What Are French Doors? Benefits And Drawbacks

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French doors have gained popularity as a stylish door option commonly found on the rear of properties leading out to the garden. They are renowned for their elegant and symmetrical design, featuring door panels that open outward from the centre.

When paired, French doors open at opposite outside edges, creating a wider doorway that is twice the width of a single door. This design originated in the 17th century when crafting large and sturdy French doors was a difficult task. At that time, architects highly valued symmetry in architecture, which made this arrangement exceptionally desirable.

As time went on, French doors became more intricate with advancements in glass-making and construction techniques. Today, a variety of French door styles cater to different purposes. These doors can be categorized into two main types: internal and external French doors.

French doors boast a rich history, evolving alongside architectural styles and needs. Whether used indoors or outdoors, French doors bring an elegant touch and enhanced functionality to any space.

See also: Front Door Restoration Service

Why Is It Called French Door?

The origin of French doors is in France, which adds to their coolness. Initially, large windows opened up onto balconies, and it was possible to step out through them.

During the Renaissance era, architects in France started integrating glass into other areas of their architectural designs, such as doors. The addition of more natural light from the glass doors made homes stay late for longer durations.

Gradually, French doors gained immense popularity, and people started seeing them frequently in other parts of the world by the end of the 17th century.

Internal French Doors

Interior French doors serve two main purposes: allowing light to pass through and creating a sense of space between two rooms. These doors come in various styles, such as clear or frosted, shaded or curtained, and can be made from traditional wood and glass or new high-tech materials. They are a great way to connect two rooms or spaces, breaking down the barriers between them.

Exterior French Doors

When it comes to exterior French doors, sturdiness, security, and thermal efficiency are just as important as an open feel. Homeowners want to enjoy the benefits of natural light and a spacious entry while also feeling confident that the doors will keep unwanted guests out. Therefore, exterior French doors are designed to be stronger and more secure than interior ones.

See also: Replacing Windows In Conservation Area

What Are The Benefits Of French Doors?

Suppose you want to install French doors in your home; it’s crucial to consider their benefits. Thus, consider these key points to keep in mind:

  • Natural light. French doors flood your interior space with natural light making it feel brighter and more spacious compared to rooms with limited natural light.
  • Security. French doors feature double-glazed French windows and aluminium-reinforced frames, making them extremely secure and offering added protection against intruders.
  • Energy efficiency. Installing French doors helps you save on energy bills by keeping the heat inside your property, thanks to their high-quality construction that prevents any heat loss through gaps in the frame.
  • Durability. French doors are built strong and durable. This ensures they can withstand wear and tear, hence making them a long-lasting investment. Moreover, their timeless design requires minimal maintenance, providing you with peace of mind.

What Are The Drawbacks Of French Doors?

French doors offer a range of attractive benefits; however, there are certain situations where they may not be the most suitable choice. Let’s take a look at some of the potential drawbacks of French doors.

  • Space requirement. French doors require a significant amount of space to fully open and manoeuvre. Suppose your balcony or patio is narrow or small; this door might be inappropriate for you. This is because they swing outwards, which could restrict the opening angle of the doors and make it difficult to move in and out of your home easily. In order to avoid any issues, make sure to measure the available space carefully before deciding on French doors for your specific setting.
  • Lack of Privacy. Due to the large amount of glass in French doors, privacy can be compromised. Unlike sliding patio doors, you cannot easily slide them open partially while maintaining privacy. The use of curtains or blinds can provide privacy, but this may limit the amount of light coming through.
  • Energy efficiency. The extensive glazing in French door designs makes it difficult for them to retain heat during winter. While double glazing can help improve energy efficiency, the large glass panels on the doors can increase costs.
  • Sizing challenges. Finding the right size of French doors for your space can be challenging. Pre-made French doors may not have the exact dimensions you need, and custom-sized doors can be more expensive.
Despite these disadvantages, it's important to weigh them against the appealing benefits of French doors when making your decision.

See also: What Is It Sash Window?

French Doors, Patio Doors And Sliding Doors – What Is The Difference?

Sometimes people mistakenly refer to French doors as patio doors because they frequently provide access to patios or other exterior areas. However, it’s essential to note that any door that opens onto a patio is considered a patio door, no matter the style or construction.

A sliding door operates by sliding along a track, either alongside the wall or within the wall that surrounds it. However, the distinction between sliding doors and French doors becomes less significant when you have a pair of sliding doors that are predominantly composed of glass panels.

What Are French Doors Made Of?

French doors can be made from a variety of materials. The most commonly used materials today are timber, aluminium, and uPVC. Each material has its own set of benefits and appeals to different styles.

For instance, uPVC French doors are secure, thermally efficient, weather-resistant, and durable. Double-glazed uPVC French doors are especially good at keeping heat in and noise out.

Aluminium-framed French doors are ideal for exterior use due to their strength and rust-proof properties. They also require minimal maintenance and have a slim aesthetic.

Timber French doors are a more traditional option but come equipped with modern technology. These doors are made with hardwood and steel reinforcement, making them very secure with a multi-point locking mechanism. They are commonly used indoors, with the living room and dining room being common spots.

How Secure Are Modern French Doors?

