Your Guide to Choosing the Best French Doors for Your Home

French doors are an ideal way to add beauty and functionality to your home. A French door is a lightweight construction door that features glass panes as a part of its construction. Homeowners value French doors because of their beautiful architectural styles and the way that they bring more light into the home.

Your Guide to Choosing the Best French Doors for Your HomeView in gallery

According to Window + Door magazine, there is a growing trend of connecting the indoors with the outdoors in a more seamless way by using glass patio doors. French doors are one beautiful option to do this.

Common Types of French Doors

  • Double-Hinged French Door – These are two French doors with double or triple hinges that fit together and open in either direction. Double-hinged doors take up more space as you need clearance for the doors when they are open.
  • Single-Hinged French Door – This is one French door that is connected to the door frame with standard hinges. This door can also open in either direction.
  • Pocket French Door – Pocket French doors slide on tracks or rollers into a wall recess. These doors save valuable space as they are hidden when open.
  • Sliding French Doors – Sliding French doors open on a horizontal track, but unlike a pocket door, they do not recess into the wall.

The Best Materials for French Doors

There are both interior French doors and exterior French door options. Manufacturers create these doors using various materials. Some of the factors to consider when buying a French door is the quality of materials, the cost, and the style of the frame.

Wood French Doors

Wood French DoorsView in gallery

Wooden doors have universal appeal and broad application. People use wooden French doors as both interior and exterior doors. Wood doors have a warm texture that you can paint or stain to customize to fit your tastes. Sealers like paint and stain will maintain the durability of the wooden door. Wooden doors are some of the most expensive French door options.

Vinyl French Doors

Vinyl French DoorsView in gallery

Vinyl French doors are a popular option for patio doors because of their low cost and their ability to maintain their integrity in extreme weather. Also, manufacturers like Milgard create vinyl French doors with a high level of energy efficiency.

Fiberglass French Doors

Fiberglass French DoorsView in gallery

Fiberglass is a popular material for exterior French doors as there are customization options that allow homeowners to choose doors that look like wood without the premium price of wooden doors. Unlike wood, fiberglass does not require constant maintenance. Also, fiberglass is suitable for all weathers and will not warp, rust, crack or fade.

Aluminum French Doors

Aluminum French DoorsView in gallery

Aluminum French doors are sturdy and durable. Exterior aluminum does not warp, rust, or corrode when exposed to weather over time. Aluminum doors are lightweight so they can dent. These doors are a more cost-effective option than fiberglass or wood.

Steel French Doors

Steel French DoorsView in gallery

Steel doors are a popular but more expensive option for French doors. They are strong and durable. Companies feature customizable options that work for a variety of design styles. Steel patio doors are some of the most energy efficient doors on the market. Yet, these doors do scratch or rust if the outer protective layer is not maintained.

Cost of French Doors

French doors are expensive, but they help increase your curb appeal. According to the National Association of Realtors, they can make your home more appealing to prospective homebuyers. The average price for French doors ranges from around $1,600 to $10, 000 for purchase and installation depending on the type and material of doors.

French Door Pros and Cons

French doors are valued by homeowners and decorators alike, but they are not the right fit for every home.


Pros

  • Appearance – French doors have beautiful and customizable designs that work for a variety of design styles.
  • Light – Exterior doors with glass let in natural light without the need to open the doors.
  • Space – French doors fill large interior spaces to create distinct rooms and privacy. Exterior french doors create a seamless passage between the indoors and outdoors.

Cons

  • Floor area – If you use hinged doors, these require more floor space when they swing open.
  • CleaningGlass panes are more difficult to keep clean than solid doors.
  • Energy efficiency – The glass panes make French doors less energy efficient than solid doors. You can buy French doors with more insulation and greater energy efficiency.
  • Cost – French doors are more expensive than solid doors.

French Door Designs

We have gathered some ideas of ways that designers have used French doors to create distinction and elegance in the home.

French Patio Doors

French Patio DoorsView in gallery
Richard Drummond Davis Architects

If you have a large entertaining space along the back of your home, consider multiple patio French doors. The French doors in this design from Richard Drummond Davis Architects create a lovely symmetry. The ceiling gets a visual boost from the French door curtains that they have hung high above the door frames.

Colorful French Doors

Colorful French DoorsView in gallery
Craft Realty Interiors Homes

French doors look amazing painted in unusual colors. If you have a neutral-colored home, paint your doors a bright color. Craft Realty Interiors added visual interest to this home with the deep French blue doors.

Wooden French Doors

Wooden French DoorsView in gallery
Gaetano Hardwood Floors, Inc.

Wooden French doors complement a range of styles from traditional to rustic. Group 3 used these stained wooden French doors as a counterbalance to the home’s light exterior surfaces.

French Closet Doors

Gaetano Hardwood Floor Company completed this custom home in a farmhouse glam style. They used rustic glass doors for the closet. This is a good way to bring light into your closet if there are no windows. If you don’t want to put your closet on display, there are other glass options like frosted or pebbled glass that inhibit visibility.

Interior French Doors

Hendricks Churchill used pocket French doors to separate the living room and library. Pocket french doors allow you to utilize your space in different ways. Doors that close when you want to create an intimate space, and doors that disappear when open.

Entry French Doors

Entry French DoorsView in gallery
OLSON LEWIS + Architects

Give your front room a boost of light with double french doors. The traditional home on the Boston Carriage House Estate was remodeled by Olson Lewis + Architects. The front entry has classic French doors with an arched transom. Add even more light with sidelights to complement the French door.

Decorative French Doors

Decorative French DoorsView in gallery
Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.

French doors complement the style of historic homes. Archer & Buchanan Architecture highlights these Arts and Crafts style French doors from this home remodel.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Why do they call them French doors?

Doors with windows were first used in the 16th and 17th century in France. The French admired the qualities of the Italian architecture during the Renaissance including symmetry and utilization of light. They were used in French architecture as an entrance to balconies, but they came to have wider application as doors in all areas of French homes.

Can French doors have screens?

French doors do not have built in screens as this inhibits the light. If you need a screen on your French door, you can add a retractable screen that would work to inhibit bugs when the doors are opened during the summer, but it would recess in the time that you would not need it.

Are French doors easy to break into?

Because they have glass, French doors are easier to break into than solid doors. In contrast, French doors are more secure than sliding patio doors as they have a more substantial frame.

Do French doors open in or out?

French doors can open either in or out. Decide on the way that you use your space in deciding which option to choose. Whichever way the doors open, there needs to be around 30 square feet of clearance.

French Doors Conclusion

French doors are a classic style that provides positive benefits to your home and increase your resale potential. They bring in more natural light, create more visual space, and provide a bridge to your outdoors spaces. The materials that manufacturers use in French doors vary in cost and durability. Take the time to explore the options available to you and decide if these amazing doors will work for you.