French Door Sizing and Fitting
If you're reading this, then you've most likely already decided that you want to install a set of French doors in your home. Bringing the outdoors inside or adding a little extra flair to your interior design. But before you pull the trigger on that order, you might want to consider something very important.
Your French doors should be as unique as your home, as we all know that no two homes are ever 100% alike. Sizing is particularly important. If your french doors are too small or too large for the intended opening, you're going to have to put in a lot of extra work sorting out the space. We know you don't want to do that, so here we've compiled a short, yet comprehensive guide that will help you ensure that your external French doors fit just right!
French Door Sizes
Both French doors (also known as French windows) and door openings (or apertures) will come in a range of standard sizes that have become the norm over the years. Of course, if your door opening doesn't conform to these standards then you're going to have a little more work on your hands. Below, you'll find all the most common sizes.
The sizes that your French doors come in will be set by the manufacturer, but they are generally between 30 and 72 inches wide per door. And generally, are available in 2 inch increments. Many companies will only sell French doors as pairs. However, these will generally be around 120cm (1200mm), 150cm (1500mm) or 180cm (1800mm) wide for pairs of doors, and even wider for doors with sidelights (up to 300cm or 3000mm).
Often, you'll find companies that sell their French doors in terms of feet and these will generally start at 4ft and go all the way up to 10ft depending on the design. Whatever width you choose, they should be around 2100mm tall (around 82 inches). You should also be able to find out the brickwork opening size required from the manufacturer of your French doors. This will help immeasurably, as this is the size you'll need to consider.
Sizing Up Your Space
Before you do anything else, take out a tape measure and size up your own opening to see if it matches any of the sizes listed above. Measure for height from the sill to the underside of the door trim. And for the width at the top, centre and bottom of the opening, using the shortest measurement if they vary. Also, remember to measure at least twice!
If you have the chance to measure the doors themselves before you buy them, you might as well do just that for extra reassurance. Remember when ordering online (or in any situation for that matter), always use the shortest measurement.
How to Install French Doors
Whilst installing French doors isn't as complex or involved as installing other external or internal doors. But it's a task you'll want to undertake with a little help. Also, it's definitely not for DIY newbies. If you feel like this is you, it would pay to look for an experienced professional or asking the manufacturers themselves for advice. Whether you're installing interior or exterior French doors, you'll need a decent set of tools. Also, don't forget your safety goggles!
Interior – If you're installing internal French doors, first, remove the old frame with your hammer and pry bar. As you're doing so, be careful not to damage the trim. This is not a job you want to rush. You'll need to use a fair amount of force, but if you overdo it you'll need to redo the trim, which will be pricey. Next, make sure your opening is perfectly square using your square and level. If it's not 100% square, but is workable, get your sanding paper out.
If it's wonky, you might want to consider calling in a professional to even it out. Next, using the instructions supplied with the kit, install it in the opening using shims to keep it held securely in place. Before you screw the frame in, pick up the doors and place them gently in the frame, making sure they both fit and open smoothly. You'll want a helper for this part!
Finally, use the screws to install the frame and hang your doors using the kit provided. How the next part goes will depend on the hardware included with your doors. Most reputable manufacturers should supply products with enough literature to help get the job done without much hassle.
Exterior – Installing exterior French doors is a little more complicated. In general, you should be able to get by following the same instructions above. Albeit with these important caveats: Sealing will be much more important with exterior doors. You will need to use caulk or weather stripping to seal any gaps in the frame and the doors themselves at every step.
If you must cut the opening for your doors yourself, consult a professional first as removing a section of an exterior wall of your house is a major job. Depending on the structural integrity of your home, it could even prove disastrous if you don't know exactly what you're doing!
French Door Installation Cost
If the above section felt a little daunting, you're probably considering getting your French doors installed by a professional. What puts many customers off using professionals is of course, the cost. But it's always better to pay a little extra for a professional who knows what they're doing, than to take the risk doing it yourself. When you're not 100% comfortable with your skills or lack thereof as the case may be.
In terms of cost it will vary. But if you ask around reputable companies in your area, you should get a good idea regarding average price. What you'll be paying for is not only the materials, but the time of the workers. Typically, the job should cost on average around £400-£500 depending on the complexity plus whatever the doors may cost. This is however, just an example.
Finally, remember that if you have any queries about costs, your manufacturer should be able to answer any questions you may have. If they don't offer their own installation service, they might be able to point you in the right direction. Always better the devil you know!