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    A Guide to French Patio Doors

    An alternative to solid exterior doors, swinging or sliding french patio doors provide additional lighting and unimpeded views of the outside world. French doors can be made with classic hardwood finishes, such as cherry and walnut, or with more efficient and low maintenance materials, such as fiberglass. With a wide range of materials to choose from, homeowners can find a french patio door to suit virtually any style.
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    French hinged patio door come in pairs of double doors, with large panes of glass that cover the length of each door. The slightly more formal, swinging models take up more space when open. A french sliding patio door take up much less room, but will cover the stationary windowpane alongside the door when open. Read on for more information to decide if french doors are a good investment.


    For a more modern and more space-efficient look, a standard set of sliding french patio door will typically range from $300 to $800. A traditional, hinged set of french patio doors generally start at about $400 to $900, but will be more expensive with additional materials and styles.


    Due to the extra weight of the glass panes in a french patio door, the doorframe must be strong enough to support the door without twisting or warping. In the past, patio doors have usually been made with traditional hardwoods. However, modern revisions now use stronger materials like fiberglass or aluminum. With fiberglass on the outside and hardwoods such as mahogany on the inside, homeowners can have the best of both worlds with hardy, yet beautiful french patio door.

    patio doors by Andersen Windows and Doors , USAFrench Patio Door by Andersen Windows and Doors |
    License: CC BY-SA 3.0

    Depending on the materials used, the strength and durability of a set of french doors vary. A sliding or hinged patio door with a fiberglass exterior will hardly need any upkeep after installation, while wood patio doors will usually experience more wear-and-tear from exposure to the sun and elements.


    The window dominates a french patio door, so homeowners can purchase upgraded models with laminated windows for improved heat and sound insulation. A wide spectrum of treatments are available for french patio doors with hardwood interiors. Alder, a less expensive material, can be treated and stained to match the appearance of more expensive wood species such as walnut or mahogany.


    Since sliding patio doors are less exposed to the elements, they are easier to care for than a classic hinged patio door. Homeowners should expect touching-up their french patio doors as-needed, depending on the materials and how the patio door is finished.

    Energy Efficiency and Tax Credits

    Because glass is a poor insulator, french patio doors lose much more heat than most other solid exterior doors. A basic, single-pane french patio door may have an R-value as low as R-1, but with additions like laminated and double-paned glass – or more energy efficient materials like fiberglass – the R-value can be raised to as high as R-5 and R-6 or higher. Additionally, homeowners should keep in mind that hinged french doors create a much tighter and more efficient seal than their sliding counterparts.

    Summary: A Classic Choice for Your Home

    Whether they be sliding or hinged, a french patio door offers an unobstructed view and plenty of light. French doors can be constructed to both efficiently and economically match any homeowner's style and budget. To get started installing your own set of french patio doors, contact contractors in your area today.

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    Written by: Adilson Dos Santos Jr., Editor