If you have just purchased some new French doors, then you are probably eager to fit them. Installing new French doors in an existing frame should be a simple job, as long as you have measured the doors correctly according to our guide to measuring and sizing French doors. If, however, you need to fit a new frame as well then you will need to install the frame into the rough opening first.
Expanding an existing opening is beyond the scope of this guide, since it may require disconnecting electrical wiring, and making alterations to structural walls. These are things that should only be attempted by someone who is knowledgeable and skilled in construction. Hanging a door in an existing frame, or even replacing a frame into an existing opening is a more modest task.
If you have had to enlarge the opening to fit your new French doors, then you will want to make sure that the wall in which the doors are to be placed is properly insulated. Remember that the vapour barrier for the insulation should face the interior of the property. After insulating the wall, you can start work.
External French doors should feature double glazing (not single glazing) and be fitted with a three point locking mechanism for security, not just a single lock. Depending on the type of door, you might also want an inner security screen. If you have a house alarm, consider fitting sensors to the door as well for added peace of mind. Remember that most burglaries are opportunistic, so if your doors appear secure, then that will help to put off any would-be intruders.
For the back door, having top and bottom key operated 5 lever mortise locks is usually sufficient. For front doors, which tend to be more exposed, you may want surface-mounted locking bolts which are fitted to the frame at a 90 degree angle to the grain of the wood – this will make sure that the door frame is highly unlikely to split should someone put pressure on the door. It is not uncommon for French doors to open outwards, and if you opt for this, then use hinge bolts as well.
Fitting French doors is a relatively simple job, but it is important to remember that external doors are more than just entry/exit points – they are also an important security feature for your home. For this reason, you should make sure that you have the time to do a good job, and that you are confident that you know what you are doing. If you have any doubts at all, consult an expert. It is better to pay to have the job done well the first time around, than to be faced with great inconvenience and an expensive bill for remedial work at a later date!
Whether you're fitting an external French door as a front or back door, you'll need to make sure the fit is just right. If you have a door opening that is slightly smaller than a standard size, then you can usually adjust wooden doors to fit. Our external timber doors have generous lippings which can be sanded/planed to make a bigger door fit a smaller opening. Try to remove an equal amount from both doors, and remove some from both sides of the door to create a smooth fit. If you do have to adjust a door in this way before you hang it, then let the door sit in a dry place overnight after trimming it, before hanging it. This will reduce the likelihood of the door twisting, bowing or drooping.
If you have any questions about our range of external doors, or are concerned about fitting/installation, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We would be happy to answer any questions that you might have, and to work with you to find the best possible doors for your needs.