French Door Lingo

September 20, 2010

Source: DoorSmart

So you want to go buy French doors. First thing, which exterior doors are we talking about? I am focusing here on exterior French doors, not interior French doors. I will share my experience with interior French doors later.

The designs available in exterior French doors are pretty universal:

  • Number of Window Panes – this can range from one to ten
  • Type of Division – true-divided versus single pane with wood divider overlay
  • Full Length vs. 3/4 Length – sometimes referred to as panel vs. no-panel

What are Full-length vs. Three-quarter Exterior Doors?

When considering front doors always think three-quarter doors. The reason you want the three quarter doors design is because an entryway with glass to the bottom of the door frame is asking for the window panes to be broken. Think rocks, kicking, mowing the lawn and a rock shoots out. It is not a good idea. A solid wood panel at the bottom of your front French doors is a good bet.

If you are considering back doors, you can go with full length doors. Your back doors are as much windows as they are doors and not subject to the daily use your front (or gargage) doors are used to.

Number of Panes for My French Doors

This is your choice. You have the ability to choose as many as you want. For instance, I have 20 pane doors (see picture). The front doors contain a leaded glass true-divided glass panel. You can have single pane French Doors. So if you just want one pane, go ahead.

Consideration for French Doors – The Glass

French doors contain a lot of glass. The type of glass can be clear, allowing a lot of insight into your home from the road. Consider glue chip glass to block the line of sight, but allow light through in the tradition of French Doors.

What areTrue-Divided Glass Doors?

True-divided glass simply means, the panels of glass are divided by a frame. The frame is not an overlay to the glass, but rather each panel rests in its own divided panel, by either wood or lead.

French doors are beautiful. They are on my own home. While many retailers will point you in a direction to what they have in inventory, do yourself a favor and check around to specialty door retailers and see the many options available to you.

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