4 Tips for Choosing Exterior French Doors

Exterior French doors can add great value and appeal to a property. Not only do they look good, they provide the kind of classic look that buyers like. Whether they open onto a deck or into the garden, they open up the house with an elegance you can't get from sliding doors. The question is what kind of French doors you should choose. There are different styles and materials available, and not all styles will look good everywhere.


Apart from wood, you can also buy French doors in fibreglass, aluminum or steel. In some cases you’ll buy wood doors that are covered in vinyl or aluminum. Most people agree that wood has the best look. It’s the most traditional material for French doors and the wood is usually of a higher quality than other materials. The problems can occur when it’s exposed to moisture, as it invariably will be. Sometimes, then, the woods will warp, meaning that the exterior French doors can stick.

Wood is the quietest of the materials. Aluminum is good, but steel exterior French doors will be noisiest. Vinyl will not be affect by rain, but the UV rays in sunlight can make the doors brittle.


The glass used in exterior French doors doesn't do much more than providing a visual link to the outside. The glass can act as a layer of insulation while reducing the noise from outside, and can even be opaque to allow light to enter but not let anyone see in. You need to decide what you want from the glass in French doors. The glass will be double pane, so it will reduce the heat loss and be energy efficient. You should also choose tempered, impact-resistant glass. This will prevent people breaking in through the exterior French doors of your house. Check with different manufacturers as to the options they offer in glass.

Which Way To Open?

Does it matter which way the exterior French doors open? Depending on where you’re placing them, yes it does. Generally people will choose a door that opens outward as it take up less interior space. However, in that instance it can be important to have an overhang to prevent bad weather coming in. Where there’s plenty of space in the room, French doors that open inward can appear very inviting. Outward-swinging exterior French doors have become much more common than they were in the past.


When installing the doors, or having them installed, it’s important to avoid the possibilities of warpage and leaking. The door needs to be perfectly square in the wall, so a multipoint locking system is necessary as it will ensure squareness. You also need proper factory-installed weatherstripping on the door, which should be available.

If you need to cut any areas around a wood exterior French door, be very careful, as you’ll be remove the preservative, too. Make sure you put fresh preservative over the cut parts to stop moisture soaking into the wood. Often it can be much easier to have a contractor install the French doors.