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6 Types of Glass Doors and Their Transparent Benefits

Glass doors, in some form or other, must be one of the most widely adopted architectural features in new builds and renovations. Beyond opening the interior of the home to the outside world, glass doors enrich views, improve ventilation and enhance natural light. And while they are, by nature, transparent, they can also be showstoppers for their ability to blur the boundaries between indoors and out.

Glass doors come in a variety of styles and mechanisms, from sliding and hinged, to folding, pivoting and stacking, plus more. So how do you decide which glass doors are best suited to your home? Here, we consider six types of glass doors and their clear-cut benefits.


A hinged door is the most traditional option, with a swivelling hinge on one side of the door frame enabling the other side of the door to swing open from the wall. A single hinged door can open inwards, outwards or both and can be for internal or external use.


Hinged doors can be framed or frameless and, as these two images demonstrate, each offer a very different look. The selection of door handle also contributes to the overall look and style of the door.

Hinged doors can be used to maximise the space of a narrow opening, and are a good alternative when there is no allowance to install stacked or folding doors. However, do remember they will require a clear space in front of them equal to the width of the door.

Hinged doors come in a variety of sizes, but the structural frame and hinges will need to be able to support the weight of the door when open.

They can be teamed with security or fly screens to let the breeze in while keeping unwanted bugs – and people – out.


French doors are basically a pair of singled hinged doors that open away from each other. Traditionally, they have multiple timber-framed glass panels and swing inwards, but today, anything goes. Used for both interior and exterior doors, they provide an elegant transition between rooms and spaces.


French doors fill a wider opening than a single door and the space required in front of the opening is halved, only needing to be the width of one door, not the full opening.

Like the single doors, they can be used to maximise the space of the opening.

French doors are most commonly framed in timber, aluminium, PVC or fibreglass.


Bi-fold doors are made up of a series of individual folding door panels that, like the single hinged doors, can be framed or frameless. They are generally made up of two or more hinged panels that fold or concertina along a sill track, and can be pushed to one or both sides of the structural opening.


Bi-fold doors can help create the illusion of a larger interior, as the wall opening does not have obstructive structural posts.

Like single and French doors, they can open inwards or outwards depending on interior or exterior space.

Bi-fold doors provide flexibility to be fully or partially opened. Additionally, one door panel can function as a single active door, being used for entries and exits without opening the entire door system. Be aware that most bi-fold doors are top hung, so structural supports will be required to withstand the weight.


Pivot doors have hinges mounted at the top and bottom of the door, often at a centre or off-centre point. This means that when the door is open, it is both inside and outside. Pivot doors can be singular or multiple, as as in the example pictured here.


A series of pivot doors can be angled to direct or obstruct breezes.

Pivot doors can generally be bigger and heavier than single doors or French doors, because the weight-bearing point is more centred and it supports two sides of the frame, rather than just one. Thus, the opening space can be wider than a single door. However, the open door will obstruct a portion of this.

Because the pivot door sits across both sides of the structure when open, a clear space needs to be both in front of and behind the door – the width of this will depend on the position of the pivot.


Sliding glass doors open sideways rather than inwards or outwards, gliding alongside another glass panel or the framework of the house. Sliding doors allow for expansive glass walls to maximise views, offering a transition between indoor and outdoor spaces.


A sliding mechanism is ideal for large glass doors as the weight is fully supported on upper and lower tracks.

Sliding glass doors are space-saving, as a large door can be used without needing to consider the space in front of, or behind, the door. However, if it is sliding alongside a wall, be sure it is free of obstruction.

A sliding door can be fully recessed into the framework so it completely disappears, maximising the space of the opening.

They do not require a structural support within the opening, and the weight of the door is on the bottom track.

Sliding glass doors can be framed or frame-less to suit the style of the house.


Stacking doors look like sliding doors, but contain more moving panels. They are often comprised of two or more panels that slide behind one fixed panel or structural element. Each panel collects and interlocks with the next panel, causing it to slide.


Many of the benefits of stacking doors are similar to sliding doors.

Additionally, because there are multiple panels, they can accommodate a larger opening.

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