to room.

Small spaces can also benefit from sliding doors. Sliding doors don’t have hinges, and are thus less bulky than traditional doors. They won’t swing open or closed and instead are self-contained.


  • Low security

  • Require regular cleaning

One major downside to having a sliding door as your patio door or front door is the fact that they don’t offer as much security as traditional doors with knobs and hinges do. They allow people to peer inside your home and often don’t have complex lock systems. 

Sliding doors also get dirty quickly. If your sliding door is made of glass or another clear material, be prepared to wipe it down on a daily basis. They will attract fingerprints and scratches, so cleaning them regularly is a must.

How Much Do Sliding Doors Cost?

On average, replacing a sliding glass door costs $2,100, which includes $10 to $50 per square foot for materials. Removing an old door will cost about $100, while installing a new one will be at least $250 and as high as $1,600. The amount you spend will depend on the retailer you buy your door from as well as how large it is. Bigger, more complex doors will generally be more expensive. Contact a local sliding glass door pro today to get a quote.

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