What is the difference between an atrium door and a French door?

When most people think of patio doors, what comes to mind are the sliding glass doors on metal tracks that became popular during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. For others, a patio door might mean double exterior doors, like French doors with shutters or Roman shades. But, there are many different kinds of patio doors beyond sliding glass and French entryways. The type of patio door that will work best for you depends on your home style, interior and exterior decor, and the overall architecture of the structure where they will be installed. Here are some of the most popular patio door types—you may not have seen or heard of some of this fun, modern, rustic, and other attention-grabbing options!

French Doors for Rear Exterior Use

Many homes are built with French doors as the backdoor, patio, porch, land, or other rear enclosure. French doors are best described as two matching doors that mirror one another. When in use, French doors typically have one door with a handle, lock, and other moving hardware for everyday use. Conversely, the other door stays closed, has no moving hardware, and is kept in place by latch at the base of the door that links to the doorframe, keeping it securely in place. The latch on the non-moving door can be lifted, allowing both doors to open for the purposes of moving in appliances or furniture, or for letting in the breeze on a pleasant spring evening.

The hallmark of most French patio doors is their use of multiple glass panes, usually at least four to eight panes called lites. Some French exterior doors may just have one, large lite, while others can have as many as 12 lites each. The glass used in quality French exterior entryways is hurricane-grade, impact-rated glass capable of withstanding anything nature—or a thief—can throw at it.

French exterior entryways come in a variety of sizes but are not individually larger than one, single exterior door in most cases. For the door opening to be larger than the average single door, both doors within a French doorframe would need to be open. Available in a variety of wood types, including mahogany, cedar, pine, knotty alder, and both red and white oak, French exterior doors can enhance the visual appeal of almost any home style, from rustic to ultra-modern. French doors are also available in metal and fiberglass, which can be ideal for warding off burglars and keeping out external noise.

Double and Single Arched Entryways for Exteriors

If your home is rustically styled, you may want to consider arched patio doors. Whether you’re replacing an old door to fit into an arched entryway, or you’re remodeling and prefer an arched door over a square top, there are many excellent options to choose from. The best-arched patio doors are both fire and impact rated, and look beautiful with the right kind of architecture and decor.

Available as individual and in double door styles, an arched exterior door for the rear-facing entry of your home can really make both the interior and exterior design pop. Choose a solid wood arched door, or a double arched entryway made almost entirely of glass. Whatever style works for your home, there is an option in arched exterior doors for you.