French doors, whether sliding or swinging, are seen as more aesthetically pleasing than simple front doors. Unsurprisingly, you're wondering whether you can use them as front doors. However, are they strong enough to be installed at your entrance? Are they secure enough despite being made of glass? We have researched answers for you.
There is no hard rule about using French doors as a front door, but it's an odd choice. It is technically possible, but you'll be dealing with many drawbacks that you'll have to spend a lot of energy working around. Here are the possible challenges you may face if you make French doors your front door:
- Reduced energy efficiency
- Compromised Security
If you have the resources to work around these issues, French doors may work well for you.
There are a lot of factors to consider if you want French doors installed as front doors. Knowing the correct materials is key to making your French front door more efficient. Keep reading below to learn more about how to make your French doors more secure, and how you can make it work for your home.
Can You Use French Doors As Your Front Door?
French doors have a whimsical and laid-back appeal that you may want to incorporate into your house. They also let in a lot of natural light, which can make your home brighter and airier. Most French doors are bigger than common front doors, so it would make more sense to install them in larger houses.
We have listed the pros and cons so you can weigh whether French doors are right for you.
Aside from aesthetic appeal, French doors also have functional advantages. For instance, you have the option to leave them open to let fresh air inside. However, this is only ideal if the house is in a remote location where the risk of getting your interior peeked into is reduced.
If you live in a bustling city, or if you have a lot of neighbors, you may not be able to completely open your French doors for your own privacy.
French doors also increase the value of the house regardless of where the door is installed. They make a great investment, which is something you'd want to consider if you're looking to sell in the future.
As with all home fixtures, drawbacks are inevitable. You'll need to weigh if these drawbacks are worth the additional cost to work around them, or if you're better off with a common front door.
As mentioned, French doors tend to have reduced energy efficiency due to it being made mostly of glass. Glass is not a good insulator, which may affect your home's indoor climate and utility costs.
Fortunately, there's a way to work around this: double glazing is an effective method to make the glass stronger, durable, and more energy-efficient. This could make the doors more expensive, so weigh if you want this option.
There's also privacy and security you need to consider. French doors is mostly made of glass, so it would be easy for your privacy to be compromised. You can buy thick drapes for the door so you can still feel secure.
For additional security, you can also install dead bolts to prevent intruders from opening them even if you forget to lock the door. Note that deadbolts for exterior doors should be "bump proof". You should also look for an ANSI-grade 1 sticker to ensure your safety.
Are French Doors Secure?
The security of French doors is often questioned because of their open nature. Older French doors also tend to be weak with bad insulation, which creates a bad reputation for all French doors. However, modern French doors are now fitted with advanced qualities that makes them more secure and durable.
Here are some things that have improved with modern French doors:
- Better Glazing
- Stronger locks, often with a multi-point lock system with an espagnolette bolt
- Better sealability
- Some have a hurricane-rated laminate glass
The quality of the French doors themselves is also dependent on they are installed. A poorly-installed door will always compromise your home, so it's important to have a professional install them for you. This will ensure that the doors won't be easily broken.
Are French Doors Fragile or Brittle?
French doors tend to have a fragile look because they're mostly glass alongside the "weak" reputation that carries over from older models. However, the double-glazed glass on modern French doors are actually highly durable and very difficult to break, even if you throw a rock on it.
This is why you should opt for double-glazed glass for your French doors. These glasses won't break even if you accidentally throw a ball in its direction.
If you accidentally knock a heavy stone on the glass, it's likely that you will only break the first pane, not the second one, which can give you peace of mind when it comes to security.
Patio Doors vs. French Doors -- Is There A Difference?
The terms Patio doors and French doors are sometimes used interchangeably. However, there's a significant difference between them.
Patio doors typically slide, and they are made with glass that spans from top to bottom. French doors, on the other hand, typically swing, and they have several small glass panes on individual frame--kind of like a window.
However, this does not mean that a French door can't be a sliding door. Some French doors may swing, but some are made with sliding operation. The term "French doors" is more about the style than operational use.
Read: How Wide Are Double Entry Doors?
Can You Install French Doors By Yourself?
Technically, you can install French doors by yourself, although it is exponentially better to have them installed by a professional. However, if aim to do it yourself to save on costs, here's what you can do.
- Read the user manual carefully.
- Make sure the size of the door will fit in your entrance.
- Apply a waterproof sealant around the opening or entrance. Leave to dry.
- Ease the doors into the opening. Ask someone for help to make the process easier.
- Slide the door onto the bottom part using a rubber mallet.
- Look out for any unevenness using shims.
- Test out the door. Open and close them for a while.
- Nail and screw the frame firmly.
- Make sure everything is flush before sealing the frame.
If you want to know more about how to air seal French doors, check out this video:
Are Common Front Doors Better Than French Doors?
Wood front doors are the most commonly used for a house's entrance. They have a solid and durable structure which both satisfies the home's aesthetic and functional needs. Common front doors made with fiberglass also tend to last a long time and are relatively low maintenance.
Wooden doors are also more affordable and accessible compared to French doors. French doors have additional costs, and are more high-maintenance since you'll need to clean the glass often.
Note that if you choose French doors for your front doors, make sure that the doors swing inward for security purposes.
Read: What Color Door Knobs For Wood Doors?
French doors have a certain look that appeals to many homeowners, so having them at the front entrance can be enticing. However, it's important to look at the quality of the French doors first so your home and privacy won't easily be broken into.
Make sure you maintain your French doors so they can remain durable and strong for a long time.