Exterior French doors manufactured by reputable home improvement companies are designed with safety and security as paramount considerations, meeting or exceeding the standards set out in PAS 24: 2012, BS 3621:2007 +A2:2011.

You can fit security features into your French door by using the lock system, but there are also devices that you can add to the locked door to improve security.

A door chain or limiter bar permits you to see and communicate with callers, but it doesn’t allow them inside. This type of device is simple enough for anyone to install on a timber door—but if the frame is made from another material, like UPVC or aluminium, then contact a professional.

French doors can be improved with the addition of either a mortice sash lock or mortice security bolts, as explained here. For better security, it is recommended to opt for laminated glass lights instead of normal or toughened glass, especially for exterior French doors.

However, it's important to note that UPVC or aluminium French doors may not be compatible with these extra locks, so caution is required when considering additional security measures.

What Is The Difference Between A Double Door And A French Door?

French doors and double doors may seem alike at first glance and share many characteristics. However, there are significant distinctions between them one might not immediately discern.

FeatureFrench DoorsDouble Doors
MaterialGlass and uPVC or aluminium framesSolid wood
Durability and securityMore durable and secure than double doors made from woodLess durable and secure than French doors
Opening directionTypically open outwards into an exterior spaceOpen inwards into a room
Installation optionsCan be installed as external doorsCan be installed as external doors but are less common
CustomizationIt can be customized to your exact specificationsLess customizable than French doors

So, Which Type Of Door Is Right For You?

The best door for your needs depends on your requirements and preferences. Consider the following circumstances to help your selection:

French Doors

  • French doors are a great choice suppose you prioritize abundant natural light, durability, and security.
  • They are designed to let in plenty of natural light, creating a bright and open atmosphere.
  • French doors are sturdy and provide good security.

Double Doors

  • Double doors are a better option in case you have budget constraints or prefer a more traditional aesthetic.
  • These doors offer a sense of elegance and functionality while being more cost-effective.

In order to make the right decision, thoroughly evaluate your specific needs and preferences. Take into account factors such as budget, desired aesthetics, and any specific requirements you may have.

In addition, seek advice from a professional to gain valuable insights and guidance when selecting the ideal door for your circumstances

Remember, choose a door that meets your practical needs and enhances the overall design and feel of your space.

How To Stop French Doors Blowing In The Wind?

Keeping doors open can become challenging when weather conditions are unfavourable. At Sash Window Refurbish, we recommend the following tips to help you keep your doors open and prevent them from banging or blowing in the wind:

  • Attach hooks. Install hooks on the exterior of your property. Use a rope to loop the handle of the door onto the hook. This will minimize movement and keep the doors in place, even during windy conditions.
  • Install a wedge doorstop. Insert a wedge doorstop into the fitting to keep the door open and remove it to close the door. These doorstops are easily available online at affordable prices.
  • Utilize a large plant pot. Suppose you have a large plant pot in your garden; use it to hold the door open. However, ensure you handle the pot safely to avoid injuries, especially to the lower back. Lift and move the pot correctly to prevent any accidents.

By implementing these tips, you can enjoy keeping your doors open without any frustration caused by weather conditions.

About the author

Glen Ramsey, who presently holds the positions of customer support and content manager, is a cherished member of the Sash Window Refurbish team. He is in a unique position to provide advice on all questions pertaining to the renovation of historic windows because he has a wealth of experience in all elements of window renovation, dealing with clients regularly and assisting them in choosing the best window-related course of action. He oversees the creation of information for all of our platforms in his capacity as content manager, including web content and other materials. Glen has witnessed the whole gamut of Sash Window Refurbish's window restoration activities, from our work on significant listed Georgian homes to a wide variety of smaller-scale private residential projects.


My technician Andrew replaced all my sash windows that had rotten sills. Accessing the rotten sills was not an easy task. He explained to me what needed to be done in order to fix the problem. He is a great person and I’m happy that he was the one who did the job. He is reliable, tidy, friendly and very professional. I highly recommend him.



I hired Andrew and Alex a while back to repair my damaged sash windows. They were was very considerate and very patient as he did his job. A few days ago, I had another problem with one of my sash lock keys and I called him again to come and fix the problem. I’m very impressed that Liam responded quickly and he not only fixed the problem but he also gave me a spare key. What a great after sales service!

Alan W.


I’m very impressed with the new windows that Andrew installed and also the reconditioning job that he did on other sash windows. The quality of his work is by far more superior than what we got when we hired another company a few years back. We will certainly hire him again if any window work arises

Kelly (Sleaford)


Our decorator referred us to Andrew because some of the work needed a window expert. Andrew together with our decorator did a fantastic job. The work was done efficiently and to the highest standards. Andrew is understanding, committed and very professional. I recommend him without any hesitation.

Steaven Reader


Alex did a great job in fixing windows in our terraced house. The windows were broken, frames damaged and the wood was also rotten. Alex's job was high quality and he did it pretty fast. I was also very impressed that he was considerate of my son’s asthma condition and maintained cleanliness. Top work.



Andrew just recently replaced three sash windows in my Edwardian house. He also repaired and replaced some sills and draught proofed three windows. In addition to that, he also did some carpentry work. What I like the most about Liam is that he did a clean job. He is very professional and always updated me about the timescales and costs. He also did his job with minimal disruptions. I highly recommend him.

Cris M.