French Doors: What are They?


French doors are a very popular type of door design, commonly used in the architecture and interior design industry and are typically made from timber, uPVC or aluminium.

What are French Doors?

French doors are a type of patio door consisting of 2 main doors that open from the centre, swinging outwards or inwards. French (or ‘double’ doors) create a visually appealing aesthetic and can feature decorative detailing such as transoms (vertical bars dividing the glass panes) or decorative designs on the actual glass itself.

For those wanting a sense of openness, as well as a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces, they’re the perfect choice! They’re also extremely popular in both residential and commercial settings as they can enhance the overall aesthetics of a room instantly. We’d definitely recommend taking a look at our very popular Reynaers French Doors collection if you’re in need of beautifully engineered and meticulously designed French doors that operate effortlessly. 

Why is it called a French door?

The term “French door” is believed to have originated in 17th-century France and during the French Renaissance and Baroque periods when the doors were heavily popularised, particularly in the grand palaces and estates of the time. With the French being known for their long-standing tradition of fine craftsmanship and artistic expression and the doors embodying all these qualities, the name “French doors” stuck.

It’s worth noting that French doors are not exclusive to France and the name references the door’s historical association with France and the enduring popularity of French architectural design.

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Why should you choose French doors?

With so many door designs to choose from and so many door design trends that have recently come into fashion, here are several reasons why you might want to choose French doors for your home or space:

  • Aesthetic appeal: Renowned for their graceful design, French doors are a visually captivating addition to any room. Whether you have a traditional or modern interior, French doors seamlessly blend in with various architectural styles, quickly becoming a focal point that enhances the overall aesthetics.
  • The abundance of natural light: If you desire a brighter living environment, French doors are the perfect solution. The generous glass panels allow natural light to flood into your space, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. 
  • Seamless indoor-outdoor transition: French doors excel in creating a smooth transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. By opening both doors, you can establish a wide and unobstructed passage that connects your interior living areas to patios, gardens or balconies. This feature is especially advantageous for entertaining guests or simply relishing a picturesque view of the outdoors.
  • Refreshing ventilation: Good airflow and ventilation are crucial for maintaining a comfortable living environment and French doors facilitate excellent ventilation by allowing a gentle breeze to flow into your home, infusing your space with a revitalising ambience. This natural ventilation becomes even more appealing in the warmer months.
  • Versatility in design: French doors effortlessly adapt to different settings and can complement any interior style, one of their remarkable qualities. Whether your home exudes classic charm or contemporary flair, the doors can be customised to match your specific design preferences. With a range of finishes, materials and decorative options available, you can create a truly personalised and enchanting entrance.
  • Value & resell potential: With the functional advantages French doors offer, as well as their aesthetic appeal, they’re a great feature for those wanting to increase the value of their home. Potential buyers are often drawn to the allure of French doors and so by investing in French doors, you not only enhance your living space but also potentially boost the resale value of your property.
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What is the standard size for French doors?

The standard size for French doors can vary depending on the manufacturer and the specific requirements of a project. However, there are some common sizes often available.

For interior French doors, the standard width ranges from 24 inches to 36 inches (61cm to 91cm) per door panel and the height of the doors can typically range from 80 inches to 96 inches (203cm to 244cm).

As exterior French doors are more commonly used for access to outdoor areas, they usually have much larger dimensions. The standard width for exterior French doors typically starts at 60 inches (152cm) for a double door configuration and the door height follows a similar range as interior French doors, typically between 80 inches and 96 inches.

Here at GFD Homes, we proudly manufacture every set of doors bespoke to you and your home. We don’t offer “off the shelf, set sizes”, rather preferring to deliver a made-to-measure solution.

It’s important to understand that these dimensions are just general guidelines and it’s recommended to consult with a professional or refer to the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure you select the appropriate size for your specific needs and space. Additionally, custom sizes can be obtained to accommodate unique requirements or non-standard openings.

If you’re in need of some guidance on sizing or have some questions, feel free to get in touch with our team – we’re here to help! 

Are French doors easy to break into?

French doors, like any other type of door, can be vulnerable to break-ins if they are not properly secured. However, with appropriate security measures in place, French doors can be just as secure as any other type of entry door. Here are some factors to consider regarding the security of French doors:

  • Quality of construction: Always opt for high-quality French doors made from durable materials such as aluminium, composite or uPVC. 
  • Locking mechanisms: Choose robust and secure mechanisms on the door like deadbolts & multi-point locking systems. Ensure the locks are properly installed and meet industry standards.
  • Glass considerations: Consider using laminated glass if you choose a French door that features large glass panels as this glass is more resistant to impact and harder to break.
  • Security enhancements: Supplement the security of the doors with additional measures such as installing security bars or grilles on the inside or opting for security pins to prevent the doors from being forcibly opened. Adding a security system with sensors and cameras can provide further deterrence and alert you to attempted break-ins.
  • Regular maintenance: Performing regular maintenance on your doors will keep them in good condition and help you to spot any loose hinges, damaged frames or weakened areas that may compromise security.

Please remember that no security measure is foolproof and determined intruders may find ways to bypass even the most secure doors. However, by implementing the appropriate security measures and being vigilant about home security overall, you can significantly reduce the risk of break-ins through French doors or any other entry points in your home.

FAQs about French Doors 

What is the difference between Double doors & French doors? 

Double doors and French doors are in fact the same thing. Certain manufacturers refer to the doors differently and some specifiers even refer to the doors as ‘patio doors’ as they traditionally open up onto the patio. Within our industry however, a ‘patio door’ usually refers to a door that slides on a track (explained further below). 

What is the difference between French doors & Patio doors? 

The most noticeable difference between French doors & Patio doors is the way in which the doors open. French doors are traditionally hinged double doors that will open out onto your garden space, whereas patio doors work by sliding along a track to one side. This means that with Patio doors, none of your gardening space is compromised by doors that open outwards. 

What makes a door a French door? 

French doors are aesthetically crafted pairs of doors that open inwards or outwards and have glass panes that allow a large amount of natural light to enter the room.

Are patio doors cheaper than French doors? 

When deciding on which door to choose from, it’s important to consider all factors, not just solely the price. However, if comparing both doors made from the same material, French Doors will usually be cheaper. This is down to a lesser amount of glass meterage used, as opposed to the large square meterage of glass used for patio doors. 

For more information on the cost of French doors, click here.

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Tia Ellahi
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