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French Doors Fitting Guide

External French doors look beautiful and can add a different dynamic to your home. There are many different types of French door to choose from so you're sure to find one to suit your style. However, for many people, the fitting process can sometimes seem rather daunting, but don’t let this put you off purchasing French doors.

It is possible for your average ‘DIYer’ to be able to fully install a French door with the right tools and guidance, though you’ll need to make sure you’re accurate and you’ll probably need another pair of hands to help.

The sizing part of this project is the most important part; be sure to purchase the correct size for your door.  Then you can get cracking with our guide on fitting your French doors.

French Door Sizes

white french doors

French doors come in a rather large range of sizes. The sizes are based on the ‘normal’ door size, so if your door frame is an irregular size, you’ll need to double check the measurement for your door.

French doors usually start at around 4ft but you can find them up to 10ft, so there is a large variety. Each individual door is generally between 20 and 72 inches, however doors are very rarely sold individually, they are sold in pairs.

The doors should arrive in typical door height at 2100mm, this is 82 inches. You should also be able to find out the brickwork opening size required for your door from the manufacturer. This will help you visualise your door in its place and help you decide if you need to alter the wall for your doors. If you do, you will need to contact a professional.

How to Install a French Door

When installing a French door, both external and internal French doors, the first thing you need to do is make sure you have the right size. If you’ve already bought your French doors and have made sure you have the right size, you can go ahead and paint and fit them. If you haven’t, French doors come in the common door sizes, you can usually guarantee this will fit your door, but be sure you measure before you buy.

If you previously had a French door, this door will need taking out. To do this, place a screwdriver under the top lip of the hinge pin and tap with the hammer until the pin is out. Then you need to remove the old frame. You can use a hammer and a pry bar to do this, be careful not to use too much force as you don’t want to damage the trim. It’s better to spend more time on this job and not damage other areas. If you use too much power and damage the trim, it can be an expensive mistake. You then need to use a long level and a carpenter’s square to make sure the inside of the opening is square. If you find that it is not completely square, you can get your sanding paper out to make it so. However, if it is uneven or slanted, you may need to bring a professional to even it back up.

First, bring the door up to the opening and slide the bottom of the door in. To check if it’s square, measure diagonally from one corner to the diagonal corner of the frame. Then, the new frame needs installing. Use shims to level the door to make it open and close properly. Pilot holes need to be drilled through the frame and shims where the door hinges are, this is only temporary. Then secure the frame properly with some 3-inch deck screws. Do this through the rest of the holes in the hinge assemblies. The shims need to be trimmed so they are flush with the wall, use a utility knife to code them first.

Measure an opening for the new trim and cut the trim. Using a small pneumatic nailer, attach the trim to the door. You can use a silicone caulk to fill in any of the joints or gaps, and paint as you desire. You can then add all the hardware to your doors.

It’s nearly the exact same process for interior French doors, although they can be a little easier to fit. For example, you won’t need to take the step of filling in the joints or gaps.

French Door Installation Cost

door fitting tools

Photo by Hunter Haley on Unsplash

Fitting your own French door can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not an active DIY person. If you don’t feel comfortable fitting your doors alone, you should consider getting them fitted by a professional. Often, people don’t think about it due to the cost, however, if you don’t feel comfortable fitting a door or believe it’s out of your skill level, getting it done by a professional will make sure you feel secure and the door was fitted in the correct way. If the door isn’t fitted correctly, it will need to be refitted. The cost depends on the difficulty of the doors and how long the workers need. We advise getting several quotes and selecting the best option for you.

If you have any questions about your door, your manufacturer should be happy to answer any of them, even if they don’t offer customers their own installation process, they might be able to send you to someone who does. For any questions regarding our doors, delivery or installation, contact us today.