Patio doors open from the house onto the patio and garden. There are two main types, ‘French’ (double casement doors, opening outwards) and ‘Sliding’ (one panel sliding past another on runners).
The average cost of sliding uPVC patio doors in the UK start from around £600 supply only, or £850 supplied and fitted. But, if we consider the French style in white uPVC, the cost of patio doors start from about £390 supply only and £750 when fitted.
These are, of course, an approximation compiled from patio door prices of many different sizes and styles. In reality, the costs will vary depending on size, material, and so on.
The benefits of all types of patio doors will be dealt with during this article but for now, we can say that they allow the occupier to extend their indoor living space into the garden. As an added advantage, even when you have bad weather, they allow extra light into the room. And you can see what’s going on in the garden.
In this guide you will learn about:
- How much patio doors cost.
- The different types of patio door styles and materials (Aluminium and uPVC).
- Installation cost factors for new and replacement patio doors.
- Widening a doorway or opening up a window in anticipation of installing patio doors.
- What certification and qualifications do tradespeople and companies need when specialising in patio doors.
- How to calculate estimates when buying materials for the project.
How Much Do Patio Doors Cost?
In the table below we have compiled average prices based on standard patio door sizes for homes in the UK. We’ve also used an average labour cost of £150/day for a tradesman and £100/day for a labourer to replace existing doors with new ones. To create a larger opening from an existing door or window will usually cost between £500 to £700. Remember, that the prices will vary depending on where you live in the UK. Labour prices in London and area are about 20% more than elsewhere in the country.
|Patio door type||Cost||Labour|
|Sliding Doors – uPVC, fully glazed, 1.5m x 2.1m to 2.5m x 2.1m||£600 to £1500||£300 to £450|
|French Doors – uPVC, fully glazed, 1.2m x 2.1m to 1.8m x 2.1m||£800 to £1500||£250 to £350|
|Sliding Doors – Aluminium, fully glazed, 2.4 x 2.1m to 3.6 x 2.1||£1600 to £2500||£450 to £600|
|French Doors – Aluminium, fully glazed, 1.2m x 2.1m to 1.8 x 2.1m||£1000 to £1200||£300 to £400|
There are many types of patio doors on sale in the UK. There are hardwood and softwood French doors. But, by far the most common are aluminium and uPVC French doors, together with aluminium and uPVC sliding doors.
Additionally, there is a variant of the sliding door type called ‘bifold’. Bifold doors run on rails like standard sliding doors. But also fold up like a concertina so you don’t need a fixed panel. A typical 4–panel uPVC bifold door will cost around £1200 to £1500 to buy. They might be more expensive than the other options, but when folded back onto the patio door runners at the side of the frame, they provide an unimpeded opening from the house into the garden.
uPVC Patio Doors
If you haven’t already had patio doors fitted, and you are working on a budget, uPVC door frames are probably the best to choose. uPVC is cheaper than aluminium but has thicker framing around the glass. So although uPVC gives a wide view of the garden, an aluminium patio door installation has less frame and more glass, giving a much better view.
Although uPVC doesn’t need much maintenance and is highly durable, the material will degrade over the years. Usually, after 20 to 30 years the doors will need replacing.
Advantages of uPVC
But, what are the advantages of uPVC over aluminium?
Well, mostly the two materials break even on many factors. However, there are some points where uPVC beats aluminium.
- First, uPVC is cheaper than aluminium. But when you consider its shorter lifespan, it probably works out less cost–effective in the long term.
- uPVC has better soundproofing than aluminium. But, because double glazed glass panels have far more soundproofing effect than the frame. So, if you choose good quality panels, you might find there’s not a lot in it.
- uPVC doesn’t need any maintenance other than a wipe with a damp cloth, every few months. And, occasional lubrication of the hinges.
- Finally, uPVC won’t corrode when in contact with acidic rain. For all practical purposes, uPVC can be regarded as totally inert. Although, aluminium frames come ready coated in plastic. If the surface becomes damaged, the weather will attack the metal surface.
The table above only mentions the standard 2–panel uPVC patio doors. In contrast, a 3–panel uPVC sliding door of 2.4m x 2.1m costs from around £900. While a 4–panel uPVC sliding door costs from £1350. If you’re after French doors then the only thing you can do to increase the width is to add side panels. To buy a 2.5m wide unit with top and side panels will cost from £1000. And, a 3m wide unit with side panels will also cost from around £1000.
If you want to have the larger units fitted, installing French doors with side panels will cost from around £400 to £600 plus the cost of doors. On the other hand, sliding doors with multiple panels won’t cost very much more to install, say an extra £50 to £80 per panel.
