French doors are traditionally hinged double doors that can be used as both an interior and exterior design feature. When opened, French doors give you access to the full opening in which they are installed, and it is this extra width that often makes them a popular choice for designers and home owners.
With each leaf generally being around 90mm wide, you have an overall door opening of around 1.8 metres. This is a great way of linking spaces, creating the impression of space. And it’s a great way to divide living spaces too. Although, with just one of the leaves open, the door width is slightly reduced from a standard door size.
The term ‘patio doors’ is now more generally used to describe any door opening that gives out onto the external patio space. However, the correct definition of a patio doors is one that has two leaves with one able to slide over the other. They are also more commonly known by the term ‘sliding doors’.
With only one moveable leaf, the other is a fixed window of the same size. Whilst sliding doors are functional and generally very affordable, they have become slightly dated in recent years and don’t offer the same stylistic impression as the French door.
A sliding patio door can be used to fit any space, with door apertures of up to 4m possible. However, the problem always remains the same: only 50% of the available space is usable. However, they do come in handy when space is limited and there is no room for French doors open on to.
The other main contender for the French doors’ crown is the bi-fold door. This has become more popular in recent years. Like the French door, it allows you to use the full opening of any door space, with one concertina-effect opening panel that fits snug against the interior wall. Bi-fold doors have many advantages, but they do tend to be more associated with modern and contemporary design styles. They don’t necessarily sit very well in more traditional settings or period properties.
Cost – The cost of French doors and other styles will vary according to the size of your opening. For example, the cost of 4ft French doors will be different to that of 6ft French doors.
In general, French doors cost more than sliding patio doors but are cheaper than the more engineered bi-fold doors. So, it depends on your budget as well as design preferences.
Security – All types of modern exterior doors are fitted with security features. As well as integrated locks, modern materials such as UPVC and composite structures have added to the strength of French doors. Combined with steel-covered frames, as well as double or triple glazing, a French door is a very secure feature for any home.
Modern French doors are also fitted with multiple locking points, drop bolts and cover spines for added security. Lock barrels should be fitted with anti-bump cylinders for extra peace