French doors are an elegant, timeless, versatile option, well-suited for the exterior and interior of any building. They are the obvious choice for homeowners who want more natural light in their homes or to add a modern touch to their interiors.
French doors became popular in the 17th century in many countries. Electricity wasn't invented back then, so lighting a room was a challenge. One way to let more light into a room was to use glass panel inserts. Such models were also gaining popularity because they allowed homeowners to show off their wealth.
The doors are often double slabs that meet in the middle and swing away from each other. Ideally, they should have glass panels surrounded by a wooden frame. Today, you can choose a model that blends perfectly with every home. Some of them come as one glass panel doors which was impossible in the 17th century. We also have metal and aluminum slabs for a more modern appearance.
Today, we use these options to add versatility to a living space. You can install them in both interior and exterior settings to add brightness to a room and make it appear more spacious. If you're looking for something relatively affordable that can have a big visual impact on your home or property, you should try French doors.
Types of French Doors
Such doors are categorized based on their function and configuration. Depending on what you're looking for, there is a wide range of configurations available to you. Here are some of the most popular types you can choose from.
Sliding French Doors
A sliding French door can be thought of as the original or traditional patio door. Unlike most sliding doors, this configuration isn't designed to save space. This is because it requires two slabs sliding apart which needs a wide opening to function. Sometimes French doors can have a pocket configuration. It means that the slabs slide in and out of the wall, limiting the space requirements and maintaining their luxurious and elegant look.
Sliding French entries are frequently found on bedroom balconies or patio areas. They can be installed as a single slider or a double slider.
Advantages of sliding French doors:
- Unmatched versatility. The unique design of French doors allow them to fit effortlessly in a modern or traditional home setting. In fact, customers can make special customizations on them, so they blend in perfectly. Because French sliding doors can be used as interior and exterior options, there is no limit to their potential. If you want more natural light entering your home or room, such models are one way to go about it.
- Smooth operation. Opening and closing a door has never been easier. Sliding doors rest on rollers within its frame. This leads us to another key advantage of such models which is accessibility. Such doors are recommended for individuals having difficulties with motor skills.
- Energy efficiency. At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that French doors were originally created as a way to let more natural light into a room. Asides from its visual appeal and smooth operation, sliding construction can lower our reliance on artificial lighting.
Natural light gives a warm and calm vibe which you can enjoy if you have a French door. Thanks to the large glass area used in such models, you get to enjoy all the natural light without the excess glare and heat transfer.
Bifold French Doors
Bifold doors are one of the most suitable options you can choose tight spaces. Unlike the traditional French sliding slabs, bifolds don't just slide but fold. Each bifold door has two (bi) vertical panels that fit together when closed.
When opening, the handle is pulled and pushed to the outer frame. During this process, the front panel slides outwards onto the track, and the middle moves in the opposite direction for a clean fold.
While this may sound complicated, it is actually very simple and elegant to do. This design is perfect for wide openings with very little space to work with. They require very little floor or swing space to function smoothly.
Advantages of bifold French doors
Choosing to install bifold configuration is a brilliant addition to a living space. It is an efficient way to open up your home and provide a contemporary environment to playwork and live. No doubt, it becomes the focal point of your kitchen or lounge. Here are some of the benefits of installing such a model.
- Floods your home with natural light. This is a reoccurring benefit of having French doors. Whether opened or closed, the bifold configuration allows maximum natural light into your home, turning it into a space full of life and zest. You also feel free and unrestricted, unlike with blank doors that block the view.
- Requires little space. Bifold doors cause no obstruction to your building's natural flow because they take up little space. Unlike regular sliding models, they do not slide into the wall or behind another window. Instead, they fold on themselves elegantly as they open.
- Flexibility. Bifold slabs can open to any width within its frame and customize where the slabs split. You can choose how they open: inward or outward, left or right.
A bifold door is suitable for traditional and modern homes where homeowners want to use space as efficiently as possible.
Wood French Doors
Wooden French models have stood the test of time and still remain highly admired by homeowners. These doors offer an incredibly stylish appeal and a wide variety of designs determined by their construction and choice of materials.
