The French door is a distinctive and enduring style of double-door which incorporates glass panels, helping to spread light from one room to another. They were first devised centuries ago, so that the French aristocracy could keep their stately homes bright and expansive-looking without allowing cold air to run through them. While we have the benefit of electric lighting now, the French door remains stubbornly popular, largely thanks to its ability to inject that all-important sensation of space into any interior.
If you’re looking to install a pair of internal French doors into your property, you’ll need to follow a few basic steps, which we’ll outline in this article. Having done so, you’ll be able to achieve the best possible final look with minimal effort and stress.
If you’re considering installing your own French doors, then you should be aware of the skill requirements. A set of double-doors is invariably a lot more difficult to get right, because any slight difference in the way that the two doors are hung will be immediately apparent. If you’ve already got a little bit of DIY experience (and a lot of patience), however, the results should be worth it. If you’re unsure, it’s probably best to read through to the end of these instructions before getting started.
Please Note: The DIY advice provided is only a guideline for the installation of interior or exterior doors. We cannot accept liability for any mishap, injury or damage caused to you, your property or a third party while using any of the above tips and advice. All our advice is offered freely but you should always take care to ensure that your interpretation of the advice is sensible before proceeding with any project however small.
With all of that said, let’s move onto the installation. Before proceeding, you’ll need to assemble a few key items:
Your first task is to pull the old frame out of the wall. Before you can do this, you’ll need to remove the casing. Do this by running your Stanley knife all the way around the outside of the frame, and then using your crowbar to widen the gap, working your way carefully around the side. Having done this, pull out the old frame. You should now be looking at a square hole in the wall.
It is absolutely imperative that you ensure the opening is perfectly square using your spirit level and carpenter’s square before proceeding. Fail to do this and you’ll likely cause yourself a severe headache later on.
Install the frame. Use shims to hold it into place, and correct for any slight imbalance in the hole you’re installing into. Then test the doors to see if they fit into the hole. If everything seems in order, you can then attach the frame to the wall using screws or finishing nails.
You’re now ready to permanently mount the doors into the frame, and attach the handles and other hardware into the doors. If your preparation has gone well, you’ll be able to secure the doors into place easily, and your work will be done. If you’ve been careless, or something unforeseen has gone wrong, your French doors won’t work as they should. Getting things right can be difficult – so it’s important not to be disheartened if things don’t go well at the first attempt. Check our guide to fixing internal french doors which may help you to tackle any problems you've encountered along the way.