Carpenters copied French Doors from French Style Doors in the 1600s. French doors are perfect for brightening your room and providing large openings between spaces. French doors are available in many materials, including Steel, Fiberglass, PVC, Aluminum, and Wood.
What makes a French Door Unique?
French doors, either interior or exterior, are made of two Swinging Panels, hinged Left and Right where they meet the Door Jambs, and open in the Middle. Each Panel typically has a large Glass insert that spans the door from Top to Bottom. The Glass generally is Tempered for security and safety considerations. This Large Glass Area and the fact that each panel swings open, leaving a Wide opening in the Middle, make French Doors attractive.
Standard Materials for French Doors
As with any Entry Swing Doors, French doors come in can come many types of materials, including, but not limited to, Wood, Fiberglass, PVC, and Steel. The right choice of materials depends on factors such as Interior vs. Exterior applications, Exposure to the Elements, Desired maintenance levels, and desired Performance Levels.
- Wood Doors provide a classic look but require some maintenance after several years. Modern Wood Doors are built to withstand the elements and can provide years of maintenance-free beauty. They are typically priced as a mid-range product but can get to the high end with customized designs, hardwood wood species, etc.
- Fiberglass Doors provide years of maintenance-free elegance and are resistant to harsh climates and Salt Exposure. They are high-performing products with high Energy Efficiency and low maintenance. Fiberglass Door frames to simulate wood products and b painted.
- Vinyl Doors are synonymous with durability and affordability. They are often the most cost-effective materials for budget-minded Homeowners. Manufacturers usually apply Foils to provide PVC with Colors options. Some foils are made to look like wood and can even be stained. Others paint PVC to match your requirements. Foiled and Painted Products may be more maintenance intensive over time.
- Steel doors are famous for their strength, security, and durability. For a long time, they were the best, if not the only, option for Wood Doors. They come per-fabricated with various panel configurations that take specific (standard size) Clear, or Decorative Glass inserts. They are widely used and very common for Exterior door applications. They are typically the Best Value for the money for all swing doors, french doors included. They can be bought in Standard Sizes from large Home Improvement stores such as Lowes or Home Depot.
Door Glass & Decorative Glass Insert Options
Doors are or should be, always glazed with Safety Temp Glass to prevent injury and provide additional security. While this is the rule in most countries, one can still find doors glazed with normal annealed Glass, but not in North America and most of Europe. Glass for doors is primarily made in standard sizes that fit Fiberglass and Steel Door Panels, which makes these doors more economical in general. PVC and Wood Doors can be further customized and often require custom-made glass inserts, which raises their prices.
Door Glass Inserts come in many forms, including Rectangular, Square, and Ovals Shapes. They are primarily found in Standard sizes to fit the standard forms of the Fiberglass and Steel Door Panels.
PVC, Steel, and Wood French Doors are more likely to have Large rectangular, Full Size, and Insulated Glass inserts that fill most of the door between the Top and Bottom Rails and the Stiles of each Door leaf. PVC, Steel, Wood, and Fiberglass (Doors Leafs made with Profiles made of Fiberglass instead of PVC). French Doors can be manufactured in custom sizes and often require custom-size Glass. PVC French Door manufacturers, however, try to adhere to standard sizes to reduce costs and prices.
How much do French Doors cost compared to Sliding Patio doors?
Size Matters! The most critical factor in the cost of a French or Sliding door is the size. Bigger Doors are the most expensive, and if a door is custom-sized, expect to pay a premium.
Material Matters! Steel and Fiberglass Slab doors are typically cheaper than custom-made PVC, Steel, or Wood doors.
Glazing Matters! The Glass that you choose for the door is one of the most expensive parts of the door. There are 1000s of choices for Glazing. French doors are typically glazed with Clear Tempered Sealed units. Double doors (French Doors made with Fiberglass or Steel Slabs) are either glazed with a Standard-sized Sealed Unit or Decorative Glass.
French Door Prices Vary from $2500 for Standard Sized Fiberglass or Steel Slab doors to several thousand for PVC, Steel, or Wood Profile Doors. Steel doors are becoming more commonplace as people look to maximize the glass area of a door. They can be quite expensive and start at $5000 for an average-sized door.
Sliding Doors have similar price points, but you can find low-cost Standard sized, mass-produced, Sliding doors at Home Improvement retailers.
French Doors have many options that can be added to suit your taste or your specific situation.
As mentioned before, there are thousands of glass choices.
Decorative Glass Choices: There are 100s of Suppliers Worldwide that make and sell 1000s of Decorative Glass Styles ranging from the Classic to the Ultra Modern.
Clear or Custom Glass Pattern/Styles: In Addition to mass-produced Decorative Glass choices, Door suppliers can typically order Custom Glass Sizes and even custom Styles, but at a premium.
Door Hardware also comes in dozens, if not 100s of options, from the type of Hinge to the Handle, the keyed Lock, the Locking mechanism, Peep Holes, Letter Slots, etc.
Hinges and locks have become increasingly sophisticated, with more and more offers from manufacturers around the globe. There are Traditional Hinges, Hidden hinges, and other styles.
There is also a multitude of colors and finishes to choose from.
Similarly, Keyed Locks, Handles, and other accessories are offered by 100s of global manufacturers.
In Addition to obvious choices of Hardware, French Doors also have options such as:
- With Screens or without Screen
- Type of Screen – Sliding Screen or roll-up screen
- Screen Mesh Type and color
- Door Accessories Internal Trims: Jamb Extensions with options for Depth, Type of Wood, Stain, etc.
- Door Accessories External Trims: Brickmolds cover the gap between the door and the actual building outside. There are also choices of Materials, Styles, Colors, & Finishes.
- Sill Types come in various colors and styles, Swing In or Swing Out, Standard Sills vs. Handicap Sills, etc.
What are the common Standard Sizes for French doors?
While French Doors can be made in any size, manufacturers offer several Standard sizes that match Building standards. The Standard sized doors come in 6 Feet, 6 feet 8 inches tall, and can be anywhere from 5 feet wide to 7 feet wide. PVC, Steel, and Wood doors can be much wider and Taller as they are typically custom-made.
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