Top Considerations When Installing French Doors

Published on: April 15, 2023

French doors are stunning and elegant. Plus, they bring in more natural light to your home or business and can make a good first impression on guests when they arrive. 

You can use French doors as exterior doors or interior ones, such as in the case of providing privacy for a home office or dining room. But the great part of using them inside your home is that they won’t take away from your décor.

Learn what you need to know about French doors before installing them anywhere in your home – as interior or exterior doors.

What Are French Doors?

French doors are a set of two doors that both swing away from each other. They grew in popularity starting during the 17th century before electricity. That’s because of the natural light they bring into a building. 

Generally, these doors have large glass panel inserts. When the doors first hit the market, those glass panels allowed wealthy homeowners to show off their good fortune. Now contractors install these doors for more practical reasons, such as adding brightness and making a room feel more spacious.

Often, the doors are made using a wooden frame that surrounds the glass panels. They come in many styles, shades, and types of wood to help you match them to the style of your home or building.

If you’re looking for a more modern appearance, opt for metal or aluminum slabs. These doors can help increase the visual appeal of your home instantly.

French Door Benefits

If you’re considering replacing standard doors with French doors, learn about the benefits that this type of door offers before deciding whether it is right for you.

  1. Offers a clear visual of the outdoors or another room thanks to the large panes of glass in the center of the door
  2. Makes for a nice gateway to outdoor living space that you can open fully to extend and combine your indoor and outdoor living areas
  3. Brings more sunshine into a room, and when well installed, doesn’t allow that air to escape during winter months
  4. Can make a room feel more spacious because it doesn’t block views to another room or the outside like a wall or solid door does
  5. Offers natural light in rooms without windows
  6. Creates a smooth flow between rooms while also offering the option to close off a room from another, such as to close out noises coming from another room

French Door Disadvantages

While there are many great benefits of installing French doors in your home, this style of door also has its disadvantages. 

  1. These doors require swing space, which limits your interior decorating options
  2. Because the doors feature large windows, you won’t have the same level of privacy as you would with standard doors
  3. If you’re working on a budget, these doors will cost more than solid doors, both in the purchase price and installation
  4. You’ll need to allow more time to clean the glass surfaces within your home

French Door Types

As you consider the best doors for your home, know that these doors come in a variety of types and styles.

  • Wooden French doors
  • Steel-framed French doors
  • Narrow French doors
  • Interior French doors
  • Exterior French doors

Select the best type and style to fit your existing decorating and home finishings to get the greatest enjoyment out of your new doors.

French Doors

Considerations for Installing French Doors

If you’re considering adding French doors – no matter whether interior, exterior or in a commercial space – review these top considerations before installing French doors.

1. Door Location

Before deciding that French doors are the ideal solution for you, review the door’s location to consider swing space. French doors open inward or outward, which means you need to leave room in front of the doors for that motion.

Placement for these doors is essential and you’ll want to consider how French doors might disrupt your daily life or how you’re currently using the space. When choosing these doors, ensure you have ample floor space without obstruction to operate the doors with ease.

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2. Design

French doors offer many design options. You can customize various elements of the doors, including the glass, size, material, and color. 

When considering your door’s design, you’ll also want to think about the quality of the glass in the window. With so much surface area, these windows can allow heat transfer in and out of your home.

Low-E glazing and double or triple-pane windows in your doors can help improve the energy efficiency of this area of your home.

3. New

While old French doors that were once in a home that was 100 years old or older can offer a quaint visual to your home, it’s better to purchase new doors in the style you like. Many reclaimed French doors on the market upcycle old materials. And while that is a nice thought to have doors from classic homes, newer doors offer greater security, durability, and energy efficiency.  

4. Hardware

As you consider the design or style of your French doors, also consider the hardware. If you’re installing French doors as exterior doors, ensure they have solid locks to add security to your home. Ideally, a three-point system will create the best security for your home or commercial building.

Review the existing hardware within your home, such as kitchen cabinet pulls and other doorknobs. You want your hinges and knobs for your French doors to fit in with the existing hardware. That way, although you’ll have a new fixture in your home, it won’t stand out awkwardly because it doesn’t match what’s around it.

5. Installation

The contractor you select to install your doors will impact how energy efficient they are, how well they swing up, and the longevity of the doors. Some homeowners are handy enough to install interior doors themselves. Just know that this is considered an advanced home improvement project and requires some know-how.

Review the depth of the door jamb before purchasing doors if you plan to install them on your own. There are many expert door installers throughout Seattle and the surrounding area, including 2FL Windows, Siding, and Roofing. 2FL can install a door as part of a window installation, siding replacement, or roofing project to enhance your home’s exterior all at once.

Request a free 2FL estimate now to get your project started.

French Door FAQs

Learn more about French doors and decide whether they are right for your home by reviewing these common questions.

What is the Difference Between French Doors and Double Doors?

French doors feature a large glazed panel of glass. In contrast, double doors are often larger and have limited glass features.

Why Do They Call it a French Door?

French doors first became popular in France and then expanded to other regions. That’s why they became known as French doors.

Are French Doors Cheaper than Sliding Doors?

The cost of French doors and sliding doors can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer and style that you select. It’s best to talk to your door installation contractor to make an informed decision about what’s best for your home and budget.

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