Depending on the size of the doors and the number of panels, the job will take between 1 and 2 days. However, if you have to make the opening larger or convert a window opening to one suitable for patio doors, expect the job to take about 4 days or so, and cost around £1000.
Aluminium Patio Doors
Aluminium is stronger than uPVC, so the frame doesn’t need to have the same large profile. Therefore, you can use a larger double glazed panel which gives a better view of the outside. However, the extra strength comes at a price. And, aluminium also has higher material and manufacturing costs. So, it’s no surprise that aluminium is more expensive than uPVC.
Advantages of using aluminium
- Like uPVC, the frames come in various colours and patterns. But, unlike uPVC that only has a few colours to choose from, aluminium has a virtually unlimited number of finishes.
- Aluminium patio door manufacturers prefer to use a coloured powder coating, thermally bonded to the metal as protection.
- The plastic coating is impervious to the weather. But, if scratched or damaged, the underlying aluminium will be exposed to rain and will corrode.
- Many manufacturers offer different finishes on the inside and outside of the frame. This allows you to customise the window’s look, by matching with the building’s exterior while at the same time, complementing the interior design of each room.
- Because of the narrower frame profile, aluminium sliding doors look sleek and contemporary. And, can give your home more added value when compared to uPVC.
- The larger expanse of glass allows more light into the room.
- Although aluminium is more expensive than uPVC at present, the prices of aluminium French doors and sliding doors are gradually decreasing. Due to the popularity of the material, they are becoming more affordable as manufacturers increase their production.
- Unlike uPVC, aluminium is 100% recyclable so is a useful sustainable manufacturing material.
- You might think that heat insulation of aluminium frames would be worse than uPVC. And, until recently this was so. However, modern designs incorporate thermal breaks and highly insulating Aerogel within the frames to prevent heat transfer from inside to out. Check the Window Energy Rating (WER) to find out the level of insulation.
An aluminium 3–panel bifold door of approximately 3m x 2.1m will cost about £2000 supply only. Aluminium sliding doors measuring 3.6m x 2.1m costs around £2400 with £600 for fitting.
The time taken to install aluminium won’t be much different to the time specified previously for a uPVC unit. The deciding factors will be the patio door sizes, how many panels make up the unit, and the number of structural alterations needed to make the opening (if any).
Patio Door Installation Cost Factors
Many factors affect the cost of installation. Such as:
The size of the door you intend placing into the opening governs the purchase price of the door unit. But it also increases the installation cost too. Both sliding doors and French doors need more panels if they are to fill a wider opening. This means, there will be extra tasks to complete, which need to be paid for. Although modern house designs incorporate standard–sized window and door openings, older properties don’t. If this is the case with your home, you will need to make up the difference with additional fixed panels, both at the side and along the top.
The material of the unit affects the price considerably. At present, although wood isn’t in the scope of this article, softwood doors are probably the cheapest, but also more prone to problems with weathering.
uPVC is cheaper than aluminium. But, given that an aluminium unit has a longer lifespan, you won’t have to replace it as often as uPVC. Both aluminium and uPVC can withstand bad weather and don’t have the problem of absorbing water, swelling and rotting as wooden doors do.
It’s standard building practice to fill the gap between the patio door frame and the masonry wall with expanding construction foam. You buy this in an aerosol can and it costs anything from between £5 to £25 per can, depending on the size and the quality.
You will also need a damp proof membrane to prevent the ingress of moisture around the frame.
Builders use a tube of silicon sealant to waterproof joints, preventing moisture from finding its way indoors. These come in different colours depending on the colour of your door unit and cost between £5 and £10 per tube.
Making good masonry surfaces around the frame needs sand and cement for outdoors, and a small amount of plaster on the inside. Alternatively, you can buy aluminium or uPVC strips to cover over any damage around the frame.
If you are making a new opening or increasing the width of an existing opening, you must incorporate a lintel into the cost to widen a doorway. Take the advice from a structural engineer who will calculate the lintel’s size and specifications.
Lastly, you will need a way to fix the frame in place. Usually, installers use good quality rustproof stainless steel screws together with plastic wall plugs. Compared to the price of the patio doors, this is a negligible cost.
If you are simply replacing one patio door unit for another or are using the existing width of a window, then you won’t need a structural engineer. If however, you intend replacing the lintel for one with a longer span, you must have the dimensions calculated by a professional. Sometimes a patio door company will organise this for you. But, either way, you will end up paying about £100 or so for their work.
