Sliding Doors 101 – A Comprehensive Guide

Sliding doors have been around for at least a couple of thousand years. The Romans surely knew about the perks of the horizontally sliding entryways, but little did they know that this trend will turn into a tradition.

Nowadays, sliding doors are slowly taking over the door industry, thanks to their functionality. They have been a preferable choice for HDB homes and landed properties for quite some time.

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And there’s more than one reason for this. The versatility in terms of material, styles, size, and shape are just a few of the perks that come with installing doors in a home.

To help you get an in-depth look at the properties, advantages, and disadvantages of sliding entrances, here’s some useful knowledge on sliding doors you’ll appreciate.

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What is a Sliding Door?

As the name suggests, a sliding door is a door that employs horizontal sliding as means of operation. Typically, they feature a parallel installation. They come in a massive selection of materials, from glass and wood to PVC and aluminium.

Depending on the customers’ needs and preferences, the most common sliding door installations can be done on top of a track or suspended. Some models make the sliding door “disappear” in a wall when opened.

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Understanding the Different Types of Sliding Doors

In terms of design, contemporary sliding doors come in lots of varieties. Some of the most popular models are pocket sliding doors, accordion doors, shoji doors, and bypass doors. Sliding doors are a preferred choice for patios, but they are also great for shower doors, glass doors, wardrobe doors, or screens.

Let’s take a more detailed in-depth look into the most common types of sliding doors:

Bypass Doors

Perhaps, bypass doors are among the most popular types of sliding doorways. Bypass doors employ fixed panels, hung adjacently to each other. The panels roll easily from side to side. Because they are so easy to use, bypass sliding doors are suitable for pretty much every part of your interior.

Their installation is effortless, and that’s yet another reason why they are ideal for closet doors or as room dividers. Besides, they are available in a wide range of visual styles.

For your closet, get a wooden door. For your bathroom, you should go for a glass-made bypass door. Either way, these doors are pretty affordable and require no special skills for installation. If you need new and efficient closet doors or your shower, bypass sliding doors will provide a quick and stylish solution without spending a fortune on ineffective options.

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Pocket Sliding Doors

These doors may look like they’re from the future. They have been in the door market for quite some time. It’s safe to say that pocket sliding doors are masters at space-saving, and there’s a simple reason for that. Their main perk is that when you slide them open, they disappear into the wall. That’s because they employ no hinges at all.

If you’re considering a bypass door for your closet, but you have limited space, installing a pocket door might be a much better idea. What’s more, take advantage of your HDB bedroom or pantry and just slide the door into the wall when needed.

Besides, pocket doors come in lots of original looks. You can choose to go with a traditional wooden appeal, but you can smoothly go for a more modern charm. As for the installation, you may want to trust a professional to create that so-important pocket space inside your wall and install the door for you.

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Patio Sliding Doors

Sliding doors are extremely popular with homes with patios. Since most patio doors are made of thick glass panels, having such a sliding door can provide a great view of your garden. You may want to go for a sturdy glass option if you have children. If you aren’t that serious about safety, then you might go for a more ornate model.

Regardless of your choice, make sure you hire a professional to install your door. Patio sliding doors may not be that difficult to install. Still, if you already have a door that needs replacing, then you’ll need some additional measurements to consider.

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Sliding French Doors

At first, you would think that there’s some mistake. However, French sliding doors are a thing, quite space-saving at that. The main reason why homeowners choose French doors for their homes is their gorgeous look.

Unfortunately, not every home has ample space. Luckily, sliding French doors are an effective remedy that doesn’t use up too much space. What’s more, you can use them as patio doors. Wherever you choose to install them, you’ll immediately feel a sense of charm and style.

Shoji Door

Shoji doors have long been popular in western homes. Even though they are a representation of the Japanese culture, the growing interest in this type of sliding doors has evolved into an interior design trend. The essence of shoji doors is beauty and simplicity. The doorways consist of wood and paper, and that’s what’s unique about them.

Of course, you must be very careful as the paper is prone to tearing. For this reason, installing a shoji door may not be a good idea if you have mischievous children or a curious pet at home. Other than that, this door might be the ideal option for homes where aesthetics is above all.

Since shoji doors are not so affordable, it might be a good idea to re-think your concept before materializing it. The right solution would be to buy a Shoji sliding door with a hard-fibre rice paper filler. The material is more robust than you’d expect. You’ll have to try hard to tear the paper. This advantage will make your sliding door choice much more practical and safe to use.

