What is the Difference Between a Bypass Door and a Patio Door?

Bypass DoorsFor most people there are three major ways to explain the difference between a bypass door and a patio door: function, size, and materials. And while there will be exceptions to the explanations given, they mostly occur in utility buildings and not homes. Here are the differences:

Different Purposes

They are used for different purposes: Bypass doors are typically used to cover a closet or close off spaces between rooms instead of an interior door. They normally hang from rollers that move along a track to slide them open or shut from the top. Patio doors can also be on a track if they are considered sliding patio doors, but the track will be above and below the door and the hardware that aids in moving along the track is never visible. Patio doors are also usually designed to separate an interior area in the home from an exterior area, meaning that it is expected that the door will be opened from both sides by people. Bypass doors are more likely to be installed in front of closet space, making them a popular choice as a door that is designed to open from the outside. In some parts of the US and all over the UK, patio doors can also refer to double doors that both open outwards onto the patio. Another name for this type of door is French door. There is no track that is used to aid in opening the door with this type of patio door.

Different Sizes

Bypass doors normally interior doors that will be thinner than patio doors. They may also be hollow core while most patio doors are solid because they lead to the exterior. Since patio doors can represent one of the largest openings in your home, they are also sometimes going to be set into a longer and taller opening than bypass doors will be. Bypass door hardware is also usually smaller and less obtrusive than that of a typical patio door.

Different Materials

At the low end of the market, bypass doors can be made of very inexpensive panels with very little decorative trim attached. Patio doors that are inexpensive often contain a cheaper extrusion of vinyl or wood than the more expensive editions. According to the Chicago Tribune, patio doors also make use of glass as a major feature whereas bypass doors do not normally contain any glass. In fact, bypass doors are mostly preferred in situations where what is on the other side of the door is to remain hidden.

Another difference between a bypass door and a patio door is that bypass doors are oftentimes preferred as an access door to utility buildings like a barn. This is likely, because they are designed to be solid and can keep animals in and intruders out. You would never install a patio door on a barn unless you were doing a home conversion.

Related Resource: Types of Garage Doors

So the key things to remember are that bypass doors are usually used to hide things or for utility purposes while patio doors feature a lot of glass in order to showcase what is beyond. The materials used are also a primary difference between a bypass door and a patio door.