I am sure you have seen those beautiful French doors at home or in hotels. They are usually made of wood and are very expensive. However, there are many alternatives to these doors that are cheaper and look almost as nice.
What Are French Doors?
French doors are a type of door which has two panels with hinges on them. The panels can be opened up by pushing the handle towards the inside of the room. This allows for more space between the rooms.
History Of French Doors
French doors originated during the Renaissance period. They were originally made of wood, but glass French doors soon replaced them. These doors allowed more light to enter a house’s interior. Eventually, they were drilled into the wall, allowing more light to come inside.
These doors became popular again after World War 2 when people started living in apartments instead of houses. These doors also become popular because it was easier to open than sliding glass windows. It was easy to close too since one just had to push down on the handles.
Types Of French Door
When you are looking at French door options, you have several choices. We will take a look at some of those choices here.
Wood French Doors
Wooden French doors are still used today. They are inexpensive and durable. You do not need any special tools to install them either. If you want wooden French doors, then you should go for solid hardwood such as oak or mahogany.
Glass French Doors
Glass French doors are becoming increasingly popular due to their durability and ease of installation. There are different types of glass available including frosted glass, clear glass, etc. ass French doors are becoming increasingly popular due to their durability and ease of installation.
Vinyl French Doors
There are vinyl French doors that are similar to wooden ones except that they do not require any maintenance. Vinyl French doors are great if your budget does not allow for other materials like wood. You may want to consider this option if you live in an area where termites are common.
Metal French Doors
If you prefer metal over anything else then you should go for metal French doors. Metal French doors are extremely durable and last longer than most others. They are also much lighter than wood so they don’t weigh down the entire structure.
Fiberglass French Doors
This is another material that is used for making French doors. Fiberglass French doors are strong enough to withstand high winds and storms. They are also resistant to water damage. If you need something sturdy and long-lasting, fiberglass French doors would be perfect for you.
Sliding French Doors
A sliding French door is probably what you think about when you hear the word “door”. Sliding French doors slide horizontally across the frame rather than vertically. This makes them ideal for small spaces such as bathrooms.
Bifold French Doors
Traditional French doors work on a hinge, while bi-fold doors work on a track. Bifold doors can be opened either towards or away from the user. When closed, these doors form a pocket-like shape.
French Pocket Doors
Pocket doors are very versatile. They can be installed both above ground level and below ground level. They can even be combined to create larger openings.
Alternatives to French Doors
For some, the French door seems like a good choice. But if you don’t feel this way, there are other options available to you.
Sometimes, a simple traditional style wooden door or basic door is enough. You don’t need to install the French variety. Just put windows on both sides of your current door to let in lots of natural light.
And the cost of installing a normal door is cheaper than installing a French door especially if you are on a tight budget.
Another alternative to French doors is bi-folding doors. Bi-folding doors fold up into themselves when they’re not being used. The advantage of this type of door is that it’s compact and takes less space compared to regular doors.
You might find yourself using more than one kind of door depending on how large your home is. For example, if you have a smaller house, you could use a single folding door instead of two separate doors.
The next alternative to French doors is sliding glass doors. These doors open by pushing against each other. Unlike traditional doors, sliding glass doors usually come equipped with locks. So you won’t worry about anyone breaking through your window.
The only downside to sliding glass doors is that they tend to get dirty easily because they are made out of glass. Also, they are prone to breakage due to their thinness.
Pocket doors are similar to French doors. They slide along a rail in a similar fashion, yet they hide out of sight in pockets built into the walls. This allows for uninterrupted viewing as well as a good way to save on space, especially when there is limited room.
If you want an easy solution to opening your front door without having to lift heavy weights, then pivot doors may just do the trick. Pivoting doors allow users to swing the entire door outwardly so that it opens wide. It doesn’t require any effort at all.
These types of doors are great for people who live alone since they make it easier to enter and exit the house. However, they aren’t suitable for homes where children play often.
- Photo from schlage.com
Finally, Dutch doors are another option worth considering. Like most doors, they also consist of three parts: top, bottom, and middle. Yet unlike standard doors, they feature hinges which connect the top part to the middle part. This means that the door swings inward rather than outwardly.
This design gives the appearance of a half-open door. In addition, the hinged nature of the door prevents wind from blowing inside.
Pros and Cons of French Doors
While they may be attractive, there are many factors to consider before installing French doors in your home. Let’s discuss their pros and cons.
The Pros of using French doors include:
French doors are incredibly durable. They can easily stand up against windy conditions and harsh weather patterns. Many homeowners use them year-round without having to worry about repairs.
A lot of homes today lack privacy. With French doors, however, you get complete control over who enters and leaves your home. You can choose whether you want to let everyone inside or keep only certain individuals out.
French doors add style to your house. Whether it’s modern or traditional, you’ll find yourself drawn to its beauty every time you walk past it.
There are countless designs available for French doors. Some of which look like regular doors while some resemble arches. Whatever design you pick, you know you will enjoy the benefits listed above.
The Cons of using French doors include:
Poor Energy Efficient
Unlike windows, French doors don’t offer much insulation from heat loss during the winter months. If you plan on keeping your home warm throughout the cold season, then you should think twice before choosing these doors. Their poor energy efficiency is also the main reason behind why most homeowners prefer to install better energy efficient doors like bi-fold doors instead.
While most people love the idea of owning French doors, not everybody has the budget for them. Even if you have the funds, you may still face problems in finding quality materials.
Like any type of window, French doors require maintenance. However, unlike windows, you don’t just clean them once in a while. Instead, you must regularly check them for cracks and leaks.
Another downside of using French doors is noise. Since they open inward, they tend to amplify sounds coming from outdoors. This makes it difficult to hear what’s going on indoors when you’re trying to relax.
If you live in an apartment building, chances are that you won’t be able to fit two large French doors into your living room. As such, you might consider choosing smaller ones instead.
Not all colors work well together. For instance, white and black go very well together but red and blue clash horribly. The same goes for green and yellow.
In case something happens to your door, you won’t receive warranty coverage. Therefore, you need to buy insurance before installing them.
Installing French doors requires special tools and skills. Unless you’ve got experience doing so, hiring professionals would be best.
Due to their unique construction, French doors are prone to damage. They also cost more to repair because of this.
Are French Doors Safe?
Yes! While these doors do come with risks, they are safe as long as you follow safety precautions. Here are some tips to help you avoid accidents:
Install the Right Hardware
You shouldn’t rely solely on a single piece of hardware to secure your door. Make sure that there are at least three pieces of hardware used to lock each side of the door. These include bolts, locksets, latches, etc.
Keep Children Away
Children often play around near doors. When they bump into them accidentally, they could cause serious injuries. Keep kids away from doors by placing furniture between them.
Make Sure That the Flooring Is Stable
When opening or closing a door, you want to make sure that nothing falls. Ensure that the ground beneath the door is solid. You can use bricks or other heavy objects to keep things steady.
Drafts occur whenever air flows through gaps in the structure. To reduce the number of drafts, seal off small openings where possible. Use caulk or weather-stripping to close off spaces.
Ensure that the temperature inside matches outside temperatures
Some French doors have glass panes that allow light to enter while keeping out cold winds. It’s important to maintain the correct indoor/outdoor temperature. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself shivering during the winter months.