Internal French Door Sizing & Hardware
One of the most important things any prospective interior French doors owners will need to decide before they order and/or install their doors is not only the size of the doors themselves but what hardware the doors will require in order to function properly. In terms of size, it will not only depend on the size of the opening you want to fill but the kind of space in which you're planning to install them. Hardware, meanwhile, is more universal, but there are still plenty of options to consider on both an aesthetic and logistical level. Here, we'll take you through the range of typical sizes found in modern, interior French doors and the various hardware options available.
Internal French Door Sizes
Standard interior French door sizes start at around (and please take into account these are rough estimates) 1 foot 6 inches and are generally offered at 2-inch increases to 3-feet wide. Fitting with standard door openings, stock door heights, meanwhile, are around 6 feet 8 inches; 7 feet; and 8 feet. The specifics, however, will obviously depend on your manufacturer. There are manufacturers who offer custom sizes if these sizes don't suit your needs, or you could always replace the door jamb. The size will also depend on how many doors you require and whether or not you'll also be installing sidelights to flank your doors and transom windows above them.
As with most major DIY jobs, measuring is probably the most important part of the process, yet it is often rushed or even overlooked entirely. When measuring for your French doors, the first thing you're going to want to decide is whether you want your doors swinging inwards or outwards, as this will determine the swing radius you'll need to account for. Take the width of the door and layout a radius around the pivot point on both sides of the jamb to see how much space you'll need to allow and make sure there are no obstructions within this planned swing radius before you make your decision. Next, check the jamb depth of the opening and make a note of it, as this will determine what size of doors you'll want to opt for. Newer homes will generally have pretty standard measurements, but with older homes, you might need to make alterations to either the doors or the opening in order to make them fit securely and safely. The easiest way to do this is to install a new jamb. Note that in many cases, French doors also ship in pre-hung kits, making installation much easier. These pre-hung doors eliminate many of the complicated steps, but still always be sure to follow the guidelines supplied by the manufacturer.
Internal French Door Hardware
Before shopping for French door hardware, you'll want to examine how your doors have already been prepared. First, check the measurement from the borehole to the edge of the door, this is referred to as the “Backset.” Next, measure the depth and width of the borehole (the hole which is going to house the door handle) and the doors themselves, as this is information that will prove vital when you're shopping around. Standard bore holes are around 2 1/8" deep with a 1" cross bore (the smaller hole on the edge of the door. Standard doors, meanwhile, are between 1 3/8" and 1 3/4" thick.
When you're looking at hardware for your interior French doors you have two primary choices to make; latches and handles. Which of each you decide to go with will depend not only on your home's personal security needs, but on your design preferences. The latch is the part of the hardware that keeps your doors closed when they are not in operation, and it will be housed in the cross bore. There are three main types of latch; rounded corner, drive-in and square. Which you choose shouldn't matter on an aesthetic level as you'll rarely be seeing the latch, but it will have at least a small impact on how your doors operate. For example, if you want to install a deadbolt for extra security (which will require the use of a key).
Whilst the latches and handles come as something of a package deal more often than not, the handles are generally a significantly more complicated part of the hardware. The handle is perhaps one of the most simple things you can replace in order to change the overall look of your French doors, as they will be the first thing people notice when they go to open and/or close them. You might also want to make sure the handles in all doors in your home have a certain level of consistency, which is certainly understandable. Thankfully, French door handles (and any door handle for that matter) are generally rather simple to remove, replace and install, with most handle sets being shipped with easy to follow instructions. As long as you've made all the correct measurements, you shouldn't have any serious problems.
Knob or Handle?
Door knobs and door handles are functionally very similar, but they look completely different. Nine times out of ten, French doors will be fitted with handles, as it makes more sense on an aesthetic level, but that's not to say you couldn't replace the handles with knobs if you wanted. A common trick is to install a dummy knob on each side of the inoperable doors, as with many French doors, one side of the door will be fixed and the other will be operable. The fixed door usually has a piece of wood trim along the edge that the operable door can latch against. The fixed door usually doesn't even have a bore hole, so the dummy knobs can be easily installed as they won't be connected to that actual door hardware. The fixed door is usually held closed using a latch on the edge of the door that slides up into the jamb at the top, or downward into the threshold at the bottom. If these slide latches are mounted on the edge of the door, they are called Flush bolts. If they are mounted on the surface, they are called surface bolts. You'll want to measure the length of what you have before ordering.
Care and Maintenance
Remember to clean your French door hardware with mild soap and water, as the chemicals used in cleaners and polishes can be harmful to the finish.
There are obviously more intricacies to consider when installing your interior French doors, and what we've covered here is incredibly basic, but hopefully we've been able to give you some idea regarding the basics of the build.