Preparing Double French Doors For Installation

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Double French doors can enhance almost any home adding charm and grace. Simplify the installation process by properly preparing your double french doors.

Purchasing Doors

Homeowners can purchase double French doors at almost any home improvement center, hardware store, or door and window retailer. They can also be purchased online from many home improvement internet retailers at generally lower prices than local retail outlets.

You have the option of purchasing double French doors already hung and framed for installation or without the framing in place. When you get ready to purchase double French doors, be sure to measure the amount of space you have to install the doors. Remember, that you will need to allow space for the framing, along with the width.

Remove the Old Door

Open the old doors to expose the hinges in the wall. Use the power drill to remove the bottom hinge on the door. Have someone else hold the door, or prop it on a book or block of wood as you remove the top hinge. Having another person to help is preferred.

Repeat the procedure for the door on the other side if you already have French doors in place.

If you purchased a prehung door set, you will need to remove the framing as well as the door. Use a crowbar to pry out the old door frame.

Since French doors use a wider opening than a standard door, they can fit into space previously used by a sliding patio door. If you had a single door in the space before, you may want to ask an experienced contractor to assist you in measuring and cutting the space wider for a french door. If you choose to complete this step yourself, carefully measure the space after removing the old door and frame, and measure again before you cut. Watch carefully for any wires going through the wall and avoid cutting them. You will need to reroute them above the door.

Center the New Door and Frame

If you have purchased the doors prehung and framed, center the entire framework in the door opening. Use a carpenter square and level to make sure the door is plumb and centered. Place shims to hold the door in place before nailing it into place.

Level the Door

Double-check the level and plumb of the door and add more shims at the top, bottom and sides if necessary. Then use screws and screw the door frame firmly into place. Space the screws about 8 inches apart around the frame and be sure the door is securely set.

Be sure the doors swing freely at each stage of the installation process to ensure that you are leaving enough space around the doors and are installing them on a level.

Install Hardware

Install door hardware for both sides of the door, including the bolt to hold the stationary door in place. Use care with the latches on the top of the french doors. Many latches require precise adjustment to provide just enough resistance to keep the door closed but not so much that they will not open or close.

Exterior french doors have different hardware, including deadbolt and flush door locks not normally found on interior doors.

Seal Air Leaks

Install fiberglass insulation around the gap between the door framing and the house to seal any air leaks and for energy efficiency. Use spray insulation for those areas that cannot be reached by fiberglass insulation or are too small to fill with fiberglass.

Use care when working with fiberglass insulation, since it does cause irritation in many people.

Install Molding

Install the molding around the door, exterior and interior. Use care to miter the edges properly. Fill in the gaps with wood putty, sand, and finish.

If the door is white, you can use white caulk to easily fill in any gaps in the molding. Smooth with a wet finger for a finished look.