So, why do some doors cost so much more than others? What kind of door can you afford? In which areas can you afford to save money and what options should you never skimp on? Keep reading to learn this and more. You'll be ready to pick your own French doors soon.
Factors Affecting The Cost
The Installation Space
In this article, it is assumed that you are looking to replace an old door with a new French door. However, you may be looking for a new installation - creating a brand new doorway. That will obviously increase the cost of your final project.
You'll need a contractor to create the opening for your door. This may require rerouting outlets or wiring. You may need to install roof overhangs for your new door. You will also need to add appropriate molding and trim. Finally, you will need to resurface the landing that the door comes out on. You may need to level or raise the ground, add steps, or more.
The cost of all these steps depends on the area in which you live. Expect to spend at least a couple hundred dollars to have any of these tasks performed.
Several material options are available for French doors. Some materials are more expensive than others. The one you select will play a role in your final cost. The most affordable is vinyl while wood is potentially the most expensive.
A door made of vinyl is durable. However, it can crack in extreme temperature changes. It comes in a variety of styles and is the most cost-effective option. The door itself may cost between $400-$700.
A step up from vinyl in durability and hardiness, aluminum is only a bit more expensive. Aluminum requires regular maintenance. Without frequent cleanings, the door can stain and pit. These doors range in price from $300-$1,500.
As an exterior French door, steel isn't always the best option. It doesn't offer much insulation and can rust if damaged. The look is pretty limited, as they only come in a few colors and styles. It's fairly affordable and stands up to the weather well. However, most people want something that looks a little less industrial. Steel French doors cost between $300-$3,000.
Fiberglass is a hardy and durable door that requires little maintenance to stay nice. It takes a lot of abuse without showing the damage. A wide variety of colors and style options are available. The cost of these doors runs between $600-$1,700.
While there is a wide range of prices for doors, a clad wood door may be the most expensive choice on this list. Some people will always prefer the look of real wood. They opt to use it, mostly for aesthetic reasons. Clad wood doors are made of wood on the side facing into the house. The exterior side is still covered by vinyl or fiberglass, allowing it to stand up to the weather outside. Expect to pay between $400-$3,000.
Wood doors are most suitable for an indoor installation. Wood requires a lot of maintenance (mainly repainting) but it's easy to keep wood doors looking nice. Even when blemishes or dents occur, it's typically a simple fix. Wood can be the longest lasting material when used right.
However, for outside use, wood doesn't tolerate much moisture or humidity. It can swell and be difficult to open. That's why wood doors have mostly fallen out of favor in recent years. Current homeowners typically select clad wood, which combines the toughness of metal doors with the attractive looks of wood.
As for cost, wood can vary greatly. Cheaper wood doors exist that can cost less than many of the other options. However, you pay for what you get. Higher quality doors that last a long time will cost more. These doors will tend to be a bit more than fiberglass and a bit less than clad wood, though, again, there's a wide range of prices. Wood French doors range from $400-$4,000.
While many people assume that French doors are always a set of exterior doors, this actually isn't the only option. French doors can be used inside the house just as easily. French doors can be an effective choice to separate family spaces such as a kitchen or dining room.
For that matter, French doors aren't always double doors, either. Though it's certainly the most common style, there are others. French doors actually refer to doors that are made primarily of glass. They are available as single, double, sliding, and bifold doors.
Obviously, if you choose an interior door, it can skip several important pieces necessary for an exterior door. It won't need the same weatherstripping, gaskets, secure hinges, multipoint locks, and more. As a result, it also costs a bit less. Interior doors are rarely more than $1,000 and can be as inexpensive as a mere $50.
Single doors also cost less than double doors. As for sliding or bifold French doors, the expense tends to be reflective of the size. If you select an extraordinarily large bifold door, the cost goes up accordingly.
Glass Pane Style
The kind of glass and the style will both play a part in your final cost. A single pane of glass can be as little as $150, whereas hurricane resistant glass can cost more than $1,000. Obviously, this cost is included in the expense of the door, but it certainly factors into the total of the final bill.
Having multiple grids (bars dividing your window into smaller sections) aren't always more expensive. In fact, architecture glass with fancy designs is by far a more expensive "aesthetic" selection. Opaque or tinted glass for UV protection or privacy is also an expensive add-on.
Locks And Hardware
The most secure option is multipoint locks. Multiple locks fastening at the top, middle, and bottom of the door can offer an extra level of protection, but they also increase your costs as well.
As for hardware, French doors typically come as a lever, knob, or pull bar door handles. Lever and knob tend to be less costly; pull bars may be slightly more expensive.
Direction For Opening
Because the doors are made slightly differently, exterior doors that open outward are a bit more expensive than an inward opening one. To remain weatherproof despite opening to the outside, these doors require special gaskets. They also typically have special, secure hinges. This does result in a slightly more expensive door.
DIY Vs. Professional
Having a professional install your doors will increase your project costs significantly. However, in most cases, it really can't be helped. If you will be removing a window or wall to create a new opening, you need a professional. There are too many technical concerns, such as wiring, for the average person's DIY skills. On average, hiring a professional installer will add between $400-$1,400 to your project.
It is worth noting that, while a bit more expensive upfront, prehung doors may help lower your final cost. If there are no changes needed to the rough opening space, and you're just swapping one door for another, you might be able to use a prehung door. If that's the case, the project may be within the range of a fairly competent DIYer. Even if you still use a contractor, prehung doors save your professional installer time and effort.
Do French Doors Add Value To Your Home?
If you're looking to increase the value of your home, French doors are one way to do it. They bring in more light and also make the room appear bigger-both of which translates into an increase in home value. If that is your primary goal, however, you should stick to a more traditional, quality, French door. Avoid expensive custom options, unless you are buying them for your own enjoyment. They cost more and may not appeal to the taste of future homebuyers.
Are French Doors Energy Efficient?
Modern French doors can be incredibly energy efficient compared to the doors of just ten years ago. There are new and improved energy-efficient options available. This leads to another way that French doors can add value to your home - value in lower heating bills!
Look for doors made with a new low-E glass. Be sure to ask for information on the Energy Star rating of any doors you are considering. Dual or even triple-pane glass maximizes the window's heat retention. Argon-filled glass also provides a higher level of thermal efficiency.
Are French Doors More Expensive Than Sliding Patio Doors?
French doors cost 10-20% more than sliding glass doors. They also are more expensive to install (again, by about 20%).
However, French doors have an advantage in energy efficiency, increased home value, and lower maintenance. So while they can cost more in the original installation, that extra expense may be worth it in the end. Ultimately, the decision between the two may ultimately be based on other factors, such as:
Sliding glass doors have a more modern style while French doors are decidedly more traditional. Your current home design may indicate which one will be more in tune with the rest of your style.
Sliding glass doors do not require any additional space to open. French doors, however, need a wide clearance to be able to open fully and freely. Not every space leaves that much room free from obstruction. If that's the case, French doors are not an ideal choice.
A variety of factors influence the final cost of French doors, like the material, door style, glass, and energy-efficient upgrades. Other factors are more aesthetic, such as stylized glass and door handles. Interior doors cost between $50 and $1,000 while exterior doors cost a bit more. They cost, on average, anywhere from $500-$4,000.
Installation by a professional is an extra expense, but typically a necessary one. Rarely is an exterior door installation a DIY project, and French doors can be particularly tricky to line up correctly. If you enjoyed this article, check out these others: