French patio doors are an ideal way to add value to your home whilst enhancing the style of both the interior and exterior

In this article we’re going to be looking at the basics of French doors to help you decide if they could be a good fit for your house.

What are French patio doors?

French patio doors are external, outward-opening, glazed doors. They operate on a simple hinge system which, unlike other patio doors, don’t require a track mechanism.

French doors originated (perhaps unsurprisingly!) in France during the 16th Century when residents began to follow their Italian neighbours, adding balconies to their architecture.

Initially they were considered very much a status symbol as stately homes favoured them in order to bring in much needed light.

These days, French doors have become commonplace to allow anyone the opportunity to maximise light into the home, on ground level especially. Their large, double-glazed panels are still popular in creating that great sense of space.

One or both panels of glass can be opened, offering an unobstructed view of the outdoors.

Without a fold or slide, French patio doors open outwards so you will need to consider the space the doors will take up outside.

Unlike its counterpart, the sliding glass door, French doors do not draw the eye to middle bars, but open up the space fully.

French patio doors also offer the opportunity to alter the aesthetics of the home with the addition of Heritage or Georgian bars.

The large openings that a French door affords work perfectly for summer days when socialising in the garden and yet flooding the home with much needed light and warmth during darker winter months.

example of French patio doors

How much do French patio doors cost?

French patio doors remain popular as they are generally cheaper than a sliding patio door or bi-fold patio doors.

Depending upon the size of the opening, French patio doors can be purchased for under £500 making them an affordable option for most homeowners.

The cost of French doors will vary according to the finish, with UPVc sitting at the cheaper end of the scale.

Any additional window bars such as Heritage or Georgian will of course add extra cost.

Due to the energy-efficient materials, French patio doors will undoubtedly reduce heating bills whilst increasing value to your home.

The cost of the French doors therefore soon ‘earning their keep’.

Styles of French patio doors

French patio doors can generally be produced in three materials:

French doors can be picked according to the style of the house.

Contemporary homes, for example, will often benefit from the grey or black door whilst the timber option (mahogany, for example) can enhance the characterful home.

The extremely popular white UPVc or aluminium fits most styles of decor, with many using the Georgian bars to add a sense of character to their home.

Timber French doors can be painted or stained giving various options.

Maintenance needs to be considered with a wood door, whereas UPVc and aluminium are powder-coated and therefore only require wiping clean.

Whilst French patio doors increase the amount of natural light in any room, the addition of extra side panels either side of the doors can add further brightness.

With a range of sizes from around 1.2 metres to 1.8 metres, French patio doors will transform any room.

example 2 of French patio doors

Security and efficiency of French patio doors

Using a professional glazing company is the best way to ensure that your new patio doors are fully compliant in terms of building regulations.

The double or triple glazed glass of French patio doors will be toughened, safety glass with low u-values offering energy efficiency.

French patio doors use multi-point locking systems, offering peace of mind to the homeowner.

You can also upgrade security with a patio door alarm.

Are French doors difficult to fit?

When installing French patio doors into an existing solid wall, it is always advisable to seek professional help.

Careful consideration will be needed in case of ‘load bearing’ walls and discussions about options for working around this problem.

In such case, building permission may be required.

When replacing existing exterior French doors, the installation will be less problematic.

Correct measurements of old doors and frames will ensure a seamless switch.

If you choose to replace with timber French doors, minor adjustments can be made to ensure a perfect fit.

What about weatherproofing?

One important consideration with fitting any new door or window in your home is that it can deal with the natural elements.

Professional companies will ensure a basic level of weatherproofing with rubber ‘weather seals’ fitted to both the door and the door frame to reduce any gapping between the two.

If French doors are being fitted as a DIY project, you should ensure that a weather strip is nailed or glued to the frame and door.

For rooms that are particularly cold, additional insulation in the form of heavy curtains or blinds will help.

example 3 of French patio doors

Child and pet-friendly French doors

When it comes to toddlers in the home, a stair gate is a parent’s best friend.

In the past, these security products had no place when it came to French patio doors.

However, manufacturers are finally recognising the need for a wider child-proof gate allowing them to be fitted across a patio door opening.

The addition of dog/cat flaps can be factored into the glazing at the point of construction.

Because double-glazing panels are sealed, a glazier would need to replace a panel with the pet flap built in if required at a later stage.

A good tip here would be to hold on to the original panel in case you move house.

Why should I choose a French patio door?

Whether you have a contemporary or traditional home, the French patio door offers a great solution in a variety of options at affordable prices.

The ‘wide open’ look, the creation of space and maximum natural light makes this one of the most popular choices of external doors.

French patio doors have continued throughout the centuries to remain high in the popularity stakes with homeowners worldwide. They are easily able to overcome problems and encompass all needs of the considered homeowner.

Simply choose the best option for you: UPVc, aluminium or timber, select a style that reflects the personality of the living space and open up your home to the possibilities that French patios door can offer.

Thanks for reading!

Looking for more choices? Look at our complete guide to patio doors inside the Glass Directors Doors area.

Matt James
Matt James

Hi, Matt here! I started out almost 20 years ago as a teenager working in the family business fitting doors, windows and conservatories. I now run this website to share the best tips and advice for anyone looking to get a good deal on double glazing.