French doors, also known as double patio doors or French windows, are panel glass doors made of massive pane glass, often fixed at the deck or backyard patio of a house. These doors can be installed both inside and outside but are mostly preferred as exterior doors by homeowners.
They are perfect for homes with open-floor concepts because they allow the homeowner to have a seamless flow from the interior to the exterior of the house, making a connection between both worlds.
These doors can be shut in the late evenings or during cold seasons and have curtains that are drawn to allow more privacy. The mighty doors originated from France, where they have been used since the 17th century.
There are multiple designs available in these French doors, the most popular being the standard in-swing and out-swing doors that open from the center of the door opening. The door types include single in-swinging, double in-swinging, doubles that swing out, single slider, and telescoping slider. They come in materials such as vinyl, fiberglass, clad wood, and more.
Standard French Door Size
French doors come in a variety of standard sizes that fit into the doorways of many houses. However, if you have an older house or your house isn’t built using standard door measurements, then manufacturers can customize the doors to your house’s specifications at an extra price.
The sizes you’ll find with most manufacturers are; 34- 72 inches (61 – 183cm) wide per door with 2-inch increments. The standard door height is the same as that of a standard door at 80 inches (203 cm).
Pairs of doors are generally around 36″ – 72″ (91 – 183cm). If your choice has sidelights with each sidelight width of 10″ (25cm), then the total door width can bump up to 230cm. Keep in mind that most companies sell these doors in pairs, meaning you need to get your sizing and pricing right.
What to Consider Before Getting a French Door
Now that you know the standard sizes, it’s important for you to properly measure the opening available for the door. Measure the underside of the door trim and also the width, including the top, middle, and bottom of the opening. Before you install these doors, ensure that you have enough space to either swing in or swing out these doors.
If space is a problem, then perhaps consider the sliding door or a one-hinged door. Also, what type of glass are you looking for? There’s plain or textured, the latter adding a little more privacy. Find out where the best views of the house are and plan for the French door opening to face these views.
DIY Installation of French Doors
If you are a seasoned DIY master or don’t have the budget to hire a contractor, you may opt to install or fix these doors yourself. Luckily enough, most suppliers offer a well-detailed guide on how to install these french doors, and also, the doors come pre-hung in the package.
If you aren’t sure about your DIY skillset, then it’s best to spend a little more on a pro and spare money that may arise from damages or poor installation.
Pros of Having French Doors
These doors are favorites for many homeowners, and if you are looking to have them at your home, here are some reasons you should.
Extra Natural Light
French doors make the outdoors more inviting even during the cold season because of the natural light that floods the house. These double doors, when fully opened, usher in plenty of light, and because they are glass-paneled, the light still comes in when they are shut.
Airy Living Space
During the dry season, when the temperature has bumped up, the majority of your time is spent outdoors for the fresh air, but with doors like these, the cool breeze sweeps all through the house, making it airier, hence minimizing trips to the patio.
Great when Hosting Guests
Hosting parties is a lot more eventful with a wide majestic door that swings open from the kitchen to the patio, allowing guests to seamlessly jump in and out of the house, and is also more convenient when moving food and dishes in and out. Birthday parties and brunch are an instant hit.
The newer designs of French doors have advanced, having thicker paned glasses that stop the cold air from creeping into the house during winter seasons and stop the cool air from leaving the house during summer.
Boost the Appearance of the House
French doors make a house look grandiose and elegant thanks to their century-old design that dispels class. Whether your house is designed in traditional or modern layouts, these doors will further expound on the beauty of the house.
Divide the Interior Rooms
As mentioned before, French doors can be used on the inside of the house as great dividers for rooms without killing the open-floor allure of the house. They can be used to separate the dining room and kitchen or be the partition between the rest of the house and the master bedroom in studio-like apartments or houses.
Heighten the Value of the House
An open-floor living space with an abundance of natural light is a popular home design concept that home buyers look at when purchasing a house. Therefore, if you are in the business of flipping houses or simply looking to sell your home and relocate, renovate the house with french doors and immediately elevate the look of the house, which will peak the asking price for the home.
However, like other exterior doors, French doors have some cons of their own. Because these doors are primarily made of glass, and their locks are easily picked by thieves, their security isn’t guaranteed.
Although, newer designs of french doors have the multipoint locking system, where you lock the door at the top, middle and bottom, thus providing more security.
Furthermore, these doors take up a lot of entry space, and if you are situated in an area with humid weather, the humidity will damage them over time, specifically those fixed with clad wood and not vinyl or fiberglass.