A French door can add a stylish look to any home. These are doors that have multiple small windows — sometimes called "lights" — set into the full length of the door. Because of these lights, they are sometimes called French windows. French doors provide a minimal amount of privacy, so their purpose is primarily decorative in nature. However, they are a popular choice among people who are looking for ways to bring more natural light into their homes.
A divided lite French door is the traditional type. These doors are assembled from multiple pieces of glass. They also have mullions, or decorative structural elements designed to divide adjacent window panes. Traditional doors are typically made from hardwood.
Exterior doors done in a French style are different from traditional French doors because they are often made of double-pane glass to provide improved insulation. These doors usually have a decorative grille embedded between the panes, although some have grilles that are superimposed over of a single pane of glass. Exterior doors can be one-piece solid doors or sliding doors, depending upon the intended use.
There are many reasons to consider including French doors in a home. When used as patio doors, they help draw attention to a beautiful flower garden or an immaculately landscaped lawn. When used inside, the doors help give rooms a cheerful, airy look while providing a visual bridge between two adjacent living areas. In some cases, a French door can even be bolted into place to act as a substitute for an interior wall.
French doors are slightly more expensive than other types of doors, but they are often considered to be a wise investment. Since they are associated with an “upscale” appearance, they will typically increase a home’s value or curb appeal if the home is sold at a later date. A homeowner on a tight budget who has a solid knowledge of basic carpentry can save money by installing the new doors by himself.
While French doors can provide a beautiful and sophisticated look for a home, they can be quite hazardous in areas that are prone to hurricanes. However, homeowners can still enjoy the look of these doors by installing hurricane shutters. These protective devices will prevent wind and flying debris from shattering the glass in the doors. Hurricane shutters are available in automatic rolldown, accordion, Bahama, awning, and storm panel styles.