This is a phrase that represents the handles, latches, locks and other attachments to the doors. Most manufacturers give you a choice of door furniture based on your budget, and the overall effect you intend to give. Generally, all doors come with handles, secure locks etc. It’s only the quality of the manufacturing material, the style and colour that change.
Usually, standard uPVC units come as a basic white plastic. But the choice doesn‘t end there. Both uPVC and aluminium doors offer different colours and finishes. The most common include wood grain finishes. But, there are other finishes available too, such as wood grain or different colours.
uPVC can be made using coloured vinyl, sprayed with a suitable paint covering. Or, using a coloured or patterned foil (a type of laminate). uPVC units have at most 15 different finishes available including wood grain foils.
Aluminium, on the other hand, uses a powdered plastic melted onto the bare metal surface using a heat bonding technique. This is almost impervious to weathering. And, there are literally hundreds of available textures and colours available using this method.
Window Energy Rating (WER)
All new patio doors (for calculating WER, they will be regarded as windows) have to comply with the energy performance set out in the UK Building Regulations. All glass manufacturers produce glass to the standards needed to produce an energy-efficient window. But, the Window Energy Rating applies to the entire window or patio door. So, also includes the performance of the frame.
Windows that hold ratings such as A++ cost more than those holding a rating of C.
All types of patio doors need a frame in which they can sit. French doors hang from the frame by hinges. While sliding doors sit inside runners fitted to the frames.
If the wall opening is larger than the opening part of the door set, you will need fixed panels to make up the difference. The cost of the unit depends on the number of fixed panels that the unit needs.
The type of patio doors you choose will depend on how much room you have in the specified location. For example, if you have a small patio or want doors from a bedroom onto a balcony, you won’t have much room to accommodate an open French door set. In these cases, it’s best to choose a sliding door.
Also, you have to consider the position of the patio door in the house. Patio doors such as French doors are liable to be blown closed by prevailing winds. Also, they usually open outwards so the inside surface will potentially be damaged by the rain if left open during a storm. Furthermore, if the wind slams a door shut, it can cause accidents if a child is in the doorway. Or, the force will smash the glass. Compare this with a sliding door and you can see that sliding doors are much safer.
If you intend fitting a ‘new’ door unit, you must make an opening in the wall. You do this by either removing an existing window or door. And, increase the size of the opening to accommodate the new frame. This will produce wood, glass and masonry rubble as a waste product.
However, if you intend to replace an existing set of patio doors with new, then you only need to get rid of the old doors.
Either way, you will need some method to remove waste from the site. The easiest way is to hire a waste skip costing between £100 and £200. But, remember not to hire a large one as you won’t produce very much waste.
Replacement job vs entire new construction
If you are replacing patio doors with a new set, you will be limited to the size of the existing opening. Hopefully, the opening is a modern standard size and the new unit will fit. If the house was built before the 1970s, there’s a good chance that the size will be non-standard or will be in old imperial measurements. If this is the case you must choose the next size smaller than the opening and infill the remaining space with fixed panels.
Alternatively, if you intend constructing a new opening, you can pretty much make it to fit any standard size. It’s your choice. However, when comparing the price, buying a replacement unit to fit an existing non-standard opening, will still be cheaper than cutting a new opening from scratch.
If you want to replace a single panel in an existing unit, make sure the new panel fits the existing runners. It will then slide behind the fixed panel as intended. The only practical way you can do this is to contact the manufacturer.
If you want to widen a doorway, the total cost can be broken down as follows:
Cost of a structural engineer to specify lintel size – £100
Labour to enlarge opening: 2 men for 1 day – £250.
Extras (including new lintel) – £200.
So, the cost will be a total of around £550, plus supply and fit the doors.
Door Energy Efficiency
There are a few sensible ways to keep your patio doors energy efficient.
- If your doors run on a track, try to keep the track clean. Debris such as gravel, twigs and so on, prevent the door from sitting correctly in the groove. This allows cold air into the house and warm air out.
- Periodically check that cracks haven’t appeared between the frame and the surrounding wall. Over time, the house settles as do the patio doors, and gaps open up. Run some caulking or silicon sealant into the gap to prevent draughts.
- Use secondary insulation such as blackout curtains, or blinds to reduce energy loss when the doors are closed.
- Ensure you have the best double or triple glazed panels that you can afford.
Why Are Patio Doors So Popular?
