Types Of Sliding Doors (Your Complete Guide)

Types Of Sliding Doors

Sometimes installing a traditional door is not viable, especially when there is no space for it to swing out. There are many places in your house where you would love to have a door, but it just appears impractical. Or it may be that your hinged door is a nuisance.

There are many reasons why a sliding door can be a better alternative to a traditional door. Sliding doors are commonly used in offices, hotels, and commercial buildings. However, they have become increasingly popular in homes due to their style and functionality.

While they are a great option, trying to choose the right one is difficult as many types of sliding doors are available. Here we’ll make life easy for you by reviewing each one to see which sliding door is the best fit for your home. Let’s get started!

Most Common Types of Sliding Doors

There are many types of sliding doors on the market, and all of them fold and open in different ways. Four types of doors, in particular, are more common than others, and these are:

1. Bypass Sliding Doors

Bypass sliding doors are designed to move across the entire width of the frame. As the name suggests, this means that one door can slide across (bypass) the other door. They do well in smaller spaces and are commonly used as room doors, closets, and washrooms.

One exciting thing about bypass slide doors is that they are often made of glass or wood. That gives you the freedom to choose any design you want based on your budget and preference.

Bypass Sliding Doors
Image Credit: propertymomager

With their tracks placed on the top and the bottom, bypass doors are easy to install and open. Since the sliding roller mechanism is exposed and the roller sits on the top of the track, this offers an option to remove the door entirely if you decide to.

On the downside, these sliding doors leave some space between rooms unsealed. The door slides on the outside of the frame, leaving a relatively large gap between the door and the frame. This space allows air and sounds to pass through between the rooms.

2. Pocket Doors

A pocket sliding door has a space inside the wall for the door to slide into when opened. In other words, they disappear into the house wall when they slide open.

Due to their space-saving nature, pocket doors are perfect in small spaces where traditional doors become inefficient. These include a wardrobe or small ensuites.

Pocket Doors
Image Credit: brownstoneboys

One pocket door disadvantage is cost. Installing a pocket door can cost an average of $1,100. However, the price can go as high as $10,000 if you install it during a remodeling project when a lot of demolition and wire/pipe rerouting are involved.

Another drawback is that, like the bypass doors, they don’t create a sufficient seal between rooms. That means sound and air can pass through easily between the rooms. That limits the areas with which you can employ a pocket door. For instance, installing one to separate indoor and outdoor spaces would be unwise.

3. Bi-Fold Doors

As the name suggests, bi-fold sliding doors feature multiple panels hinged together. There are rollers at the point where the door panels meet. So, once you open the door sideways, the panels will fold up on each other.

Bi-fold doors are less space-saving in homes than other types of sliding doors. For that reason, they are ideal for commercial establishments and offices. However, you can also install them as entrances to kitchens or closets, and they also work very well on patios.

Bi-Fold Doors
Image Credit: 02arch

One of the benefits of bi-fold doors is that they offer a stylish touch like no other. Since several door panels fold into a relatively compact arrangement, they allow more space in the doorway.

That makes them suitable for large outdoor/indoor areas, as they not only reduce the amount of space the door takes up but also create a feeling of perfect cohesion between the inside and outside. They are also able to create a perfect seal when closed.

On the drawback side, bi-fold doors are relatively expensive due to their size and complexity. Another disadvantage is that given there have several hanging points, they can be a potential risk for children due to the chance of getting trapped fingers.

4. Patio Sliding Doors

Patio sliding doors are used as openings to the patios. You can also use them in other areas of the house.

These types of sliding doors are usually made of mostly glass to provide an undisrupted view of the patio. The glass also helps to illuminate the room with sufficient natural light. They create a perfect transition between your living room and the outdoors. Patio sliding doors are not only beautiful but also come in a variety of exotic designs.

They are easy to install and won’t cost much, especially during a new house build. Unlike bi-fold doors, patio doors work on a simple rolling mechanism. That makes them more user-friendly and requires less maintenance.

