French doors are a beautiful addition to any home. They add an extra dose of elegance while providing a wonderful view onto a patio, porch, or even a backyard garden. And it’s easy to agree that they provide an inviting and classic look that you just can’t get with a plain sliding glass door. They also let in plenty of light inside the home, which enhances the overall appeal of any space.
However, the only big problem with these exterior doors is that they can be notoriously hard to keep closed. Sadly, they often pop open during a strong gust of wind and aren’t always the best option for home security.
The good news is that there are ways you can keep them snug and secure without sacrificing visual aesthetic. From new hardware to changing out the glass, you can easily enjoy the beauty of French doors without feeling as though they are less than ideally secure.
While some of these options are easy enough for a homeowner to handle themselves, there are some on this list that require professional installation. Keep reading to learn a few ways on how to keep French doors from blowing open at the worst possible time.
Option #1: Three-Point Locking System
The first option for securing your French doors is with a three-point locking system. While it can be handy to have a deadbolt on most doors, this doesn’t work too well with a double door. The reason is that the bolt doesn’t have the strength of the frame to secure into. When you close the lock, it just goes into the other door, which doesn’t hold steady.
Instead, a three-point locking system features an additional steel rod that goes from the top of the door into the ceiling, and a second one from the bottom of the door into the floor. This will keep both doors absolutely secure in place and prevent would-be thieves from getting in.
The third piece of the three-point locking system is, of course, the deadbolt itself. When you choose one, you’ll want to make sure it feeds securely into the other door and isn’t easily jiggled or disengaged when the deadbolt is activated.
Most three-point locking systems come in stylish finishes that match the door handle for an elegant and cohesive visual appeal.
Option #2: Quality Mortise Lock
Even if you’re familiar with home repair, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of a mortise lock. Although they aren’t commonly used, they make for a great way to keep your French doors securely in place during all types of weather.
How does it work? Well, think about a normal deadbolt for a minute. When engaged, the bolt fits securely into a hole bored in the side of the opposite French door. With a mortise lock, the entire side of the door acts as a pocket for the lock mechanism. During use, there’s absolutely no way to get it open, no matter hard someone pulls or tugs on the door.
The biggest two downsides to mortise locks are installation and cost. They must be installed by a professional, as they are a lot more complicated than a traditional lock. They’re also pretty rare, which causes them to be much more expensive. However, any good window and door company should be able to find and install one in under an afternoon.
Option #3: Try a Double-Cylinder Deadbolt
If your concerns about keeping your French doors from blowing open is more about safety than functionality, then a standard deadbolt might be okay. But the caveat to this is the type you’ll want to use.
Standard deadbolts generally have the exterior side keyed and the interior side as a lever. Using this on French doors is a bit of a safety issue, as anyone who really wants to break into your home can just smash the glass, reach in, and turn the lock.
Instead, make sure both sides of the deadbolt require a key to open. It might be a bit of an extra pain to always have to have your keys on hand when you’re ready to walk outside and enjoy the patio with a cup of coffee. But, in the end, this is the best possible choice.
And, as an extra tip, don’t leave an extra key in the lock all the time. This is just as bad as having the lever variety and gives a potential thief the option of taking your key with them after they leave with all of your stuff.
Option #4: Choose the Right Hinge
One of the hardest types of French doors to keep closed are those that open inward toward the interior of the home. Which, if you think about it, is the vast majority of door installations on American homes.
Special hardware called safety hinges can help prevent this from becoming a problem in keeping your French doors closed and secure when necessary. There are multiple types on the market, but they all work in virtually the same manner by screwing into the stud to make it impossible to remove doors without access to the interior of the building.
Some even have non-renewable pins, which would again make it difficult to remove the door on your own. For this case alone, it is a good idea to call a window or door contractor for help with the process of installation.
Option #5: Permanently Close One Door
One more option is to have a contractor permanently close one of the two doors. This can be done through a series of screws and bolts and makes the door set just as strong as a regular walk-through exterior door. It is usually the recommended course of action for high crime areas or those that regularly have hurricane-force winds.
However, this option is considered somewhat of a last resort. By doing this, you lose the ability to open both the doors, which sort of defeats the purpose of having French doors in the first place.
The Truth About Door Stops
Of course, most people ask about door stops on the exterior of the French doors to help keep them from flinging open in the wind and hitting against the house. This isn’t something that most professional window and door companies would recommend.
The issue here is what happens when the doors are safely closed. Two eye-sore stops are left protruding out of the ground or deck, which create major tripping hazards. With so many other options available for ensuring your French doors stay snug in place, there are better ways before turning to door stops.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Forget About the Glass
As a bonus tip, it is important to remember not to forget about the glass in your French doors. If you’re concerned about overall home safety and keeping your exterior doors secure, it would be a good idea to have them replaced with impact-resistant glass.
Why? With traditional glass, any would-be burglar can simply take a heavy object, smash in the glass, and attempt to gain access to your home. Even if you’ve taken the advice here and used better locks and hinges than you normally would, there’s still a mess to deal with.
Impact-resistant glass is much stronger. It simply does not break, but still has the beauty and elegance of traditional panes. It’s also much more safe to have around children and pets. It’s also not the same as tempered glass, which can still break but does so more cleanly.
Wrap Up: Keeping French Doors from Blowing Open
If you’re having a hard time keeping your French doors from blowing open, new hinges and locks are the way to go. For added security, you should also consider having a professional change the panes out for impact-resistant glass. Combining these ensures a safer and happier home for your whole family.