French doors have a rich heritage: they were first used by Louis XIV in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Imagine 70 French doors opening grandly onto the garden!
If you’re considering installing exquisite new French doors in your home, you want to consider every aspect. You’ll want to think not only about how the doors will look, but whether the cost fits in your budget. You’ll also want to consider all the pros and cons of French doors, particularly in comparison to sliding glass doors.
Many people buy French doors and never look back, enjoying the beauty and grace of their new structure. Others find that French doors don’t work best for their home. Let’s examine some of the pros and cons so you can make the right choice.
Reasons to Install French Doors
French doors are certainly gorgeous and can add a stylish look and feel to your home. Besides aesthetics, there are other reasons people choose French doors:
Let there be light. Made of glass, French doors allow light to stream in to whatever room they’re in. Although French doors are primarily used to open to a garden, as Louis XIV’s were, they can be installed anywhere in the house that could use more light.
Up the value. Installing stunning French doors isn’t just about curb appeal and impressing neighbours; it’s also about saving you money in the future. If you plan on selling your home someday, extra features like French doors could increase the sale value.
Moving made easy. One feature of French doors that sliding glass doors do not have is how much space they create when they are fully open. This means you can move furniture in and out of your home with ease.
Watch your step. Have you ever tripped over a sliding glass door’s track? You won’t have this problem with a French door, which has no track and sits lower than a sliding glass door.
So many choices. Other types of glass doors are often plain, but French doors are fancy and varied. There are plenty of different options to match the style of your home, including art glass etched with custom designs.
Reasons to Reconsider French Doors
You can probably guess the main reason people decide against French doors: they’re typically more expensive than other options. However, they don’t need to break the bank; there are plenty of affordable French door possibilities. Here are some other things to consider before choosing a French door:
Wild winds. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, you should know that French doors can be dangerous—after all, they’re made of glass. However, you can install hurricane shudders, which prevent wind and debris from shattering the glass.
Worth its weight. Installing French doors is not exactly a breeze. French doors are typically more than 200 pounds, so you can’t install them without help. While this may be a deterrent to DIY-ers, rest assured that you can hire professionals to install your new French doors.
Make room. Note that French doors swing in or swing out, so you’ll need enough room for this swing space. This means you cannot place furniture in their way. It also means that if your room isn’t big enough for both swing space and living space, you’ll want to reconsider a French door installation.
Private eye. Another French door-deterrent is the fact that these doors aren’t very private. Neighbours can see right through your door and into your home. However, there are simple ways of fixing this problem, such as using curtains at times you’d rather not have prying eyes looking in your home. On the other hand, some people revel in this apparent lack of privacy, as they prefer the clear, open look French doors provide.
Out with the old. If you live in an older home, you might find it difficult to install French doors. Your door opening might not fit a standard-sized French door; in that case, you can install a door jamb so the doors will fit.
Make the Choice
Considering all of these factors should help you decide whether French doors are right for your home. Before you purchase French doors, remember to ask yourself these questions:
Is this within my budget? (Keep in mind that these doors may increase your home’s value.)
Is there enough swing space in the room the doors will be installed?
What is the weather like in my area? Are there frequent hurricanes?
Will the French doors match my home’s overall look and style?
Will I have help installing the doors or should I hire professionals?
After considering these questions, talk to a window and door professional to help you decide if French doors are right for your home. If French doors fit your needs, you’ll benefit from a beautiful doorway that will lighten your home for years to come.