The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide: Exterior French Doors

If you’re in the market for a patio door replacement, installing new French doors is the right choice for many. French doors let in plenty of natural light and air, are highly customizable, and work with nearly every home style. From traditional to modern designs, installing new French doors for your patio door replacement will give your home an upscale look. Once you have settled on French doors, there are still many choices to make before you can buy.

Large master bedroom with a fireplace and french doors leading to a patio.

Types of French Doors

French doors can be highly customizable. With all the options for style, materials, hardware, and glass, there are very few homes where French doors will not work.

Door Types:

Although most people picture double doors swinging open when they picture French doors, that is not always the case. A double in-swinging door is two doors that open in the middle of the pair, creating one large entrance. These doors can be opened at once or operated separately. Double out-swinging doors operate in the same way, but open to the outdoors, rather than toward the inside. You can also choose a single in-swinging or out-swinging door, where the second door is fixed but suggests the look of a pair. This style works best where you want the look of French doors but don’t have the space for double in-swinging doors. This style can also have the door hinges at the center, rather than the side.


When considering materials for your French doors, you’ll have the opportunity to choose materials for the frame, the glass (which will include the style of paneling) and the hardware. For the frame of the door, vinyl, fiberglass, and wood are common options. Energy efficient glass is now a common option but deciding how to divide the light can be more challenging. True divided lights with small panes are more traditional, but very difficult to clean. Having a grid between the panes of glass doesn’t look as authentic, but is very easy to clean. Many homeowners opt for a grid on one or both sides of the glass to create the illusion of true divided lights without the difficulty in maintenance. Glass styles are offered in many different options to complement the style of your home, from Colonial to Victorian to Contemporary. Finally, the hardware can be the traditional lever that many picture when deciding on French doors, but can also be fitted with pulls or knobs.

Considerations When Choosing French Doors for Patio Door Replacement

Choosing French doors for your patio door replacement does come with some considerations. You need to make sure you have enough clearance for the doors to completely open, whether they are swinging in or out. If your space doesn’t allow for the door to open, there are ways to adjust, but you will need to be very sure you know exactly how much room you have. It is also important to consider the sight lines, since French doors do let in so much more natural light.

Installing New French Doors

When installing new French doors, hiring a professional is always recommended. A professional can make sure that your doors are seated perfectly in the frame. If your French doors are not installed correctly, they will not function as intended and will lose a great deal of their energy efficiency and security. While home centers will often stock several standard models, speaking to a professional will give you the greatest variety in materials, style, and any customizations you may require. The installation process, when completed by a professional, can usually be done fairly quickly with little disruption to you or your home.

Because of all the options available when installing new French doors for your patio door replacement, speaking with an expert is the best way to begin. A contractor with the right experience can look at your space, your needs, and your budget, and find you the perfect French doors for your home. Armorvue Home Exteriors is a trusted authority for exterior home improvement projects. Contact us today for a virtual appointment to talk about what’s on your to-do list this year.


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