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Last updated: 18 October 2023

Choosing Conservatory Doors: Everything You Need to Know

A conservatory is an excellent addition to any home with available space. Unlike an extension, you usually don’t need to worry about planning permission or building regulations. Having a conservatory is great for creating an extra room that allows homeowners to transition from the home to the garden with ease. When choosing a new conservatory, there are lots of things homeowners need to consider. Conservatory doors and their locking mechanism is one such consideration.

Choosing the right kind of conservatory doors matters. Doors can affect the functionality of your space, as well as the aesthetic. Conservatory doors come in a variety of styles to suit everyone’s tastes and budget.

Conservatory patio doors.

Types of conservatory doors

There are four main types of conservatory door: bi fold doors, French doors, patio doors, and single doors. They can all come in different types of frame materials including uPVC, aluminium, timber and composite. Let’s take a look at each of them individually.

Bi fold conservatory doors

These are great for larger conservatories where there is space to fold the doors back on themselves to make a single panel. It’s even possible to have a whole side of your conservatory open with bi folding doors.

Bi fold doors are both versatile and space-efficient. They’re easy to install and mean that your home and garden transition seamlessly.

French Doors

French doors are an elegant addition to any conservatory. They’re both secure and sturdy.

The great thing about French doors is how versatile they can be. Essentially, they are a type of double door and can open either outwards or inwards. They come in a range of glazing options including toughened safety glass, stained glass, frosted glass, and patterned glass.

Conservatory interior French doors.

Patio Doors

Sliding patio doors are sleek, modern and easy to operate and install. Sliding doors are a great option for smaller spaces and awkward spaces.

Patio doors, often called sliding patio doors, make accessing the outdoors space simple and straight forward.

It’s possible to choose patio doors that have between two and four panels. You can also choose different colours to match different styles, whether it be a lean to, orangery, Edwardian or Victorian conservatory.

But what materials are patio doors made? UPVC sliding patio doors are one of the most popular types when it comes to materials, but they aren’t the only options you have. You can often choose from wood, fiberglass composite doors, vinyl or aluminium patio doors.

Single Doors

Single doors are great if you’re wanting a simple door that will keep the conservatory secure. A single door is an ideal option for smaller spaces where other door types aren’t suitable.

External and Internal Conservatory Doors

It’s not just the external doors that you need to consider when choosing conservatory doors. Internal doors are important since they’re what connect your existing home to your conservatory. The transition between your homely space and the conservatory is important as it creates a link between the inside and the outside.

Just like external doors, there are lots of options when it comes to internal conservatory doors too. Choosing the type of internal door depends on the room proportions and personal taste for both the conservatory and the room the conservatory is attached to.

As well as considering costs, you’ll need to consider their functionality and how they lock. You should also think about how they look compared to the internal doors of the rest of the home.

Glass for conservatory doors

Glass for your conservatory door is important for adding natural light to your space. Conservatory doors come with a huge range of different glazing options to suit your needs and budget. You can choose energy efficient glass like triple glazing to keep the space warm in the winter and cooler in the summer. Double glazed doors are a cheaper option that will still allow the natural light in.

When you’re building a conservatory, energy efficiency is a big consideration so always choose the best and most energy efficient that you can afford. For optimum energy efficiency and lower heating bills, choose the best u-values.

Types of glass for conservatory doors

Energy Efficient glass

Also known as heat reflective glass, this type of conservatory door glazing reduces heat loss as well as sun glare.

This type of glass works by having a metallic coating on one side. While this gives it a very slight grey or brown tint, it means the sunlight can pass through the glass but the heat loss is kept to a minimum.

By itself, energy efficient glass doesn’t improve your home insulation, but if it is double glazed or triple glazed it works really well.

Laminated glass

If safety is a concern (with children at home, for instance), laminated glass will crack if it is struck with a force. It won’t smash or shatter into small pieces.

Since laminated glass is hard to break, it means it is hard to escape if there is a fire, for example. This also means, however, that is is an added layer of security for your home.

