How to Install French Doors with Sidelights

French doors with sidelights serve the aesthetic value as much as they give light to doorways. A French door with a sidelight is ideal for a house with a scenic view where there are no plying neighbors around, like on a ranch or estate. This is because it has more glass and less wood, making it fragile—especially in the installation process. In addition, it may raise some privacy concerns for homeowners who do not like drawing their curtains. It is easy to accomplish, but the most important thing is making sure the door is level. Otherwise, it will incline inward and it will never close automatically unless you jab it.

Materials Needed:

  • French door with sidelights
  • Screws and a screwdriver
  • Level
  • Wood shims
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Caulk and a caulk gun
  • Foam insulation
  • Wood trims
  • Hammer
  • Saw
  • Paint and painting brush

Step 1 - Preparing the Frame

Ensure the frame is even and doesn't show any signs of rising dampness or cracks if there was a previous installation. If there was another door in place, remove any screws or shims forgotten after taking the old door down. It may be necessary to sand the frame.

Step 2 - Level the French Door with Sidelights

Fit the door on the frame, beginning with the lower part and wedging it into place. Since the glass panes make it delicate and you need to plumb it, get an assistant to hold it in place as you level. Check it against the vertical side of the frame and adjust it accordingly until it is plumb. Fit the wood shims on the upper and side jambs and check the level again. The wood shims fill the gaps between the French door with sidelights and the frame. This offers support until you fasten it to the frame.

Step 3 - Fasten the Screws

Drill the hole to insert the screws and then fasten the door hinges to the frame. If your installation is not level, the bottom will scratch the surface as it opens and closes. Hence, insert the screws to firmly secure the structure. Open the door to confirm that it has the right level. Make any adjustments if necessary.

Step 4 - The Insulation Process

Move to the outer side of the French door with sidelights and spray the gaps between the frame and the door with the insulation foam. Let it dry for at least an hour and caulk the gaps left and any visible screws. This prevents moisture from penetrating to affect the entry.

Step 5 - Final Touches

Hammer the trim on the wall surrounding the French door with sidelights. Begin with the outer side and then move to the inner side. This fills any holes left between the door and the frame. Caulk any other cracks you may find and then saw off any visible shims. If only a small part is visible, hammer them cautiously to avoid breaking the panes or destroying any other part of the installation. Paint the wood trims to match the color of the door. Your entrance will look immaculate and there will be more natural light inside.