French doors, which have glass panels the whole length of the door, either in one piece or in multiple panes, can be a great way to increase the light coming into your home while maintaining a steady temperature. They can make a room seem more spacious as well. French doors are typically used inside the house or in the rear of the house to lead to balconies, gardens and patios. However, there are some things to consider before using them as exterior doors.
1. Privacy and Security
You may want to opt for exterior French doors that are opaque, so people can't look in and clearly see your living space, and that have a three-point locking system, so the doors lock into the sill and jamb and not just into each other, as this makes the doors more secure. This is especially true if you're using them as exterior front doors.
2. Energy Efficiency
Choosing low-E glass that has a heat-reflective coating or double-paned versions of these doors can help insulate your house and make it more energy efficient. In areas that get direct sunlight, you may want to have the glass tinted to help keep all that sunlight from fading the materials inside your house near the doors. And fitting the doors with weather stripping will also help keep the weather outside where it belongs.
3. In-Swing or Out-Swing
Decide whether you want to doors to open in or out, and make sure that there won't be anything in the way of the doors opening. Pocket doors or sliding doors take up less space, and may be necessary in tighter spaces in the home. There are also doors that look like French doors but are pivot, folding or sliding doors instead of swing doors, which may help you get the same look without taking up as much space.
4. Windows or Inactive Doors
In places where there is an extra wide opening, such as the entrance to some patios or decks, you can sometimes replace windows with inactive versions of the French doors you're planning on installing. These will look the same as the doors, but won't open or close. This allows for visual continuity and can give you even more light coming into your home.
5. Other Style Considerations
The other things you need to consider are mainly style preferences. For example, do you want a solid glass panel or a number of glass panels separated by wood, metal or other material? And do you want the typical rectangular door or something a bit different, such as one with a rounded top?
For more information, contact a professional business, like The Door and Window Store, to help you decide which type of French doors are best for your home.