Arguably, French doors could be considered as retractable as each door can be pulled back. The advantage of retractable doors is that maximum access is possible between the two sides of the aperture whereas sliding panel doors generally overlap unless built to retract into a recess.
The patio is one location of the house that is very versatile. It can be a place to relax and unwind after a hard days work; it can be a place to view the garden; it can be a place to have a refreshing breakfast or even an afternoon cup of coffee and it can also be an interesting nook of the house that has its special purpose for the family. In some apartments where space is more of a luxury, the added space provided by patios are quite welcome. Of course, since patios are technically outside, you must have a quality patio door that connects the interior of the house to it. This is where patio doors come in.
Patio doors comprise an outer frame plus individual door frames. These can be made from wood (soft- and/or hard-wood), metal or alloys (usually aluminium), pvc (polyvinyl chloride, a thermo-plastic polymer - the u stands for unplasticised) or a composite material, which may comprise any of the foregoing materials plus grp (glass reinforced polymer). There is also a style known as frameless, where the vertical sides of each door have no frames.
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