Traditionally, external French doors have been made from timber with toughened glass or double glazed panels, but there are other materials available now. This leaves homeowners in the market for new French doors with a choice to make – wooden French doors, or uPVC French doors.
Plastics are hardwearing and relatively cheap, which makes them popular in new builds. Wooden doors offer environmental and aesthetic benefits, and while they require a little more maintenance, they age very well. Let’s take a look at the relative pros and cons of wooden and uPVC doors, and which might suit your home.
Benefits of Wooden External French Doors
Many people prefer the appearance of wooden doors to uPVC. Wooden doors are also more environmentally friendly than doors manufactured from uPVC.
Timber-based door and window frames are expected to last for about 60 years if properly cared for, and over that time they will actually reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. This means that they have a negative global warming potential. If you choose frames that are made from wood taken from certified Forest Stewardship Council forests, then you can be confident that the frames are coming from sustainable, responsibly managed forests and that from the day you buy them, you have been doing your bit for the environment.
Timber frames have a pleasant, classical appearance to them, and offer good insulating properties too. You can paint or stain them to suit the rest of your home – you don’t have to accept the colour that they were supplied in. If you wish, you could strip the paint or varnish and re-do it every few years to give your home a fresh new look.
Benefits of uPVC French Doors
Some people like uPVC because it is low maintenance, has a clean, simple look to it and is – as a general rule – more affordable than timber. In addition, uPVC does not flex or stretch. It is a hard, rigid material that resists warping and copes with being exposed to the elements. You don’t have to worry about it becoming damp and swelling or rotting. Once installed, uPVC doors will last up to 30 years and other than needing a regular clean, they are quite low maintenance.
If you are looking for modern and stylish doors, uPVC French doors could be a good option. It is certainly a popular choice for new builds.
Why Choose French Patio Doors
French patio doors feature large glass panels that let light flood into your property. They have been popular in France since the 17th century, hence the name, and remain popular today. Whether you choose uPVC or wood for the frames, there are some things that are true about any French door design.
Modern external French doors are:
- Strong and secure: The double glazed panes will not crack or break easily. High-quality French doors have strong locking mechanisms and offer an equal level of security to standard single panel doors.
- Good for brightening your interior: The window panels offer an easy view into the room, or outside, which can help your home feel more spacious.
- A way to keep heat in, or let it out: In the summer, it’s easy to open both sides of a French door to let air flow through your home. In the winter, you can keep the doors closed to keep heat in. You may think this is a characteristic of any door, but it’s easier to open French doors fully since they’re a two-leaf design. In addition, if you pick a French door with frosted glass, it acts as a buffer, letting filtered light through, but not creating the searing heat that you would get with a clear glass pane.
French doors are an elegant solution to the issues of space and privacy, and they are a good way of making a dull room feel more welcoming. They’re great for conservatories and rear entrances if you want something grand and eye-catching.
Should You Buy Wooden French Doors or uPVC French Doors?
So, which should you buy? Well, you may not have much choice. If you live in a conservation area, you might have to choose timber doors. The same is true for period properties. Alternatively, if you live in an area that has a lot of modern properties, you may lean towards uPVC to match your neighbours’ homes. For most people, though, it’s a matter of personal preference. A good set of uPVC French doors is an ‘install and forget’ option that a lot of people will appreciate. Wooden doors, by comparison, require a little more care but can last for decades if you look after them properly. They also have a classic, high-quality appearance to them that will suit almost any home.
Some people like the white and clean look of uPVC. Some prefer the flexibility of wooden doors. Both types of door have benefits and downsides and suit different kinds of property.
Before you decide between uPVC and wooden French doors, take a look at what other homeowners in your area are doing. There’s no need to match their designs, but it will give you an idea of what suits the surrounding area and will help you visualise what your home might look like with a specific design of door.
View our full range of external French doors here