Also known as French windows, French doors come in a variety of styles. Traditionally, the entire length of the door is covered with one or more windows surrounded by a wood or molded border. The most common style is a pair of doors hinged on opposite sides so that, when open, they create a wide entryway unbroken by a central post. However, you also see single and triple French doors. Originally, French windows swung inward, but you now find models that swing outward as well.
Though the most recognizable component of French doors is the glass comprising the windows, the material that forms the border varies according to the style and décor you prefer.
- Aluminum offers strength and durability as well as insulation properties not seen in most other materials. It weighs and costs less than steel and, though low maintenance, does require special attention to the exterior, which may rust without proper care.
- Clad has a wooden core covered with another material, typically vinyl or aluminum, giving it a pleasing appearance with excellent durability. Choose your core wood carefully to ensure it withstands the elements.
- Fiberglass has grown increasingly popular thanks to its versatility and strength. It stands up against the elements like a champ, offers greater insulation than wood, and can be made to resemble a variety of materials. It costs a bit more than aluminum but is easier to maintain.
- Steel offers durability unmatched by any other material, as well as a greater feeling of security, since it resists break-ins and damage better than most materials.
- Wood is a classic choice and always popular, though prices vary widely. Wood is easy to repair and works with a variety of décors, thanks to differences in wood grain and stains.
Prices vary widely depending on materials, swing direction, manufacturer, and more.
A standard set of double French doors made of steel or aluminum ranges between $300 and $800, depending on the options you choose and the size of the door. A single, interior door starts as low as $50 but goes up to $1,000 or more. Style and size play a large role in determining cost, as does whether you choose professional installation. Prices jump up to around $3,000 as you add features and decorative items.
- The Andersen 400 Series Frenchwood 2-Panel Out-swing includes energy-efficient glass in a solid wood frame, with a price ranging between $2,400 and $2,800. Add around 60 percent to that cost for professional installation, assuming a doorway already existed. More complex installations carry a steeper price.
- An Andersen 400 Series Frenchwood 3-Panel In-Swing clad door starts at around $2,750.
- A clear glass French door with poplar wood frame, 36" by 80" with 1-3/8" thick glass, starts at around $320.
- A patterned glass French door with walnut wood frame, 36" by 80" with a single pane of 1-3/4" thick glass starts at around $850.
- Reliabilt 10-Lite Steel French Patio Doors, 5' to 6' wide, start at around $325; adding built-in blinds brings the cost to around $700. Professional installation typically doubles your cost.
Custom-built French windows cost much more, typically starting at around $4,000 and going up to around $10,000. You typically find these with curved moldings and transoms, with architectural moldings on the door itself increasing its cost.
Expect to pay installation for each door. Prices vary considerably and start at as low as $75, depending on your location and the vendor, though $200 per door is not unheard of.
The amount of labor required, as well as the weight of the door, also affects installation cost. If the door fits in an already-existing doorway, installation is much less than if the doorway needs to be adjusted or created from scratch. You may also require a new transom or other alterations to ensure the door fits the décor.
If your French door sustains damage, repair is typically cheaper than replacement, typically averaging between $300 and $400, depending on the material. Common issues people experience with French windows include sticking, swelling, and sagging. These are fairly simple to repair yourself; often, replacing the hinges does the trick. You can also lightly sand the bottom edge of the door. If you aren't sure what the door needs, or don't trust yourself to repair it, contact your installer.
Before choosing any contractor or vendor, obtain quotes from at least three sources. Don't forget to check the provider's reviews online. It never hurts to read what previous customers thought of service they received.
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