Convert Sliding Doors to French Doors

  • 8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • $400 + depending on the doors chosen and where purchased.
What You'll Need
Pry bar
French doors
Fastening nails
Batt insulation

Homes that were built in the 70s and 80s were rarely constructed with French doors. They were, however, constructed with sliding patio doors either off the kitchen or the family room. If you were thinking of converting a glass sliding door to a French door the procedure is really not that complicated. French doors are made of wood with glass panels and allow an abundant amount of sunlight into your home. Following these simple steps gives you an easy guide on how to do this job yourself.

Remove the Trim

Remove the trim pieces that are around the door frames. If you decide that you want to keep this trim for your new French doors, take extra care of how you do this. Use a pry bar along with a hammer to pull the trim away. If you are not going to keep the trim, you can buy some new trim at your local home improvement store.

Pull the Nails Out

Nails are holding the old sliding door in place. To remove them take your hammer to pull the nails out. You also will probably find nails holding the head of the frame so you will have to remove them as well.

Note: If the old glass sliding door is in good condition, think about donating it to a salvage company that might be able to reuse it.

Take Door Measurements

Measure the opening. Measure from side to side, stud to stud and also top to bottom. These will be the measurements you will need to purchase your new French doors. Don’t forget to keep in mind that your new French doors should be ¼” smaller on each side than the original opening.

Purchase Pre-Hung French Doors

Pre-hung French doors can be purchased at your local home improvement store.

Center and Level the French Doors

When you are ready to install the new French doors make sure that you place the bottom end first and make sure it is centered within the space. Leveling the door is important. If it is not level you will need to put in wooden shims in the jambs and the frame of the door.

Secure the Door

Use fastening nails into the jamb to secure the doors in place. If you have used shims make sure that they are secured by finishing nails as well.

Insulate the Doors

In order to keep all drafts out, it is a good idea to put some insulation into the cracks that you see in the jambs. You can use batt insulation to do this job. There is foam insulation that is available to do this as well. When using the batt insulation do not force it in the jam as you could throw your leveling off.

To complete the job install the trim pieces you saved or the new trim that you purchased. If your new French doors come in natural wood you can paint or stain them yourself.