Replacing or upgrading your rear entrance doors can provide a swift, stylish, and hassle-free solution to noticeably enhance your Lancashire home and reconnect with outside spaces. Researching the best way to improve your home? Are you looking to change your exterior back door, or is your existing patio door outdated, draughty, damaged or difficult to open? Stylish, efficient, and smoothly opening and closing with ease, we’ve put together our top buying tips to put you on the right track towards superb patio door replacements.

Sliding patio doors – the best patio doors to buy?…

grey aluminium sliding patio door

Typically, the most popular choices for exterior back doors are French doors, bifold doors and sliding patio doors. But which one is better?

French doors can add a beautiful, classic and almost timeless appearance to the rear of your property. However, when considering which type of door is best for you, do consider your available space.

Bifold doors can give your house a high end, luxurious, contemporary look and offer you a wide, open, easy access to your outside space. Bifold doors come in multiple panel configurations, meaning that they can fit most home apertures. Our beautiful bifolds can be configured with 2 to 7 panels.

Sliding patio doors allow large amounts of natural light to flood your indoor space, as they have a higher glass to frame ratio. Sliding patio doors operate via a smooth opening mechanism, in which they slide to one side in order to open. The benefit of sliding patio doors over French and bifold doors is their space saving nature, no outward opening doors, that can be inadvertently walked in to – very important to consider if you have small children or boisterous pets! Another positive aspect of choosing sliding patio doors, is that because they slide open or shut, you can easily regulate how wide you want them to open, just enough to let the cat or dog out, or fully open to enjoy the warm sun and fresh air! Sliding patio doors, require little maintenance just make sure the rails are kept free from dirt, to ensure easy, fluid, opening and closing.

What to look for when buying sliding patio doors

Renovation goals

There are many reasons behind the need to upgrade your patio doors. Pinpointing your intentions is an important aspect to consider. Once you’ve addressed the best option for your home or business, you will have a clearer grasp as to which is the better choice for your new patio door. Do any of these apply?

  • Create an open plan living space
  • Add value and kerb appeal
  • Bring some much-needed fluidity to your indoor and outdoor spaces
  • A door that saves space without compromising on natural light
  • To enhance security
  • To heighten thermal efficiency
  • To enhance panoramic views

Choose an accredited company

Don’t be blinded by unrealistic prices or promises! There are many companies offering you incredible, almost unbelievable deals on new sliding patio doors; however, it is important to consider quality and longevity.  Choosing an accredited company with years of experience in the industry is an important consideration to make. Reliable and reputable companies will be able to offer you an approved installation service backed with a recognised guarantee.

UPVC or Aluminium?

UPVC is widely used in the construction of sliding patio doors, due to its affordable, durable and energy efficient nature. UPVC also requires minimal maintenance, needing only a quick wipe down to keep clean. However, one drawback of UPVC sliding patio doors, is that the frames are often thicker affecting the overall sightlines.

If you are looking for a more streamlined and slimline effect, allowing you uninterrupted views, then aluminium could well be the perfect solution for your sliding patio door. Aluminium sliding patio doors will have a longer lifespan than UPVC.

Aluminium is a stronger material than UPVC which means your sliding patio door frames will be slimmer than UPVC, giving you more space to enjoy an unimpeded external view, and allowing plenty of natural light to enter your living space.

Black aluminium sliding patio door


Our slender patio sliders offer arrangements of 2 to 6 panes, and our aluminium sliding door products also offer the choice of a dual or triple track option. If you’re going for a real ‘wow-factor’, if your building style allows, you could even open up an entire corner of a room by installing sliding doors that meet at the corner.

Typically, aluminium home improvement products offer larger widths and great heights than UPVC frames. So, if your project requires full length glazed doors, aluminium patio sliders should be your first post of call. Take a look at our various product brochures for the minimum and maximum sizes you can achieve.


When choosing your new sliding patio door, it is important that you pay attention to security features as well. When choosing your new sliding patio door, make sure it is fitted with a multi-point locking system.  Your new sliding patio door should also be fitted with an anti-lift device, which prevents it from being lifted off its tracks.

Special access arrangements

Do you or another family member or a friend have additional access requirements? Sliding patio doors are very easy to operate as they glide seamlessly, requiring minimal effort to open or close. If mobility access is needed, sliding patio doors can be installed with low thresholds, allowing you effortless transitions and easy wheelchair access.

Inline or Lift and Slide patio doors – What’s the difference?

There are three types of opening methods to consider; inline, lift and slide and auto slide. At the cutting-edge of patio door design, automatic sliding patio doors can be open with the press of a button. When you think about a typical sliding patio door, chances are you’ll be thinking of the inline sliding door. Inline patio doors sit directly on their rollers, are unlocked with a key, or from the patio door handle, and pulled and pushed to the required position. Whereas lift and slide patio doors don’t use the weight of the doors to move them. Instead, the handle is turned 180 degrees, lifting the patio door onto the track or rollers. This prevents friction on the door track and allows them to conveniently lock into position, improving ventilation control and preventing accidental movement.

Really a matter of personal choice, aluminium sliding patio door products from Great Harwood can accommodate inline, lift and slide and auto slide opening mechanisms.

Personal touches

Advances in modern technology, mean that you can create bespoke sliding patio doors that match your needs entirely. Sliding patio doors are available in a multitude of colours, from Bold Reds, elegant Creams through to subtle Greens and traditional woodgrain foils, allowing you to colour match your property inside and out!

Black aluminium sliding doors with double glazing Lancashire

Do sliding patio doors require planning permission?

Replacing your existing door, for a new sliding patio door will not normally require planning permission, however, this is dependent on your house, as if it is a listed building or if you live in an area of outstanding natural beauty, planning permission may be required. Contact Great Harwood Windows, and they will be able to offer you advice and guide you through any processes from start to finish.

High-quality sliding patio doors in Lancashire and the North West

Change your existing doors and make the most of your exterior view and of the light and space available.  Contact us today and we will be delighted to discuss your options and arrange to give you a free, no-obligation quote.

Read our related blogs:

5 reasons to upgrade to aluminium bifold doors

Which is better, sliding or French doors?

Get in Touch

Based in the heart of Lancashire

Situated in the very heart of Blackburn, we are readily capable of providing the people of East Lancashire and surrounding areas with a range of UPVC, composite and aluminium products. Whether for personal or trade purposes, realising your aspirations are only one step away with Great Harwood Windows team.