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Characteristics of External French Doors

French doors are instantly recognisable. Usually found in pairs to provide a lovely wide opening for your property, French doors bring elegance and class to the home. External French doors are most commonly installed at the back of a property to allow for a generous opening to the garden, patio or conservatory.

French doors are different to patio doors; however, these terms tend to be used interchangeably. Traditionally, patio doors are sliding doors, while French doors are two identical doors fixed side by side. This means you can open both of them at once and create a spacious opening.

French doors generally feature large glass panels in order to maximize how much natural light is allowed to brighten up your home. Our wooden French doors are also very secure, and constructed from the highest quality timber, including hardwood, hemlock, oak and white.

Why are they called French doors?

French doors for external and internal use originated, as the name suggests, in the South of France during the 17th Century Renaissance. External French doors predate electricity, so they were seen as an important addition to balconies because of the amount of natural light they allowed into a room.

The initial popularity of French doors was thanks to their practicality. After the advent of electricity, however, they were more often celebrated for their beautiful design. French door designers prioritised symmetry, geometry and proportion. These characteristics are still desirable today. 

Which way should external French doors open?

How French Doors open depends on your personal preferences and the practical impact the opening direction may have on your home.

French doors that open inwards can take up slightly more space in the room, and you will need to make sure there is adequate room around the door frame to accommodate the doors when opened. 

If you live in an area that is prone to windy conditions, outward opening French doors may need some form of anchoring in case they become a nuisance. 

Please note that, due to the locking mechanisms used on external French doors, you will not be able to install ones that open both ways. 

Outward opening French doors are considered the default option in the UK and most of Europe. If you require any advice on which direction to choose, please feel free to call us on 0114 2557800 and we’ll be happy to help.

External Door FAQs

For more information on the wide range of external doors and gates we have in stock, please see our External Door FAQs.