Internal French Doors: Your Questions Answered
If you're reading this then you've probably decided to spruce up your homestead by adding a pair of interior French doors to the interior of your home. This could be for many reasons. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but they can be a great way of creating new spaces in your home without losing any natural light, they are relatively affordable and simple to install (if you're into your DIY), and they have a classic charm that looks as elegant inside your home as outside it. We understand, however, that you might have a few questions before you take the plunge. Allow this guide to assuage any trepidations you might have regarding interior French doors.
What Do Interior French Doors Cost?
To put a specific price here would frankly be daft, as there are French doors available to suit most budgets. However, the overall cost of installing interior French doors will probably be less than the cost of installing external French doors, primarily because there should be less structural work required. As for the doors themselves? That will depend not only on their size, but the design, the materials they're built from and, of course, who you buy them from! In general (though please don't quote us on this) you'll probably be looking to pay between £350 and £1000 for the doors themselves, though if you are having them installed by professionals, you'll obviously have to add labour costs to that estimate.
How to Align Interior French Doors
One of the major facets of interior French doors that might turn people off is that they might find them occasionally slipping out of alignment as their houses settle and the weather changes. This is true, but if you know what you're doing, aligning your interior French doors is a simple task that should take less than an hour as long as you have the right tools and a little help. First you need to look for the problems, which will usually reveal themselves when your French doors are closed. If your doors are uneven then the door will either rub against the floor, the top of the door frame or the adjacent door. Or, in the worst case scenario, your doors might not even close at all. This means your door, or both doors, will need levelling. A properly aligned set of French doors will have evenly sized gaps between the doors and the frame.
To adjust your doors, firstly you'll need a spirit level, shims, some screws (thick enough to penetrate a plastered wall) and a screwdriver. Unscrew your doors from their hinges and take them down, placing them somewhere safe. Next, remove the frame by prying up the bottom and unscrewing it from the opening. Once your frame is free, you can start realigning it. First, centre the frame in the opening, holding the spirit level on one of the door frame's vertical sides and adjusting the vertical side until it rests plumb, using level as a guide. Next, slip some shims between the door frame's plumb side and the opening and screw the plumb side of the frame to the opening. Place a screw 8 inches from the top and bottom of the frame's side. Screw the frame to the opening and place a screw around 8 inches from each side of the frame and in the middle. Hold the spirit level against the top of the doors' frame and adjust the top of the door frame until it rests level in the opening, raising or lower the frame as needed by tightening (raising) or loosening (lowering) the screws. Next, hold your spirit level against the other side of the frame and adjust the side of the frame using the spirit level for reference. Finally, slip shims between the door frame's side and the opening, holding the remaining side of the frame in with your screws, then place screws once again around 8 inches from the top and bottom of the frame and in the middle. Once you've reattached the hinges (if they are not affixed to the frame) and hung your doors, close them and check the gaps are equal on all sides of both doors. If one door rests lower than the other, raise the horizontal part of the frame above the door with the screws. Once you're happy with the position, screw the frame into the opening once again and check the doors. Keep doing this until you are happy.
Should my interior French door open in or out?
Now this is a loaded question, as it will depend on not only your own personal preferences but the needs of your home and exactly where your interior French doors have been installed. There is no rule that says certain French doors should swing a certain way because of where they're installed, of course, but you'll want to take into consideration what's on either side of your doors, and which room is more valuable to you regarding space. With exterior French doors, they will often open out for obvious reasons, but interior doors are a little trickier. Remember, for example, that having outward opening doors will expose the hinges, which is not something many people find that aesthetically pleasing. There's also the point that, in terms of safety, there is always the chance that someone will open a door on to someone else, but not many people will be standing next to the doors in a room they spend a lot of time in. For this reason, having French doors opening inwards is probably a good idea in a bedroom or living room. Ultimately, however, it's all down to common sense. If the door has room to swing outward without damaging any walls or hitting furniture, there's no harm at all in using out swinging doors. Really, you need to examine your home and make a note of the pros and cons for both in your specific situation, as every home will be different.
How to soundproof interior French doors
One of the great things about interior French doors, which many people don't even consider, if that glass is more soundproof than wood. Not only that but if you really value your aural privacy, you can even install double glazed glass for extra soundproofing. If this still isn't enough to make you consider adding a set of French doors to your music or game room, you can also add a high-quality seal around your French door frames to reduce sound transmission even further. The seal will have the adding bonus of protecting your doors from the elements and the ravages of age. So everyone wins!
How to secure interior French doors
Whilst your interior French doors probably won't require as hefty security as their exterior brethren, there's a chance you might have your doors protecting a particular room in your home that you really don't want intruders (or your kids) gaining access to. If this is the case, there are plenty of options available regarding bolstering interior French door security. You could install a three point locking mechanism, similar to the kind of system you'd typically find on an exterior door. There are also vibration sensitive alarms, security screens and bars, and even deadbolt locks to consider. The first thing you'll want to do, is to simply make sure your hinges are secured, as one of the most common ways an intruder will gain access to a locked door is through loose hinges. Reinforced glass is another option, as the panes of glass in your French doors will obviously be easier to break than the frame or the doors themselves.
If you have any more questions there are literally thousands of resources available online, but we think we've covered the basics here, so hopefully you're ready to go! Just remember, if you're really concerned about your interior French doors, you might want to ask a friend or a professional to help you install them. There's never any shame in asking for help.