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French doors have become the golden standard for new or updated homes. Not only do they give you a “new” feel as soon as you open the door, but French doors let sunlight in when you want and keep cold air out whenever you choose.
There are many factors that go into choosing the right doors for your home. If you are thinking of installing French exterior or interior doors, be sure to see why French doors are perfect additions to your home.
French Door Prices
Nearly every home remodeling project starts with pricing and French doors should be no different. According to our French door cost estimator, the price can range from $350 up to $4,000. Nonetheless, there are those doors that go above and beyond. Upscale French doors can cost all the way up to $10,000, without installation.
Additionally, when most people choose French doors, they usually pick fiberglass doors. Fiberglass gives the door an architectural appeal as well as lets necessary sunlight in when you wish. The average minimum cost of fiberglass French doors is $600 and the average max is $1,700. Note that the higher costs of French doors are usually associated with architectural moldings added to the assembly later on.
Moving inside the house, interior French doors are the least expensive on the market, followed by patio doors. There are many materials to choose from, but overall, wood is the cheapest.
French Door Advantages
Homeowners wouldn’t be adding French doors throughout their home if they didn’t come with their fair share of advantages.
First and foremost, many of the advantages discussed will depend on your material of choice. French doors do provide a necessary layer of insulation and divide, but certain materials, such as fiberglass and steel, provide better insulation than others (like wood). Either way, there are other advantages French doors bring.
One of the major advantages of a French door is the ability to open up a room or expose exterior light. Of course, this would only work with fiberglass French doors or doors with a glass panel. No light is getting through your wood, steel or aluminum French door. Light also has the ability to make rooms feel brighter and less closed-in, especially in living rooms and dining rooms. Open concepts do help, but adding a French door is much cheaper than tearing down a few walls.
As is the case with most home remodeling projects, homeowners have plenty of designs to choose from. Given all the materials, ranging from steel, aluminum and wood to clad and fiberglass, one should never have to sacrifice design for the right French door.
Raise Value of Home
Front door replacement has proven to bring the highest ROI in terms of a home remodeling project. As such, new French doors will almost certainly raise the value of your home. So while the high upfront costs may scare some, just know that should you ever sell your home, you are positively bringing added value to your home.
Fiberglass French Door Advantages
Fiberglass, the most popular French door design, brings its own share of advantages to the table.
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Fiberglass doors are very strong, durable and built to withstand plenty of wear and tear. Fiberglass is the perfect option for exterior French doors. Unlike French wood doors, they do not require routine polishing or protection. They can be painted a variety of colors to meet specific design requirements.
Fiberglass entry doors are very airtight and energy efficient. Fiberglass doors often come insulated, which provides an additional energy-saving advantage over wood doors. They offer up to five times the insulating ability of wooden doors.
Finally, there are plenty of style options in terms of the glass with fiberglass doors.
There are many textures and even colors to choose from such as obscure, tinted, laminated or tempered. Obscure provides a sense of privacy as the glass allows light to shine through, but still protects the view from each side. A tinted option is perfect for patio areas or places that receive direct sunlight throughout the day.
French Door Disadvantages
Besides being costly, there are a few disadvantages of French doors.
Security is on everyone’s mind when installing a fiberglass French door. Being able to see inside the home, when someone is home or not, can make many feel vulnerable. If that is a worry, heavy-duty framing and glass should be considered.
Additionally, if you are going with an upscale French door, installation and labor can both get costly and timely.
French Door Materials
As I have hinted throughout the article, there are plenty of material options to choose from, all offering their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Solid wood doors range in price substantially. Wooden doors are fairly easy to repair and offer a warm aesthetic feel to the room with the real wood grain.
That low cost does not come without its fair share of maintenance. Painting and prepping are both important steps in maintaining a wooden French door. Additionally, the patina of the wood can peel or fade if it's an exterior product that faces the sun. It can also be damaged by moisture.
Steel French doors are heavier and offer a solid fit into doorframes that require a measured level of security. Steel French doors are better equipped to resist break-ins or similar damage to the structure. Many of the qualities of rust prevention will need to be addressed for untreated doors. Paint prep is a factor similar to wooden doors. The steel French door will need to be pre-painted or have adequate priming and curing to prevent the flaking of paint in the future.
Aluminum offers similar benefits to steel with a reduced weight and cost. Many sliding glass patio doors have an aluminum core to increase the long-term strength and durability of sliding open daily. Aluminum also has an insulating capacity with the addition of thermal blocking in the panes. The doors are tough and low maintenance.
Fiberglass French doors have become the go-to French door option. Fiberglass has tactile flexibility to fit more obscure openings. Fiberglass doors may be more expensive than aluminum, but offer the additional benefit of reduced wear from warping, scratches and environmental weathering. Fiberglass can also match the finish of wooden doors or other textures for a realistic faux look.
Clad doors are coated with additional materials over a wood surface. Vinyl and aluminum clad doors are the most commonly found doors in big box stores and supply stores. They offer pleasing aesthetics with the additional wear and tear strength of vinyl and aluminum. The difference is that the core base of the door is made of wood. Special distinction will need to be made with choosing doors based on this type of wood application.
The most unique part about French doors is their glass paneling. There are infinite examples as far as window arrangements, whether they be multiple panes, small windows, large windows, glazed, textured or tinted.
As we touched on earlier, security is a common worry among French door owners. Nevertheless, durable glass panes should put your mind at ease. Special-grade glass will not only protect you from break-ins, but heavy winds or hurricanes as well. These grades are also very insulated, perfect for front doors and patio doors alike.
The installation of a French door can add both architectural appeal and functionality to almost any room in a home. The versatility and classic appeal of a French door provides variety and versatility. While the upfront costs can get high, their appeal and ROI are unmatched.
For more info on doors and windows, please see the rest of our doors and windows cost estimators.