While you could go for solid wooden doors, there are other alternatives that combine the elegance of natural wood and glass.
Wood slabs can be made to slide or swing open, just like traditional doors. They are typically used as exterior doors for the stylish traditional vibe they give.
Advantages of wooden French doors
Installing a wooden door in your house will be a valuable addition. Whether traditional or modern, these models have a way of connecting buildings to nature and spreading lively energy throughout the room.
- Elegance: A wooden French door is a reference to traditional craftsmanship. Nevertheless, it still possesses a modern touch to its style. No matter where it's placed or what type of building you live in, it goes with the flow.
- Security: Homeowners who choose privacy but still want to have a French door should go for the wooden models. Development in construction technology has made slabs more durable and secure than their predecessors. A wooden door can have a solid or solid wood core which are very long-lasting.
Glass French Doors
This is what comes to mind when you think of French models. They are made by fitting panels of glass between wooden frames to form a slab. Modern technology has made it possible to produce doors with a single panel of uninterrupted tempered glass.
Advantages of glass French doors
French models with large glass inserts are a classic example of what vintage doors look like. Simple but timeless. Their benefits:
- Aesthetics: French doors can work their magic in any home setting. The beauty of them lies in their simplicity and symmetry. Everyone that sees it is mesmerized, and it gives your home that exact feeling.
- Natural Light: Glass doors are transparent, and let in all natural light into your home. They were initially used as a natural remedy to darkness. Installing one will illuminate your home. Not only do you get to save cost on the gas bill, but you get to enjoy more natural light, which can help the mood in your home.
It is also possible to have a custom made mirrored glass finish for your door.
Fiberglass French Doors
Fiberglass slabs are made of compression-molded fiberglass. Compacting these materials tightly gives the door incredible durability without losing its crystal clear visual appeal and flexibility.
One significant advantage of fiberglass is that it can be compression molded into almost any shape. This makes them particularly advantageous when you choose them to install as an entry. They can be made as single or double French doors.
Some of the most popular styles and configurations of fiberglass entry doors are made to have a wood grain-like texture and can be hand-painted to look much like solid core wood slabs.
Advantages of fiberglass French doors
Fiberglass offers mostly durability, but it has a lot more benefits listed below:
- Flexible: You can install fiberglass doors to match the style of your home. Its shape, texture, and color can all be changed, so it looks and feels just like home. Whether mid-century, traditional, or modern home settings, fiberglass doors are a perfect addition.
- Durable: Fiberglass doors are more resilient to the forces of nature and other things that make them look old. For example, if you have pets like dogs or cats that scratch the doors when they want to welcome you home, a wood slab will shred quite quickly, unlike fiberglass doors.
- Easy to maintain: Fiberglass doors can be cleaned with a wet cloth if it collects dirt. Owners also do not have to spend much on maintenance costs.
Metal French Doors
Metal or aluminum French doors have become a common trend in modern days. Not only do they complement the look of a space, but they also provide strength and durability without adding too much weight.
These doors are made of metal or aluminum frames with clear or frosted glass in the middle. Of all designs, aluminum doors have taken precedence among homeowners and interior designers.
Advantages of metal French doors
Here are some of the advantages of a metal French door:
- Strength. Metal has a high strength-to-weight ratio, which makes it extremely difficult to bend or break when forced. Its tensile strength makes it one of the strongest materials used indoors.
- Durability. Aluminum construction can withstand almost anything that's thrown its way. It is resistant to corrosion, wear and tear, and external pressure. Its robust build enables it to stay strong and stay brand new for many years.
- Easy Maintenance. Metal doors offer the unique advantage of being practically maintenance-free. All it needs are periodic wipes, so they don't lose their shine.
French Interior Doors
You can install French anywhere in the home, from closets to the front entry. However, the designs and configurations of interior and exterior models differ. Interior doors are specially designed to create a smooth flowing sensation between rooms. They have been designed to be used inside a house.
Interior doors serve a wide variety of functions ranging from design to privacy. They are used in buildings to:
- Provide sound and smell insulation.
