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The Home Depot

French Door Installation Guide

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Carpentry > French Door Installation Guide
French Door Installation Guide

French doors have made their way into many different areas of the house, but may be most popular as the entry point to a patio or back yard. When open, their unique design allows for lots of air flow between the spaces on either side, and the over-sized entryway they create allows large items to be easily moved through them. They are practical, beautiful, and can add value to your home; if you are considering installing French doors, here are a few important things to consider before you start the project.

  1. While online tutorials can definitely be extremely helpful, they may not address all of the specifics that can pop up during this project.

    1.Hire a Pro or Do It Yourself?

    One of the first things you'll have to decide when planning this project is whether you will tackle this job unaided or hire it out. In decades past, installing French doors without the aid of a seasoned professional was a task few homeowners would consider; today, however, pre-hung units, online tutorials, and easy access to professional-grade tools make the job a little more doable. It is important to recognize, though, that installing any pre-hung door can be a bigger project than it first appears, and while online tutorials can definitely be extremely helpful, they may not address all of the specifics that can pop up during this project.


    If you decide to do the job yourself, following all of the instructions and guidelines set forth by the manufacturer is a must. Cutting corners is never a good idea when dealing with the components of your home, but because doors can present a weak spot in your home security and its ability to keep damaging elements like excessive moisture from entering interior spaces, careful, exacting installation is especially important.

  2. 2.Are French Doors Secure?

    Obviously, a door that allows a thief to easily gain access to the inside of your home isn't much of a door at all. In the past, the French door design was often criticized for being less secure than other door types because the swinging panels locked to each other rather than to a solid, stable wall, immovable wall. Today, three point locking systems allow swinging panels to lock not only to each other, but also to the jamb above the doors and the sill below them, creating a very secure barrier. Though the classic lock design might be perfectly fine for installations separating interior spaces, all French doors that serve as a portal between indoors and out should employ a three point locking system.

  3. 3.Stock or Custom?

    Mass production of home components (and even entire homes) may bring down the cost of making improvements, but many folks are willing to pay more for a custom job, anyway. This is, of course, that assembly line construction simply cannot compare to the beauty, functionality, and quality that a skilled craftsperson brings to the table. If you're looking for a cost-effective way to brighten up your interior spaces or entryway, modern production techniques can provide you with stock French doors that far outshine units made a few decades ago. If you have the money to spare, though, a custom build and installation will perform better, last longer, look incredible, and add more value to your property.

  5. 4.Finding a Professional for Custom Work

    There are plenty of service professional across the country with the skills to perform a stock door installation perfectly, but the ones who are capable of building a beautiful set of custom doors are far more difficult to come by. Finding the right person to build custom doors is more like looking for someone to paint a portrait than it is looking for someone to install a new breaker box. Experience, credentials, and references are always important, but in this scenario, the portfolio is king. Any professional who does custom work will have plenty of examples of what he or she has done in the past that you can peruse. If someone claiming to do custom work (and likely charging premium prices) does not have a portfolio full of examples of what he or she has done in the past as well as a number of satisfied previous clients, it's probably a very smart move to go elsewhere.

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