Patio Sliding Doors
Image Credit: tevadoors

Moreover, they are more effective in creating a seal between rooms. That means they allow less air and sound to pass through. Hence, that helps to keep your heating and cooling costs down, especially with double glazing of the glass.

On the downside, patio sliding doors don’t open the entire doorway width. They usually have two equally sized panels, with only one panel sliding open. That limits your ability to create that indoor-outdoor space that a bypass or bi-fold door would offer. In terms of sleekness and functionality, many people would choose a bi-fold sliding door instead.

Other Types of Sliding Doors

While they are the most popular type of sliding doors, they aren’t the only ones out there. Here are four more types of sliding doors that you may want to consider:

1. French Sliding Doors

Traditional French doors typically open and close with the help of hinges. But French sliding doors offer a space-saving alternative. They are famous worldwide. So, if you want a French door’s versatility but lack sufficient space for one, this sliding option would be the best for you.

French Sliding Doors
Image Credit: liz.handmade.home

These doors often have four panels, with the inner two panels sliding across over the outer two static panels. This is the same process as patio sliding doors, but French doors are usually much smaller.

2. Shoji Doors

Shoji doors originated in Japan and have gained popularity worldwide. These doors can enhance the aesthetic value of your property with their distinctive design constructed of paper and wood. They offer a traditional look that is also classic.

Shoji Doors
Image Credit: adrianpwood

However, shoji doors are challenging to install, especially for a DIYer. It would be best to seek professional help if you try these types of sliding doors.

3. Sliding Barn Doors

They are common in rural areas. Sliding barn doors are easy to install on an upper track, and a bottom groove is made into the doorway.

Sliding Barn Doors
Image Credit: winsoonbarndoorhardware

They are a popular option for interior doors. Installing a barn sliding door creates a focal point and a distinct rustic charm. Barn doors look great in any place you install them. The most important advantage is that they are relatively cheaper to install but don’t offer much of a barrier for light and sound.

4. Accordion/Folding Doors

They are the least expensive sliding doors. Like their name suggests, folding doors open and slide to the side. They come in several designs and colors. They are like bi-fold doors, but the panels are much more slender and often made of lightweight materials.

Accordion/Folding Doors
Image Credit: directdoors

In addition to being inexpensive, accordion doors are easy to install. That makes them perfect if you have many entryways to cover on a tight budget. They are generally used for small, compact areas, such as closing off a pantry.

How to Choose the Best Sliding Door Type

Now you know the types of sliding doors available, you need to know how to choose the right one for you. Let’s take a look at the five most important things you need to consider.

1. Design Is Essential

Choose a design that complements the style and appearance of your home. For example, a more classic, order home would want a simple but elegant door. On the other hand, a modern house would look better with a larger, airier door.

2. Sliding Door Material

If your sliding door has an outside entrance, make sure that it’s secure enough for your needs. You’ll also need to take other factors into consideration, such as sunlight shining through. On a south-facing side, a glass door can produce a lot of internal heat.

It’s always worth considering how any material will connect with your space. If you do want glass doors, then some sliding glass doors even come with built-in blinds. The blinds sit between two glass panels, and you can open or close them from the outside.

For the frames, you have several options, including fiberglass, aluminum, and vinyl. Go for the most durable and energy-efficient option.

3. Where Will You Install The Door?

A multiple-panel sliding door (folding sliding door) is only appropriate if you have space. Otherwise, consider a pocket door instead. If neither of those two options is suitable, then you can opt for doors that slide over each other such as barn doors or patio sliding doors.

4. How Much Maintenance Will the Door Need?

Your sliding door type will need regular maintenance to remain 100% functional. Each door type requires a specific amount of work. For example, a wooden sliding door might need minor repairs more often than an aluminum door. Think about what conditions your door will be exposed to, such as rain, excess moisture, or even children’s fingerprints!


There are many types of sliding doors, including bypass, bi-fold, patio, and pocket sliding doors. Each type has its pros and cons, and the right one for you will depend on your home and the style you’re looking for. Hopefully, our guide has given you all the info you need to make the right choice for you.

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