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Exterior French Doors: Ultimate Guide

Enhance Your Living Space with Exterior French Doors

Whether you’ve recently revamped your outdoor living space or are building a new home, adding exterior French doors is a fantastic solution for anyone looking to bring the outdoors in. French doors have been a popular feature in American homes since the 19th century when French design elements first became fashionable. They allow natural light to flood a room and make accessing your outdoor space easier. This is why they continue to be a popular choice for homeowners today.

Over time, French doors have significantly evolved, now available in a range of styles  – from simple, uninterrupted glass panes to classic and even intricate diamond-shaped grids, providing endless possibilities. Some models not only swing open but also slide, and advanced engineering has made them more energy-efficient, wind-resistant, and secure. This means that you can focus on the things that really matter: light and air without compromising on safety and comfort.

“People love the feeling of opening a double French door into a grand room,” says JB Sash Window and Door Specialist, Mike Cunning. “French doors are more than just a passageway– they exude a touch of elegance and sophistication to any space. One of the key benefits of French doors is their versatility. They can be built to your exact specifications, allowing you to choose the size, style, and materials that best suit your needs and preferences.”

 

Marvin Ultimate Inswing French Doors G2 with simulated divided lites
Marvin Ultimate Inswing French Doors G2 with simulated divided lites

Before we delve into the advantages, features, and designs of exterior French doors, let’s address some of the most frequently asked questions we receive.

Exterior Door FAQs

  • How much do exterior french doors cost?
    The cost of exterior French doors depends on many factors such as size, materials, and manufacturer. Single doors can range from $750 to $4,500, while double doors can range from $1,500 to $8,500. The price can be impacted by aspects such as light patterns, hardware finishes, screens, and more. It’s important to note that installation costs are not included in these estimates.
  • What’s included in my door purchase?
    Exterior doors usually come pre-hung in a wooden frame or wood clad frame, complete with a sill and weatherstripping, making installation a breeze. Additionally, all manufacturers offer warranties, although the length of coverage may vary.
  • What’s the most popular style french door?
    One of the most popular door styles is the Double French Inswing Door. Its timeless aesthetic appeals to a broad range of homeowners, making it a favorite choice for both traditional and contemporary home designs. These doors come in a variety of configurations, from single to triple and four wide, with different light patterns to complement the desired architectural intent.
  • Are french doors secure?
    Exterior French doors can be as secure as any other exterior door if they are installed correctly with the appropriate hardware. Most doors come with a multi-point locking mechanism that provides additional peace of mind. Advancements in tempered glass and coatings that hold glass together if damaged provide added protection. Hurricane-rated glass can provide even more security. Burglars are often deterred by the attention drawn by breaking glass and therefore focus on door locks. Proper installation is critical to ensure door security.

Exterior Door Materials


 

Marvin Ultimate Swinging Arch Top French Door
Marvin Ultimate Swinging Arch Top French Door

Wood

Cost $$ – $$$$

For those seeking authenticity for historic homes, solid wood French doors are an ideal choice. These doors can be customized to fit any architectural style with various painted and stained finishes available. In addition to its versatility, wood provides excellent insulation. With modern paint coatings and sealants, wood is now a durable option as well, but require regular maintenance to preserving the appearance and durability.

Marvin Ultimate Swinging French Door G2
Marvin Ultimate Swinging French Door G2

Clad Wood

Cost $$-$$$$

Aluminum-clad wood doors offer durability, energy efficiency, and versatility, making them an excellent choice for any home or building. The aluminum frame provides strength and rust resistance, while the wood interior offers a warm, natural appearance. This combination also provides excellent insulation, reducing energy costs. With various wood species, finishes, and hardware options available, extruded aluminum wood doors can be customized to fit any design or style.

 

Marvin Elevate Swinging French Door

Marvin Elevate Swinging French Door

Fiberglass

Cost $$-$$$

Fiberglass is an excellent material for exterior French doors due to its high impact resistance and rigidity compared to vinyl. Fiberglass is also advantageous because it expands and contracts at a similar rate as glass, thus creating a stable frame that prevents air leaks. Additionally, it’s the most energy-efficient frame material and comes in dark colors that don’t fade or chalk easily. Even in harsh climates, high-density fiberglass doors maintain their appearance for years. For optimal results, choose Marvin’s fiberglass French doors made with Ultrex® fiberglass, their premium composite material. Added perk – you can also enjoy warm wood interiors with the Marvin Elevate Collection doors.

Exterior Door Styles


 

Single In-Swinging

The single panel inswing French door is a door that swings inward into a room, consisting of one hinged panel. When the door is opened inward, an overhang helps prevent rain from entering.

Shown: Marvin Elevate Swinging French Door (Fiberglass)

Single In-Swinging

 

Double In-Swinging

In-swing motion for doors that open over steps or are exposed to the elements

Shown: Marvin Ultimate In-Swing Double French Door G2 (Wood) 

Double In-Swinging

 

Double Out-Swinging

Out-swing for limited interior space, opening to an outdoor space without interrupting interior flow

Shown: Marvin Elevate Out-swing Double French Door (fiberglass)

Double Out-Swinging

 

Swinging Arch Top

Same functionality to the previous style but features a classic radius

Shown: Marvin Ultimate Swinging Arch Top French Door (Aluminum- Clad)

Swinging Arch Top

 

Sliding Doors

Traditional panel design that features a space-saving sliding design.

Shown: Marvin Elevate Sliding French Door (fiberglass)

Sliding Doors

 

Stacking Doors

Traditional panel design that features large glass panels that fold like an accordion to transform your home and expand your space and creates a seamless transition to outdoor spaces. Great for pool house applications or spaces that deserve a expansive opening.

Shown: Marvin Ultimate Bi-Fold Door (Aluminum-Clad)

Stacking Doors

 

French Door Hardware Types


Lever

Shown: Rocky Mountain Stepped Entry handle set with Legacy levers

LEVER

 

Pull

Shown: Rocky Mountain Stepped Entry sliding door set with Offset D-grip Pulls

PULL

 

Taking the Next Step


 

Visiting a Window and Door Retailer Showroom

Visiting a Window and Door Retailer Showroom

Now that you’ve done your research, it’s time to visit a window and door retailer showroom, such as JB Sash. This will allow you to get a hands-on experience, compare door quality, and seek advice from our team of knowledgeable professionals.

Visit our state-of-the-art Marvin showroom and experience our vast collection of windows and doors. Book an appointment or walk-in; both are welcomed and encouraged.

Visit our Showroom Services Page to Learn More.

 

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