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Accordion Doors

If you’re wondering why people call these doors “accordion,” then you should think of how the instrument functions. That’s right – sliding accordion doors resemble the way accordions play.

To install such a door, you’ll just have to slide along a little track and then hang it up. But the best aspect of buying a sliding accordion door is the inexpensive price tag. If you’re looking to install multiple entrances for your closet, pantry, etc., accordion doors will do a perfect job without wasting valuable time and effort.

The inability of accordion doors to close as tight as possible is a minor but quite annoying disadvantage. Luckily, there’s an efficient way to deal with the problem. It’s called “snap-lock closing.” Buying an accordion sliding door with this feature will allow you to close the door correctly and by snapping it into place.

Barn Doors

If you’re familiar with the traditional rustic and country style, then you’d probably understand where the idea of sliding barn doors originates. Unquestionably, barn doors come in various styles and visuals.

Still, one of the most popular types of barn doors in recent years is the sliding barn door. The install is an easy upper track and a bottom groove mounting. This configuration makes for simple access in your pantry, closet, or even a garage. Whatever your intentions are, installing such a door will significantly improve your convenience without unwanted sacrifices.

Sliding Bi-Fold Door

Sliding bi-fold doors are less common, but still a smart and aesthetic choice for your pantry or patio. The name is pretty self-explanatory – when slid open, the entry “folds” all halves towards one another.

This option might not be as compact as the others. Still, every homeowner would like the idea of having a stylish mix between a bi-fold and sliding mechanism all in one door. Besides, sliding bi-folds are easy to install and use.

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Ball-Bearing Rollers

If you want to ensure that your closet sliding door is always quiet when you open it, you should look for one that has ball-bearing rollers. Even though they are quite heavy-duty, these rollers will make your door remarkably quiet. You’ll never have to take the risk of waking up your family every time you return from a night shift again.

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Common Sliding Door Materials

Taking up the idea of furnishing your home with sliding doors isn’t that hard. The real problem comes when you have to choose the material.

Whether you pick wood, steel, fibreglass, vinyl, or aluminium, the body of your sliding door should correspond to its purpose. Therefore, it’s always helpful to have some basic knowledge of the perks and downsides of the following sliding door materials:


Wood is a traditional material that’s ideal for your patio sliding doors. Even though it’s expensive, wood is quite elegant and provides a distinctive appeal. If you’re looking for a warm and natural look of your interior and exterior, you might have an excellent reason to bet on sliding doors made of wood.

However, you should be aware that wood requires constant upkeep. On top of that, the natural material is prone to moisture, sunlight, and heat exposure. Over time, wood warps and fades.

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If you’re looking for a reliable solution, steel sliding doors are bound to endure various weather conditions. Of course, you’ll have to sacrifice the looks, but at least you’ll know that nothing can harm your patio door.

What’s more, you’ll spend much less money. The easy maintenance and excellent insulation properties make for an efficient alternative to wood. Just make sure you don’t scratch, dent, or peel off the protective layers of your doors because that can start the rusting process.

Another disadvantage of steel is that it conducts temperature efficiently. A compromising option between wood and steel are wood-clad patio doors.

They are made of wood but with a layer of steel on the exterior. The great thing about this combination is that you get the benefits of wooden doors with the minimal maintenance required for metal doors.

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Similar to steel, the idea of aluminium sliding doors is to provide durability with minimal care requirements. The difference is that aluminium doors are much lighter than their counterparts.

As you know well, aluminium is an easily affordable material, and so are aluminium sliding doors. Since sliding doors sit within their frame, you’ll have fewer moving parts.

As a result, the stress on the aluminium profiles and hinges will be minimal. Just bear in mind that aluminium can be easily scratched or dented, which may cause some unwanted problems.

Lots of people prefer to go with PVCu for their sliding doors, as it’s considerably cheaper than aluminium and timber. If you insist on having a sleeker and more visually appealing door, choosing aluminium will have a significant impact on the final result.


Perhaps, the most inexpensive and cost-effective material of all, the synthetic resin can mimic almost any style and substance out there. Vinyl patio doors don’t suffer from issues like peeling, rotting or corroding. One big disadvantage of this material is that it’s vulnerable to extreme temperature shifts, which can cause cracks. Also, vinyl is somehow more flammable than its counterparts.


