Pros and Cons of French Doors
“Bonjour, chère mademoiselle. Je suis un portefrançais. Voulez-voustoucher ma baguette?”
If you imagine the above scenario when you think of French doors, you’d be wrong. French doors typically don’t speak. At least not without the aid of hallucinogenic substances. Or in cartoons. No, they are not smooth-talking, baguette-wielding ports of entry. French doors refer to a specific type of door whereas there other modern door designs as well. So, what are they? And what’s so cool about them if they aren’t really French?
French doors are typically side-by-side hinged double doors on sturdy frames, opening inward or outward to the full size of the doorway. They are great for certain kinds of scenarios, but not so great for others. Read on to find out more about their pros and cons.
- Classic style: French doors give a room a nice classic appearance due to their thick and sturdy frames.
- Superb ventilation: Because they open to the full size of the doorway, they provide excellent ventilation when opened completely.
- Great security: Compared to sliding doors, they tend to be more secure. That’s because, due to their large frames, it’s much more obvious when they are left open. With sliding doors, though, it’s pretty common for people to forget to close them because they can’t easily see if they are open or not.
- Smaller, cheaper glass panels: French doors have smaller glass panels than sliding doors. That means that, should one break, it would be cheaper to replace.
- Require more space: French doors are hung on hinges, and as such, they require more space around them to open fully. That means that they are not very suitable for small rooms, especially if they open inward.
- Smaller viewable area when closed: Because of the large frames, you have a partially-obstructed view through French doors when they are closed. It’s better than solid doors, of course, but not as good as sliding doors.
- Expensive: French doors are typically made from sturdy materials such as wood, because they need to bear the weight of the glass. Cheaper materials like vinyl will buckle under the weight over time.
- Requires Frequent Maintenance: French doors require lots of maintenance. The wooden frames need to be re-painted or re-sealed regularly to prevent moisture damage. The caulking also tends to break and fall out if the doors are subject to strong wind regularly. Finally, the hinges tend to wear out quickly due to the weight they have to bear.
- Poor Energy Efficiency: French doors are not very energy efficient due to their design. Unlike with sliding doors, French doors have exposed gaps that are difficult to seal properly. That means that they are a poor fit for locations with the extremely cold weather.
So, considering all the considerable drawbacks of French doors, when is it a good idea to use them? Quite simply, they are a good fit for homes with a classic appearance, where sliding doors will look too modern and out of place. They also work best in warmer climates without extremely cold temperatures in winter.
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