How to Install French Doors


“Oui oui!”

That’s French for “yes, yes”, and hopefully you never hear your French doors say that, or you should probably call someone.

(I thought it was spelled “wee wee” but Google corrected me.)

Looking to install exterior French doors yourself? Well lucky you, you stumbled across America’s #1 residential door company, and I’m here to show you exactly how that’s done.

I hope you’re a professional with these types of projects, because this is a mighty big task, and if you do it wrong, you’ll be blessed with massive headaches and expenses trying to undo the mistakes, but if you do it right, there’s a big payoff! In this article, we’re gonna break down how to install French doors with a French door kit, so you can be off to the races!

Preparing for Installation


Before you start installing French doors, it’s important to check the area where you want to put them. Make sure to measure the existing doorway carefully and pick either a door kit that fits well or custom-made doors that meet your specific requirements.

Think about any obstacles in the way and choose the right type of glass to maintain your privacy. If the doors are for the outside, consider getting a magnetic or retractable screen door for extra use.

Making sure your doorway’s size matches the door kit can help avoid problems when you install the doors. Picking the right French door can make your space look better and ensure your doors work well and last long. Choose wisely for the best outcome.

Cutting the Sill Pan


To make sure the sill pan fits well and keeps out water, first measure the door frame’s width.

Then, use a hacksaw to cut the sill pan to match this size. Make sure your measurement is accurate because a sill pan that fits right is very important for preventing water damage.

The sill pan works like a shield, catching any water that might leak in and guiding it away from the inside of your home.

It’s important to cut the sill pan smoothly because rough edges can cause problems when installing it. Take your time with this step to make sure the sill pan is installed properly, as it helps keep your new French doors working well for a long time.

Applying Waterproof Caulk


To keep water out, it’s important to apply waterproof caulk at the bottom of the door frame. This is especially important when installing exterior French doors, since exterior doors get direct exposure to rain, sun, wind, and all other weather.

Start by picking a good quality silicone caulk that works for outside use to make sure it blocks water well. Use a caulk gun to put a smooth, continuous line of caulk along the bottom where the door frame will go. Make sure to spread the caulk evenly and fill any small gaps or cracks to make a tight seal.

This is important because it helps prevent water damage and makes the door installation stronger and last longer. Let the caulk dry as the instructions on the package say before you move on to the next steps of the installation.

Positioning the Sill Pan


After the waterproof caulk has dried, place the sill pan carefully at the bottom of the door frame. Make sure it fits well and is straight.

The sill pan is important because it stops water from getting in, which can cause damage over time. Press down on it to make sure there are no gaps or spaces that could let air in, as this could weaken the seal.

It’s very important for the sill pan to be flat and even; if it’s tilted, it might not work well with your French doors. Take your time to make sure it’s positioned correctly.

Installing the sill pan correctly is key to making sure your new doors last a long time and work well, and prepares for the next steps in setting up your doors.

Installing the Door Frame


After making sure the sill pan is in place and tight, the next step is to put the door frame in the rough opening for the French doors. Start by putting a waterproof glue-like caulk all around the edge of the sill pan to keep water out.

Then, gently lift the door frame and slide it into the right spot, ensuring it sits flat on the sill pan. Make sure the frame is straight and level, adjusting if needed. Use small wedges, called shims, at important spots to keep the frame from moving.

It’s crucial to check that the frame is lined up right before you attach it permanently. Doing this will make sure the doors fit well and work smoothly later on.

Mounting the French Doors


Mounting the French doors, also known as double doors, is a critical step in the French door installation process. To hang these double doors, start by putting them on the hinges that are already in the door frame. Make sure they are straight by using a level. Check both up-and-down and side-to-side.

If you need to make changes, loosen the hinge screws a bit and move the doors until they line up right. Once they are in place, tighten the screws well to hold the doors securely.

Make sure both doors are balanced so they don’t cause problems later and they open and close smoothly. Check that the doors don’t stick at the edges and that the space between them is the same all the way down for a neat look.

Installing Strike Plates


With the French doors in place, the next step is to put in the strike plates for the shoot bolts.

  1. Positioning: Close the doors softly and mark the spots where the shoot bolts hit the door frame. This shows where to put the strike plates.
  2. Preparation: Drill small holes at these marked spots. This helps make sure the screws go in easily without cracking the wood.
  3. Securing: Place each strike plate on the small holes and screw them in. Make sure they are tight, but don’t screw them too tight as this can bend the metal.
  4. Testing: Open and close the doors several times to check that the shoot bolts go into the strike plates easily and without getting stuck.

Sealing and Finishing


To make sure your new French doors last a long time and work well, it’s important to seal the door frame properly. This keeps out water and air.

Once the doors are fitted right, put a line of strong, waterproof sealant all around the inside and outside edges of the frame. Pay attention to any small openings where air or water could get through.

Doing this helps keep your home safe from weather and keeps it warm or cool inside.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Type of Wood for French Doors?

The best wood for French doors depends on what you need, including looks, cost, and weather.

Hardwoods like mahogany, oak, and teak are good because they last long and can handle different weather. They are great for both inside and outside doors.

But, softer woods like pine are cheaper and good for doors inside the house.

In the end, choose the wood that fits your style and needs the best.

How Do I Ensure French Doors Are Energy Efficient?

To make sure French doors save energy, pick ones that have special features like double or triple glass layers filled with a special gas and coatings that reflect heat. These help stop heat from escaping or entering your patio doors, keeping your house warm in winter and cool in summer.

It’s also important to install them correctly; seal any spaces with weatherstripping and caulk to stop drafts. Doing this can lower your heating and cooling bills and keep your home comfortable.

Can French Doors Be Installed as Sliding Glass Doors Instead?

French doors usually open by swinging on hinges but cannot just be turned into sliding doors because of how they are made.

However, you can find sliding doors that look like French doors. These are called sliding French doors. They slide along a track and are good for places where doors that swing open don’t fit well.

What Are the Security Options for French Doors?

Making French doors safe is important for keeping your home secure. You can put in strong deadbolts and locks that use several points to lock at once.

Putting security bars or grilles on the doors can also help keep burglars out. For extra protection, think about using toughened or special glass that doesn’t break easily. Smart locks are handy because they let you check on your doors from afar.

Make sure the door’s frame and hinges are strong and put in right to help keep the door secure. Checking your French doors regularly and fixing any issues helps them stay secure for a long time. Unfortunately, no typical door is truly safe when a criminal uses tools such as a pry bar on your door jamb.

How Do I Maintain French Doors to Prevent Warping?

To keep French doors from warping, take care of them regularly. Make sure they are well-sealed to stop moisture, which can cause warping. Check and fix the weatherstripping and caulking around the doors often.

Also, treat or paint the wood to protect it from humidity and changes in temperature. If the doors get a lot of sunlight, use finishes that block UV rays to stop the wood from drying out and warping.


As the last bit of sealant is put on, the excitement builds. The empty doorway now has beautiful French doors that change the look and feel of the room. They are not just nice to look at but also add value to the house.

With the doors firmly fixed, sealed from the weather, and opening and closing smoothly, one can step back and appreciate the work done. Indeed, putting in French doors is a rewarding task that makes one happy with every easy swing of the doors.

You now know how to install exterior French doors and how to install interior French doors. If you need any help, and you’re in our service area, call Your New Door today!

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