How Do I Choose the Best Used French Doors?

Dan Cavallari

Before you can choose the best used French doors, you will need to know how to recognize this distinctive style. Be sure to do some research to figure out what the defining characteristics are, as well as what types of materials are best for door construction. You will use much of the same criteria for choosing used French doors as you would for choosing new ones, but with used doors, you will need to do a careful inspection to find out if the doors are reusable and if they have any damage that might compromise the strength and function of the units.

French doors are made up of panes or panels of glass.
French doors are made up of panes or panels of glass.

You will have two basic options when choosing used French doors: pre-hung and slab doors. Pre-hung doors are already connected to a door frame, and that frame is then inserted into an opening in the home. Slab doors are sold individually and must be hung within a pre-existing frame. The installation process for pre-hung used French doors is often easier than the installation process for slab doors because the pre-hung doors should already be aligned in the proper position, but if the used frame is bent, warped, or otherwise damaged, the doors may not hang properly. A careful inspection of the frame should reveal any problems that may prevent proper hanging.

The materials used to make the doors will also have an impact on the usefulness, as well as the cost, of the used French doors. The most common materials for these doors include hardwoods such as oak and mahogany, as well as softwoods such as pine, though more modern models may be made from vinyl. The right material for you can vary; hardwoods are often the best choice because they are attractive, resistant to rot and other water damage, and durable, but they will also be quite expensive. Softwoods will be less expensive and quite beautiful, but they are more susceptible to water damage.

Vinyl doors are a relatively new offering, and they are fairly inexpensive. The vinyl can be molded to mimic the look of wood, though the feel of it will be quite distinct from true wood. Vinyl tends to be exceptionally long-lasting and resistant to water damage; the doors can be cleaned easily as well. Vinyl is a great choice for doors that will be exposed to moisture regularly, but it is important to keep in mind that vinyl can fade or begin to yellow after prolonged exposure to sunlight, and warping is possible.

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