- Separate rooms and spaces.
- Let the light in.
- Provide privacy.
- Aid ventilation.
If you install French models in your house, they will make any living space visually stunning. There is a French door that matches the energy within your home.
Bedroom French Doors
Bedrooms are one of the most special places in our homes. When choosing a French door for your bedroom, there are a number of factors you must consider.
- Material. French doors are made from a wide variety of materials. It could be wood, fiberglass, or even aluminum or steel. In some cases, they are made by combining more than one material or coating one material with another. Each material offers some unique benefits and caters to different styles and tastes.
- Configuration. Not all French doors open or function the same way. Depending on where it will be installed, you must consider how the slabs will open. Is there enough room to swing, or will a sliding configuration be more appropriate? Answering these questions will guide you on what configuration is most appropriate.
- Style or Design. Style and design are highly subjective factors that must be considered. It would be best if you went for something that suits you as an individual. Your bedroom door should make your bedroom more aesthetically appealing.
This guide should help you figure out what French door is most suitable for your bedroom.
French Exterior Doors
Exterior doors are designed to be used to connect your home to the outside world. French models create a sophisticated entrance to your home. They can provide a traditional or modern appearance to your home.
French Front Doors
French front doors can be made of timber, aluminum, and other materials. Thanks to more sophisticated technology, manufacturers can push the limits of their creativity and come up with new designs.
Nowadays, front doors are fortified with high-quality materials, making them extra durable and of the highest quality.
Wood being the traditional material used for French entry doors, is quiet and thermally efficient, which makes it suitable for all kinds of homes. Some have aluminum cores with wooden coverings for additional security and durability.
French Patio Doors
The French patio doors are the perfect exterior model. Many times, we wish we could control how exposed our homes get when opening our front doors. A patio door doesn't need to be fully open. It is common to see homeowners open the slabs a little bit for airflow but not too wide, so the house doesn't get too cold.
This stylish model can be single or double, depending on your preference. With a double sliding patio door, homeowners have better control when opening them.
Installing French Doors
Now that you have chosen a French door for your house, you should learn how to install one yourself. Otherwise, you can get a professional to fix it for you.
Here's a quick rundown of what you'll be needing:
- Pre-hung doors.
- Finishing nails.
- Wood Shims.
It's important you order pre-hung doors because they make installation easier. The pre-assembled construction includes a frame, thresholds, hinges, and more items that facilitate seamless installations. You should find a manufacturer's install guide with the door.
Here is how to install a French door
Step 1: remove the old frame around the opening where you want to install the new door. Carefully use a hammer and pry bars, ensuring you do not damage the trim. Before you can install a new door, you'll need to smooth the rough opening, clearing out old wood, hinges, caulk, and other fixtures.
Step 2: use a waterproof sealant to go round the openings and make them water-resistant. Wait some time so it dries, then continue with the installation.
Step 3: If you are installing a pre-hung construction, unwrap it and slide it into the bottom threshold. Using your mallet, carefully tap it into place.
Step 4: Use the level and check to see if there is any unevenness. Ensure that everything fits appropriately. Fix any issues you detect immediately. You should also check to see if the door opens and closes properly.
Step 5: There should be a manufacturers guide on how to install the new door. All the screws and nails required should come alongside the door. They should also come with clear instructions on where to put them.
Step 6: Do a quick test to see if the door fits properly. This will help you correct any errors or inconsistencies that may have gone unnoticed. Make adjustments if necessary, so the slabs open and close properly.
Step 7: Permanently secure the frame with screws. Once this is done, fixing any errors becomes extremely difficult, so be certain everything works smoothly before you seal permanently. You can line the frame with more sealant for additional protection.
French Door Sizes
The sizes of most French doors are set by their manufacturers. However, the standard measurement for slabs is 30X80, and can be modified depending on the doorway width in your house.
Before buying a door, you should measure the opening available for it and compare it to the door sizes listed by the manufacturer. Also, measure the width at the bottom, center, and top. In some cases, these measurements differ, and in that case, you should use the shortest measurement.
We hope this has been of great help to you.