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 industry, thanks to their functionality. They have been a preferable choice for HDB homes and landed properties for quite some time.

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 you’ll appreciate.


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What is a Sliding Door?

As the name suggests, it 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 itself “disappear” in a wall when opened.

Relevant Read: A Comprehensive Guide to HDB Doors

Understanding the Different Types of Sliding Doors

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

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

Bypass Doors

Perhaps, bypass are among the most popular types of sliding doorways. Bypass types employ fixed panels, hung adjacently to each other. The panels roll easily from side to side. Because they are so easy to use, they 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 closets 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. Either way, these are pretty affordable and require no special skills for installation. If you need a new and efficient closet or your shower, they will provide a quick and stylish solution without spending a fortune on ineffective options.


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Pocket Sliding Doors

They may look like they’re from the future. They have been in the market for quite some time. It’s safe to say that pocket sliding types 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 for your closet, but you have limited space, installing a pocket one might be a much better idea. What’s more, take advantage of your HDB bedroom or pantry and just slide into the wall when needed.

Besides, they 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 it for you.


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Patio Sliding Doors

These are extremely popular with homes with patios. Since most patio kinds are made of thick glass panels, having such a feature 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 help you install. A patio may not be that difficult to install. Still, if you already have a need of 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 type is a thing, quite space-saving at that. The main reason why homeowners choose French type for their homes is their gorgeous look.

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

Shoji Door

Shoji have long been popular in western homes. Even though they are a representation of the Japanese culture, the growing interest in this type has evolved into an interior design trend. The essence of shoji 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 may not be a good idea if you have mischievous children or a curious pet at home. Other than that, it might be the ideal option for homes where aesthetics is above all.

Since shoji ones 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 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 choice much more practical and safe to use.


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Relevant Read: Everything You Need to Know about HDB Gates

Accordion Doors

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

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

The inability of the accordion 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 one with this feature will allow you to close it 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 originates. Unquestionably, barn type come in various styles and visuals.

Still, it is one of the most popular types of barn doors in recent years. 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

They 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, these are easy to install and use.

Relevant article: Bi-fold – The Perfect Door for Your Closet

Ball-Bearing Rollers

If you want to ensure that your closet 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 it remarkably quiet. You’ll never have to take the risk of waking up your family every time you return from a night shift again.

An Alternative To Traditional Sliding Doors: Automatic Sliding Doors

Automatic types are entryway devices typical for large retail businesses like workplaces, supermarkets, and malls.

Their main feature is the trigger that opens or closes accordingly. In recent years, engineers have come up with various types of automatic access. Popular triggers are approach sensors and access control, which have their perks and uses.


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How does it work?

Perhaps, the most significant difference between automatic sliding and traditional is the way the former devices function. They employ a smart optical sensor mounted over or integrated within the frame. The sensors control a clutch mechanism that tells the auxiliary drive or cogwheels to open or close it.

Surprisingly, automatics can be quite versatile. They offer various methods of instalment depending on the style and application of the particular piece. The high versatility makes them an ideal solution for both commercial buildings and homes.

Relevant article: Concealed Doors – A Rising HDB Door Trend

Why Choose An Automatic Sliding Door? Are Automatic Sliding Doors Home-Friendly?

There’s nothing more convenient than drinking your cup of coffee on your patio while enjoying the fresh morning breeze. But having to always open and close it can get quite annoying and can ruin the moment.

With automatic sliding, you’ll have no longer have to deal with this hassle. On top of that, you’ll have fully customizable sleek and modern ones that will perfectly match your interior and exterior style.

Moreover, you’d step it up a notch with the secure electronic locking system that allows smart sliding types to lock themselves automatically when fully closed.

Relevant Read: A Comprehensive Guide to HDB Doors

This feature also makes them a lot more reliable than their traditional predecessors. In extreme weather, you’ll be able to close your patio with a click of a button!

This exquisite convenience creates a lot of misconceptions about automatic sliding operators. The most common of all is that they are challenging to install and cost a fortune. In reality, automatic will add a touch of luxury to your home, but you don’t necessarily have to splurge your budget..


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Where to Install Such a Door?

The Patio

If you’re into patios that offer convenience, security, and high visibility, an automatic one will do a perfect job. Such entryways are suitable for homes with gardens where your guests can come and go without making a noise. Besides, you can enjoy the quiet sunset or sunrise.

The Balcony

When speaking of views, automatics are a great addition to galleries. A bedroom balcony can significantly benefit from an automatic sliding operator. You’ll have the opportunity to let in fresh air without even getting out of bed. Moreover, you can always indulge in a beautiful view with a cup of hot coffee.

Building Link

You may happen to have separate buildings that you want to link. In such cases, a couple of automatic sliding doors will make it all look effortless. Lots of companies offer automatic operators with an ultra-slim design. They allow property owners to create large transparent walls with sliding that extend the interior seamlessly and with extreme strength and durability.

Relevant Read: Wooden Doors 101


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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 materials:


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

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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Relevant article: Everything about Teak Wood


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

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 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 the wood-clad patio.

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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Relevant Read: Wooden Doors 101


Similar to steel, the idea is to provide durability with minimal care requirements. The difference is that aluminium is much lighter than its counterparts.

As you know well, aluminium is an easily affordable material, and so are aluminium. 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, as it’s considerably cheaper than aluminium and timber. If you insist on having a sleeker and more visually appealing, 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 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 is much more reliable than their vinyl alternative. In other words, you can easily combine maximum glass 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 material for your shower stall – you’ll have a warp, rot, and deterioration-free experience.

Relevant Read: 6 Types of Modern Wardrobe Designs for Bedrooms

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 regular use.

Besides, you’ll be able to enjoy the properties of standard glass without exposing your children to the dangers of fragile glass. Most modern glass features 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 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 it may reduce your overall heating costs.

Relevant Read: Everything You Need to Know about PVC Doors


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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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