They were originally popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as a way for the gentry to show off their lavish grounds and entertain both indoors and outdoors at the same time. In the UK, the practice of installing patio doors became popular with the increase in leisure time in the 1970s and the introduction of patios in the gardens of ordinary houses. The occupants needed a simple way to move from indoors to outdoors. And, patio doors were the solution. Since then, it has become popular to entertain friends and family in the back garden. So, many houses have installed patio doors. Many people find it more convenient to incorporate patio doors from the kitchen or living room. Or, have them installed when building an extension.
Planning Permission & Accreditations
You don’t usually need Planning Permission to install patio doors, as they fall into the category of Permitted Development. But if you live in a listed building, then you must ask for advice from your local Planning Department before starting the installation.
However, the Building Regulations class new patio doors as ‘controlled fittings’. So, they must comply with the directives laid down by the regulations.
When installing new patio doors, you must comply with the following Building Regulations:
Thermal Heat Loss
Patio doors must comply with the specific U-values for patio doors under Approved Document L1B (Conservation of fuel and power in existing buildings).
Patio door glazing must not only meet thermal insulation levels. But, it must also be made from safety glass. Look in Approved Document K (Protection from falling, collision and impact) for more information.
All rooms must have adequate ventilation as specified in Approved Document F (Ventilation). If the room doesn’t have opening windows as well as patio doors, then the doors must be equipped with trickle ventilators.
Every room in a house must have at least one escape window in case of fire. Therefore, patio doors must provide a means of escape in case of a fire. Usually, this will be the case. But, Approved Document B (Fire Safety) specifies how this can be achieved. However, if the doors also have an opening window, the cill height should be less than 1.1m from the floor.
Access to buildings
Houses built after 1999, must have access doors with thresholds level with the ground. This is to ease access to the home for those who have a mobility problem. Approved Document M (Access to and use of buildings: Volume 1) specifies the requirements for access by disabled people.
To allow for easier compliance with the Building Regulations, the installation contractor should be a ‘competent person’. This means that they are registered by the national and local government to self-certify the standard of their work. If they aren’t on the register, then a Building Inspector must certify the work, which will cost extra. The competent person will give you a certificate after finishing the job to prove that the work complies with the appropriate Building Regulations.
In addition to the self-certification scheme, several different accreditation boards will certify both the product and the installation procedures. The most common are FENSA and CERTASS. Both of which, deal specifically with glass in windows and doors.
Patio Doors FAQ
Should a patio door open in or out?
Inward opening French doors have concealed hinges, which are more secure. However, most people prefer to have their patio doors opening outwards to avoid interfering with indoor furniture. So, the answer to this one is whether you value security or freeing up indoor space more. It’s up to you.
Do French doors add value to your home?
Even a set of cheap patio doors can add value if they look elegant and well looked after. They will add value to your home and encourage the prospective buyer to make a purchase. However, remember that patio doors of any type add a panoramic view of your garden. So make sure your garden and patio look good too.
Which is better sliding doors or French doors?
This is purely a matter of preference, or whether the doors are in keeping with the remainder of the house. However, having said that, sliding doors offer a wider view of the garden and beyond because of their larger glass panels. On the other hand, French doors can’t open as wide so tend to offer a more restricted view.
How long do patio doors last?
If you keep them well maintained, you will find that a set of patio doors can last for up to 30 years.
What should I look for when buying a sliding patio door?
The three things you should look out for are:
- The size of the door will affect the cost. So, unless you specifically want a large door, don’t buy one that needs the opening made bigger. Choose one that fits as near to a standard size as possible.
- Remember, no matter where you live and where you place the patio doors in your house, they will be exposed to the weather. So take advice on the best material to buy based on where you live, what is available and what you can afford.
- Look at the different available styles of sliding patio doors. And, don’t be talked into buying a set of French doors if you have a small garden and space is tight.
What are the best patio doors?
The best patio doors are those that give you value for money, durability, low maintenance, and match their surroundings. Probably the cheapest patio doors that satisfy these are made from uPVC.
What is the difference between French doors and patio doors?
The main difference is how they open. French doors hang from their frame by hinges like a regular door or casement window. Whereas, sliding patio doors, sit in a grooved runner. The moving door then slides past the fixed panel.
Get Patio Door Quotes
Any patio door, whether it’s sliding or French doors, will make your garden more accessible when the weather is good in summer. And, will allow you to look out from the warmth of your house when the weather is bad in winter. Either way, they will also add value to your home and increase its curb appeal.
If you want to extend the living space into your garden but aren’t sure what a patio door costs to install, complete the form on this page. You will then receive 3 or 4 quotes from qualified and competent installers, ready to give you the best price in your area.