Toughened safety glass

This type of door glazing is really effective when double-glazed. Unlike laminated glass, this will shatter into smaller pieces.

Self-cleaning glass

If you don’t like the chore of cleaning a lot of windows and doors, choosing self-cleaning glass for your conservatory doors and windows is a good choice to make. It works thanks to its photocatalytic coating. This uses the ultraviolet rays from the sun to break down dirt. When it rains, the glass’s hydrophilic properties mean the water washes away the loosed dirt.

Other types of glass

While those listed above are the most common types of glass for conservatories and conservatory doors, there are a few other types including frosted glass (where privacy is important), Georgian bars or leaded glass (for period properties).

Glass U-Values

When we talk about glass for conservatories and conservatory doors, we’ll often refer to its U-value. This is a measure of the heat loss rate. Choosing a low U-value will mean that less heat escapes from the glass, which reduces bills and makes your house and conservatory warmer.

U-values are given as a measurement of heat lost (in kW) for one metre squared of glass each hour. For single glazing, the U-value is usually 5.0. Double glazing has a U-value of 3.0 and triple glazing’s U-value is 2.2. Believe it or not, there are ways to lower this figure further. If you choose double glazed glass filled with argon and an e soft coating, the figure is around 1.1. The best available U-value, though, is for xenon-filled triple glazing that has many low – e coatings. For this, expect a figure of 0.4.

Locking mechanisms for your conservatory doors

Ensuring the security of your conservatory doors and windows is essential. There is a wide variety of locking mechanisms available for conservatory doors. Whether you choose uPVC doors, aluminium patio doors, or French patio doors, choosing your locks is an important consideration.

Conservatory door security lock.

Choosing the best conservatory lock depends on lots of different things. For example, your needs will be higher if your internal locks aren’t very good. For people having a new conservatory, you might be happy with the locks that come as standard, but for those who want something more, there are options. When it comes to security, looks shouldn’t be a factor.


When choosing your conservatory look, it’s important to look at durability. If you choose a cheap metal or plastic lock, it won’t be as strong as a stainless steel one, for example.

External vs internal lock

Choosing between and external or internal lock is down to personal preference. Every door should have an internal lock, but this isn’t always a deterrent for intruders. Having an external lock as well is advisable. These offer an extra layer of security to the internal lock.

No padlock or padlock?

Some external lock designs also have an integrated padlock. This has the added benefit of boosting the aesthetics of the lock but it also looks more complicated to break into adding peace of mind for homeowners.

Cost of conservatory doors

Whether you’re choosing doors for a new build or selecting new doors for an existing conservatory, you’ll probably need to consider the costs.

Firstly, if you’re choosing new doors for your existing conservatory, you can expect to pay a similar amount as you would for replacing any other similar door around your house. It will usually be a two-person team of installers that fits the door at a rate of between £150 and £200 per person for one day. Typically, the installation will only take one day.

As well as labour, you’ll also need to budget for the doors themselves.

For a French patio door with two doors in white uPVC, expect to pay around £750 with fitting. A sliding patio door will be around £100 more. With three doors, you’ll pay around £900, and a 4-panel bi fold door will be in the range of £1,250 not including fitting.

Final thoughts on conservatory doors

Choosing a conservatory door needs careful consideration. Do you opt for uPVC patio doors? Patio sliding doors? Energy efficient glass? A multi point locking mechanism? Who knew it could be so complicated! When it comes down to it, you need to weigh up all of your requirements for your door, glass, and lock. Not only that, but you need to consider the features, the material, the number of panes, and the measurements.

For some people, the space inside might mean sliding doors are necessary for easy access as they don’t open inwards. Others might want bi folding doors for more light to enter the space. Each type of conservatory door has its own benefits. Don’t forget to explore various styles. Doors come in different uPVC colours, have different opening space needs and different numbers of panels. Remember to consider the appearance, materials, security and affordability before making your final decision.

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