French Doors

French doors, also called French windows, have long been admired for their elegance and beauty. French doors are either of a pair of doors in an outside wall made of glass panels or panes and an opening in the middle. The panes or panels are often referred to as "lights." French doors are installed using a common door frame and they are mostly glass with wood partitions throughout the surface of the doors. In some older homes, traditional French doors are mostly functional.

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Why French Doors Are Used

Today, when French doors are purchased for the first time, they are not only chosen for functionality, but also for their attractiveness and versatility. French doors have many different uses, both interior and exterior. They help to connect the indoors with the outdoors. Depending on the layout of the home, they can be used to open just about any room onto a patio (also see Patio Doors), deck, or balcony.

French doors can also be used as room dividers in the place of a wall to create a dramatic effect or an open and airy feel. They are commonly used to open into a living room or study. French doors are a popular choice among designers looking for an attractive alternative to sliding doors. With today's insulated glass, combined with wood, some French doors can be just as energy efficient as regular doors. French doors can also add value to a property.

Varieties of French Doors

French patio doors, French interior doors, French exterior doors, double-folding French doors, and faux French doors are just a few of the styles available on the market today. French patio doors may be hinged, with out-swing and in-swing variations, or gliding. Interior French doors may have the same capabilities, and are available in a variety of colors and sizes. Interior French doors may be solid or hollow, while exterior French doors are typically heavy and weather-tight for added protection against the elements.

All French doors can be regular or folding, and most interior French doors can be locked in place with bolts or posts. French doors can be constructed with simple glass panels or a wide variety of decorative glass types. They are installed in pairs, so either one or both may be open. The best quality French doors are ones that are installed with divided lights that are beveled, thermal pane, or frosted.