Different Types of Patio Doors and Locks, How do They Work?

March 11th, 2023

Written by Jeff Seymour

As we head into spring, patio doors are used more often because people start to enjoy the warmer weather and their gardens. A patio door leads you onto the garden patio, enhancing the property's look.

However, patio doors are vulnerable entry points for intruders. Therefore, the locking mechanisms must work correctly for your security and to avoid unwanted intruders.

In this blog, I will discuss the various types of doors, the locks they use and the general maintenance that will keep them working as they should.

What are the Different Types of Patio Doors in the United Kingdom?

Within the United Kingdom, there are four main patio door variations. These are, sliding patio doors with a fixed panel on one side, French patio doors, where both doors open, a single fixed leaf patio door and Bi-fold patio doors, where the entire panel folds back as a fan does.

Sliding Patio Doors

The most common patio doors are sliding doors.

Sliding Patio doors became common in households in the 1980s and are increasingly being replaced with modern Bi-fold doors.

When closed, they lock using a simple gearbox and cylinder. Lifting a small lever as part of the handle, the locking mechanism will line up with the keeps fixed to the door frame. Then, you turn the key in the cylinder to lock the system into place. These types of systems combined with a high-security cylinder give an average level of security.

Of course, a professional locksmith can add additional security if required.

For general maintenance, they should have all the moving parts oiled yearly, do not use WD40 but use a spray oil. Keep the runner at the bottom clean and free from debris.

sliding patio doors
Sliding Patio Doors

French Patio Doors

French doors are made with various wooden, metal and uPVC materials. They typically consist of two doors that both open outward.

Often one door locks using a cylinder and key, whilst the leaf door is locked using finger bolts which can only be accessed when the main locking door is open.

The primary locking door often has a shot bolt at the top and bottom that are thrown into keeps within the door frame when the system is operated by lifting the handle. The cylinder is then used with a key to lock the system.

Some uPVC french doors operate slightly differently from the one I've described. Both doors have a handle that, when lifted, throws the mechanism into the locking position, and both doors have a cylinder operated by a key.

All the french patio door locks can be upgraded for higher security.

To keep these doors working as they should, they need to be oiled on all moving parts once per year. So again, do not use WD40. Instead, use a thin oil.

French Patio Doors
French Patio Doors

Single Fixed Leaf Patio Doors

Single Fixed Leaf patio doors mainly come in uPVC material and are operated using a 3 to 4 and sometimes 5-point locking mechanism that uses the handle and locking by using a key. As a result, these doors generally need more maintenance to keep them working as they should.

In addition, the single door is often heavy because it has a sizeable double-glazed glass panel, making it heavy and prone to slightly dropping on the hinges. If they drop too much, the system will stop working and become more and more challenging to lock.

Again, the security on these doors can be upgraded if required. The cylinder that locks the doors can be replaced separately from the mechanism.

For maintenance oil all moving parts sparingly using thin oil. Do not use WD40.

Single Fixed Leaf Patio Doors
Single Fixed Leaf Patio Doors

Bi-Fold Patio Doors

Bi-fold doors are becoming increasingly popular throughout the United Kingdom.

The benefit of Bi-Fold patio doors is that the doors all slide to one end, leaving you with a larger opening than conventional patio doors, letting in more light and giving the feeling that the patio becomes part of the room.

They lock when closed using a handle and a separate cylinder and key. Typically each door leaf runs along a track at the top and the bottom, keeping the doors in place.

The locking door can be opened separately, leaving the other bi-fold doors in place. The locking door often has shot bolts on top and bottom for security, making them very secure to intruders. These can be upgraded by changing the cylinder for a more high-security one. Always use a professional locksmith who can advise on the best cylinder for your Bi-fold doors.

Bi-Fold Patio Doors
Bi-Fold Patio Doors

If you're considering having bi-fold doors, do your research, and acquire more than one quotation, cheaper is not beneficial in the long run with these doors. I'm often called out to bi-fold doors at the cheaper end of the market with problems such as they won't lock or close properly.

Maintenance is the same as the other doors, specifically the rollers that run at the top and bottom within the runner. These need a small amount of oil per year. Again, do not use WD40 but a thin oil.

By reading this blog, you should better understand the different types of patio doors in the United Kingdom and how they operate.

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About the Author

Jeffrey Seymour

Jeffrey Seymour is a renowned locksmith known for his exceptional skills in the field of locksmithing and security. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, he has a passion for helping people secure their homes and businesses, and his knowledge and expertise in the latest security technologies and techniques have made him a sought-after expert in the industry. Jeffrey's attention to detail and commitment to providing high-quality service has earned him a reputation as one of the best locksmiths in the business. He continues to educate himself on the latest advancements in the field and is dedicated to providing his clients with the best possible service and protection.

March 11th, 2023

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