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What are French Doors? A Review of the Types, Costs & Security

french doors

French doors can bring a certain level of charm, elegance and class to your home. They’re most often fitted at the back of a house to create a generous walkway out into the garden, helping to bring the outside in.

They might sound like patio doors but that label has grown over the years to include pretty much any type of door that leads out into the garden. So in this guide, we’re going to look at what sets French doors apart from patio doors as well as what the installation will involve and how much they cost.


 
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What’s the Difference Between French Doors and Patio Doors?

Patio doors used to exclusively refer to sliding doors that led out into the garden or patio area. Nowadays, the term has grown to refer to all types of doors that lead from the back of the house out to the garden and can sometimes include French doors.

Traditionally, French doors are two identical doors side-by-side that open outwards (in most cases) to create a spacious route into the garden. This can be particularly beneficial to smaller homes or properties with small gardens as they help to expand the space.

As patio doors are sliding, you won’t be able to walk through the whole space as the part being slid open will overlap with a fixed side, partially blocking the space.

Types of French Doors

Now that we know how French doors are different from patio doors, we can look at the 3 types of French doors that are available.

External (French patio doors)

External French doors lead outside, most commonly into the garden. The two doors will normally open outwards but there are some that can open inwards. They feature large glass panels which allow natural light in to brighten your home.

Interior

Fitting double French doors between two rooms in the home is a great way of creating more space, allowing more light in and stylishly dividing two rooms. Internal French doors look much like exterior ones, with two doors (mostly made up of glass) that swing open to create a larger living space.

Sliding

Sliding French doors have a classic design that holds a certain charm. They look much like the exterior and interior French doors but rather than swinging open, the two doors slide apart to create a generous amount of room to pass through into the garden. Either side of the sliding doors are fixed panes of glass that the doors overlap when open.

Wondering how that differs from sliding patio doors? Sliding patio doors tend to have 2 sides, one that remains fixed and another that can slide parallel to it, which creates an opening to the outside. These tend to be used more as another doorway to and from the home as you’ll only be able to pass through half of the space that the doors fill.


 
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How Much do French Doors Cost?

The price of French doors will differ depending on their size, the material and whether you want double glazing or not. You can get an idea of how much French doors are likely to cost, based on the material you’d like, with the table below:

Material Estimated Price
uPVC £725 – £1,400
Aluminium £1,050 – £1,125
Wood £900+
Composite £800 – £2,000

These prices are estimates and don’t include the cost of installation, which can vary depending on who carries out the work. We highly recommend getting at least 3 quotes from different installers to increase your chances of finding the best deal.

Best Materials for French Doors

uPVC

In most cases, uPVC is the cheapest material for French doors but is an excellent way of insulating your home. It should only require a small amount of maintenance during what’s likely to be a lengthy lifetime.

While it does have some excellent properties, it’s not always considered the most aesthetically pleasing material. However, uPVC is commonly used for window frames so if the windows around your home are made out of it then the French doors should match well.

Composite

Composite French doors are extremely strong and will help to make your home more secure. It’s made out of a mixture of glass reinforced polymers, uPVC edging and timber cores.

Aluminium

You probably want to install your French doors knowing that they’ll last a good few years and you won’t find a better material than aluminium. It’s strong and durable so it’s able to withstand corrosion and has excellent insulation properties.

Again, despite its practical qualities and the fact that it can be coated in different colours, wooden French doors are still the most popular.

Timber

Timber French doors are the most popular thanks to their visual appearance. You can choose from either softwood which is better suited to indoor installations, while hardwood can last for a longer time. They can even be painted to suit the decor of your home.

Are French Doors Secure?

By their very nature, French doors are meant to be open and welcoming which might make you think that they’re not the most secure but that’s not the case. As long as they’ve been installed correctly then French doors can be as secure as any other door that leads into the home.

To help make your French doors as secure as possible, you can take some extra measures:

  • Install double glazing rather than single
  • Cover the handles with security bars at night or when you’re not home
  • Have laminated glass fitted which adds extra protection

What Does a French Door Fitting Involve?

If the space is already there, then fitting some new French doors can be fairly straightforward. There’s more disruption, as you might expect, when the space for the French doors has to be created in the wall.

How long the installation could take will depends on the type of installation required, get an idea with the table below.

Type of Installation Possible Length of Time
New opening in the wall 4 days
Convert existing window
(remove bricks out from underneath)
3 days
Replace existing £1 – 2 days

Exterior and interior French doors are fitted in almost the same way. The frame of the door being replaced has to be removed then before the doors can be fitted, all of the measurements will have to be made to make sure the space is level. When it’s ready, it’s a case of the doors being installed.

When it comes to exterior doors, extra care has to be taken for security, as we mentioned above, and it’s important to ensure that the openings are sealed to keep out any drafts.

As well all know, the weather in the UK can get a windy at times so make sure the doors are fitted with opening restrictors, which prevent the doors blowing open and causing damage. If they’re not fitted during the installation, they can be easily fitted yourself.

Should You Install French Doors?

French doors add a touch of class from the outside, bring a lot of natural light to the inside and offer a generous amount of space to walk through.

One of the biggest concerns with exterior French doors is that they aren’t the most secure type of door but they’re more secure than ever. They have locks as standard and extra precautions can be taken like fitting double glazing.

If there’s already a space in your home to install French doors then they’re well worth considering. Should a space need to be created in the wall then it’s a bigger job, but if you don’t mind living with the extra disruption you’ll reap the rewards in the end.

Sometimes things have a certain je ne sais quoi about them but the style, charm and elegance of French doors is there for everyone to see.


 
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