How Do I Choose the Best Replacement French Doors?

French doors are made up of panes or panels of glass.
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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2014
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To choose the best replacement french doors, homeowners should select energy efficient models that insulate the home. Old doors, which are typically made from wood and single glass panes, can allow air, cold, and heat to enter the home and negatively affect energy costs. New doors can be installed by the homeowner as one whole kit, or can be custom fitted for the home by construction professionals.

Replacement french doors are often necessary when an existing exterior doorway becomes damaged and is in need of replacement. The new doors selected should match the existing entryway exactly if they are being installed by the homeowner. If an entryway is being expanded to allow for the use of french doors, a professional contractor may be required.

The replacement french doors should be functional as well as beautiful. These doors typically allow light to enter through glass panes along the entire length and width of the double doors. This type of construction guarantees that over 80% of the door is made of glass, which may be a poor type of insulation between the interior of a home and exterior elements. The glass of the french door may be comprised of single panes set into a wooden grill work frame, allowing multiple points of entry for outside air and wind to penetrate the home.


Consumers can begin their search by selecting energy efficient replacement french doors. These doors are often certified by an outside energy rating agency to guarantee that they comply with local or national efficiency guidelines. Instead of one single pane of glass, these doors feature a double pane of glass that creates a vacuum between the two panels that becomes a type of insulation. Decorative grill work or sliding blinds may be embedded within this vacuum for privacy and aesthetics.

Vinyl or composite building materials, like fiberglass, are often recommended by many builders for use in replacement french doors over wood. This material is easy to clean and will maintain its color and appearance for a greater length of time. Wood must be sealed and painted regularly to maintain its look and integrity, and generally requires replacement after many years of use. Vinyl and composite materials can withstand weathering elements, and may never need replacing, depending on their use in the home.

It is often necessary, when performing this type of home maintenance, to replace additional materials around the doors. When removing old french doors, the homeowner can benefit by examining the existing frame work, trim, and weather stripping. Many types of replacement french door kits are equipped with new frames which can be mounted directly into the existing entryway as one whole unit. These kits usually require the use of new door insulation to surround the new frame, new trim, and new weather stripping to stop weathering elements from entering the home. Replacing all parts of the door system at the same time can often extend the life of the door, and prevent the need for maintenance for many years.


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