Generally, fibreglass sliding doors are much more reliable than their vinyl alternative. In other words, you can easily combine maximum glass in your door with an aluminium frame for maximum natural light coming inside your home. Moreover, fibreglass can easily mimic wood without inheriting its flaws. Now you can safely pick the best door material for your shower stall – you’ll have a warp, rot, and deterioration-free experience.

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Tempered Glass

What’s the improved version of glass? That’s right, tempered glass. This type of transparent material is much more robust than its predecessor, thanks to the chemical or physical methods used to form compressive stress on the surface of the glass. This feature makes for a safe solution for a sliding door designed for regular use.

Besides, you’ll be able to enjoy the properties of standard glass without exposing your children to the dangers of fragile glass doors. Most modern glass sliding doors feature some types of tempered glass, but it’ll be a good idea to make sure for yourself before buying a new sliding door.

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UPVC is a similar but much better version of the classic PVC material. Unlike its predecessor, uPVC is rigid and hard, which makes it less flexible and more resistant. People often compare it to aluminium. Frankly, uPVC is far from the strength and appeal of aluminium.

However, you’d love to have a uPVC patio door simply because of the little to no operational demands. Also, it’s important to note that uPVC is better at preserving the temperature inside. As a result, installing such doors may reduce your overall heating costs.

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The Pros and Cons of Sliding doors

The idea of home and office interior doesn’t exhaust itself with choosing a modern décor and new furniture. Doors can greatly impact the way each space functions, so they are just as important as other design elements.

To impress your guests with magnificent views and sleek service, go with sliding doors. Still, you should know some of the pros and cons that may come with your choice.

The Advantages


Perhaps, the best feature of sliding doors is their unmatched glass surface. Homeowners can virtually install glass as big as the sliding door. To step it up a notch, create a panoramic sliding glass wall. What better way to enjoy the picturesque sea, countryside or garden view from your home?


Right after the looks come the functionality. Sliding doors are well-known for their versatility, and you’ll be amazed at how space you’ll save. A modern slim sliding door can make a great room divider without taking up much space. Generally, you’ll get the most glass and the least amount of visible frame. To create privacy, you can incorporate a sliding door between two rooms to separate or merge your living space.

Durability and weight

Sliding doors are known for their space-saving properties, but they’re also very lightweight and durable. Thanks to the sophisticated rollers and their weight-bearing capabilities, opening the sliding door with just one hand seems like an effortless task.

Energy Efficiency

You may find it surprising, but sliding doors are extremely energy efficient. The availability of different materials allows buyers to pick the most cost-effective option. Of course, there’s a general misconception about the efficiency of glass doors. On the contrary, the more glass, the better the thermal performance of your sliding door.

It’s safe to say that installing such an entryway will pay off in no time due to the energy savings. Don’t forget to make sure the glass is thick enough to get the most out of your energy-saving plans.


Security is one of the critical factors to consider, especially when choosing an exterior door. In terms of safety, sliding doors can cause some trouble. Understandably, glass isn’t reliable protection against unwanted attention. In such cases, tempered glass or a standard film on top of the surface will make your sliding door virtually as sturdy as a rock.


Another good thing about sliding doors is that they require minimal maintenance. With proper care, these types of doors can last for an extended period. A powder-coated aluminium finish offers will increase the resilience and durability of your door. As a result, you’ll have a premium appeal without peeling and chipping.

Last but not least, the waterproof properties of sliding doors come with additional features. A wool pile will help you drive any accumulated water and dust. Also, these doors come with built-in drainage systems that are excellent against water stagnation.


As previously mentioned, sliding doors come in a wide selection of materials. UPVC, wood, and vinyl are renewable, and homeowners can easily remove, clean, or fix them. This factor saves a lot of time but, most importantly, the need to throw them out, which makes sliding doors an environmentally-friendly choice for your interior.

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The Downsides

Of course, the disadvantages are far less than the pros. Nevertheless, it’s worth considering knowing some of the downsides too. Sliding doors vary in size, glass specification, material, style, colour, etc.

Therefore, there’s no exact price range that they cover. On average, sliding doors may be cheaper than French doors but are more expensive than bi-fold doors, which can counts as a disadvantage.

If you’ve made your mind up on a sliding door on the first floor or above, you’ll require the help of a sliding door contractor to lift and handle the glass. Another disadvantage is the sliding mechanism.

Unlike bi-fold and French doors, sliding doors can’t have a horizontal threshold. Instead, they get to have a recessed one where the door slides in. Also, don’t expect to open up your sliding door entirely if there’s already an existing opening.

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