what are french doors

What are French Doors and Where to Use Them?

ByHarison Pyykko June 7, 2020

For almost five centuries, the beauty and elegance of French doors have been enjoyed by homeowners. A legacy from the Renaissance period, French doors have withstood the challenges from more modern home architectural styles because of their lasting appeal. The French are responsible for incorporating glass into more areas of the door.

What are French Doors?

Nearly all French doors are paired or double doors that are hinged side by side and usually swing outward. They are also called French windows as they look and function like casement windows. Not all double doors with hardware facing inward can be called French doors, though. A characteristic that distinguishes French doors from other setups with double doors is their transparent glass panes from top to bottom, which are called lites within the door industry. Because of their classic design, French doors lend themselves to period and heritage properties including colonial, Victorian, Prairie, and contemporary.

Uses and Benefits

French doors remain popular as doors opening out to outdoor areas like balconies. However, they are also perfect for just about any area of the house. These hinged double doors can be a back door, front door, an interior entryway to a porch, terrace, deck, or patio or garden doors. In some cases, French doors are added to hallways and other interior rooms to allow light in through their lites. French doors make your indoor and outdoor living spaces interconnected. French door utilized as a back door can lead to your patio; installed as garden doors, they entice you to enjoy the green environment you have within your property. Aside from being extremely functional, they offer the following benefits:
  • Aesthetically appealing. Its aesthetic features are their primary function. They suit the architectural style of your home and enhance its visual appearance.
  • Facilitate natural light. Being primarily glass, they bring in plenty of natural light to any part of your house they are used in, saving you some electricity costs.
  • Allow a great view outside. Their glass component provides you a great view of the external environment including your gardens, patio, lawn, and yard as in French doors installed as garden doors or a back door.
  • Flexible. The pairs of the multipaned doors could be flung open inviting in the sun year-round and to catch a breeze in summer.
  • Enhance protection. They are usually installed with a 5-point locking system consisting of espanoglette bolt used to secure the top and bottom of the doors. You will have a highly secure front door and back door with this feature.
  • Add value to your property. The elegance, visual appeal, and modern look of this type of door can significantly boost the value of your home.

Your Options for French Doors

French doors may come in different styles. Unlike in the past when they were originally crafted with wood or wrought iron, they are more elaborate today because of the addition of many options for them such as:

1. Glass Panels and Lites

The doors may be designed with large glass panels and sidelites to allow in maximum daylight and view of the outdoors. The glass may also be made small, textured or frosted for more privacy. There is also glass with a designed pressure rating that complies with building codes for hurricane-prone zones.

2. Frame Styles and Panels

There are various frame materials you can choose for your French door including wood interiors such as mahogany, alder, and fir and fiberglass, aluminum, and vinyl-clad wood exterior. You can also specify the number of panels you want for your design.

3. Hardware and Accessories

French doors, especially prehung, can come complete with a sill, weatherstripping, insulation, doorjambs, optional grilles, and hardware that can make them as energy efficient as other doors.

4. Decorative Accessories

Their being intrinsically lacking in privacy because of the glass panes will allow you to use shutters, draperies, blinds, or patterned horizontal shades, which are added decorative accessories that enhance interior design.

5. Low vs. Mid vs. High-end Models

Low- to mid-range models are available in stock in home centers while a wide selection of high-end models can be purchased from window and door showrooms and lumberyards.

What You Need to Know Before Installing French Doors

Consider the following when you plan on having a French door:
  1. Plan the location of your French door for a good outdoor view, comfortable access, and optimum sun and wind exposure.
  2. Make sure you have room to open your French door whether they swing out or in. A one-hinged door is an option for space-saving.
  3. Choose sidelites, frosted or textured glass panes for privacy control, also glass designed to withstand hurricanes if needed.
  4. Include screen options for added privacy; you may install a less obtrusive semitransparent material like fiberglass screen cloth or a retractable screen that rolls up into the jamb, out of sight until needed.
Knowing the peculiarities of French doors will let you be able to enjoy all the benefits this beautiful special door has to offer for many years, making your investment-worthy. If you need to learn more about French doors, do not hesitate to contact New Town Windows and Doors, the experts in French doors and other doors.

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