French Doors

Beth Asaff
Woman leaving through French doors

French doors are a beautiful addition to your home. They can be described as doors with glass windows or "lights" extending the full length of the frame. The glass panels are often referred to as lights, lites or panes. When most people think of this style of door, they picture a set of two doors that swing open from the middle. There is some debate in the world of architecture and home building as to whether you can have a single French door, but the double-door concept is still the most popular.

About French Doors

French doors are often rather ornate, containing windows, glazed glass, intricate wood carvings and even stained glass art. In the past, these doors were associated with glazed panels or windows. As times have changed, so has the make-up of these doors. Sliding and folding styles are growing in popularity; you often find them in place of patio doors to let more light into the home.

Safety features have also been updated. With modern advancements and three-point locking, one door can be secured into the floor to add extra security when the doors are locked, making it harder for someone to break into your home.

Though these doors are often used to provide a doorway to the outdoors, they can be used in any room of your home. The display of windows inset in the door allow natural light to illuminate any room.

History

French doors date back to the 17th century and the end of the Renaissance period of art and architecture. They first appeared as window casements that extended to the floor. They were also known as French windows and had an important purpose, which was to allow natural light to seep from room to room, providing more natural light in the days long before electricity. In the late 17th century, they were introduced into English and American architecture.

In the beginning, matching doors opened onto small wrought-iron balconies. As time went on and with the advancement of technology, the balconies became larger, allowing for larger doors. French colonial homes found in Louisiana traditionally were only one story, with numerous narrow door and window openings.

Today these doors are often used on the inside of homes as an architectural element more than a means of letting in light.

Types of French Doors

There are a variety of door styles to choose from for your home. The style you pick will depend on where you want to place the doors.

Indoor

French doors can be a great addition to the interior of your home. They are perfect if you have an office near the front hall that you want to add a little glamor to the home or the perfect entrance to your dream master bathroom.

Interior French doors

Outdoor

If you want a set of doors to let in light, this style of door is a beautiful and classy addition. Modern styles of these doors allow you to open your home to the outdoors and are great for showing off your outdoor kitchen.

French doors to outside

Sliding Doors

Sliding doors open onto a patio, are used to open up a room or in areas where space is limited. There are two styles:

  • Sliding, which open into a pocket or slide on a track.
  • Folding, which have an accordion design.

A modern twist on the French door model a double door that slides into a panel to save space. This style adds both light and a great modern look to your outdoor patio. The doors are hinged together like an accordion and are held in place on a single track for easy opening and closing. You can choose to either partially or fully open your wall.

Sliding French doors

Hinged Doors

In-swing doors are hinged so they open into the room, while out-swing doors open to the outside of the room. Choose your swing based on where you plan to put the doors. Out-swing doors open into your yard and create a passageway to the great outdoors.

The most popular style for these doors is a double door that swing into the room. This style is often used inside the home in offices, bedrooms and bathrooms.

Hinged French doors

Installation

If you are handy, you can hang the doors yourself with the help of a friend. Otherwise, find a remodeling contractor to install them for you. Here are some great resources for do-it-yourself installation:

French Doors