French doors are a fantastic way to let extra light into your home, and increase the sense of space. They’re often installed so that they open out onto the rear garden. This helps extra daylight enter your home in winter, and breaks down the barrier between your indoor and outdoor living spaces in the summer. This blog will teach you about some basic french door safety.

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French doors emerged as a way for French aristocrats to look out onto their estates. They were traditionally employed leading out onto upper-story balconies, for maximum visual impact.

For all their virtues, however, French doors do come with a few safety concerns – especially if they’re installed on upper floors, opening out onto balconies.  In households with inquisitive children and pets, keeping your French doors open might pose one sort of risk. Closing them the wrong way might pose another. With a few considerations though, you can make sure your french door safety isn’t a concern.

French Door Safety and Children

If you have young children, you don’t want them to wander outside unattended.

One way to prevent this is to invest in a French door safety gate. These are designed to fit within the frame of the door. They extend across it to form a barrier that children can’t get through. These vary in build quality and design. Cheaper safety gates are generally unattractive and made from thin fragile plastic that can snap within a few months. Pay a little more and you’ll get something sturdier.  Another thing to consider is whether the French door safety gate you’re considering requires a threshold at the bottom – they can present a trip hazard when the gate is retracted.

A French door gate will need to extend over the span of two doors, meaning they will cost more than single-door gates.  Since gates of this sort are needed for just a few years, you might consider tracking down a second-hand one.

Another benefit of safety gates is that they prevent children (or pets) from colliding with the door’s glass panels.

French Door Safety and Pets

Pets can be trickier to contain than children.  You could install a pet gate to your French doors, but your pet might not respect it right away.  An adult cat will be able to easily hop over a waist-height gate, as will many larger dogs.

If you have both a cat and a dog, you’ll know they have different needs. Cats like to roam the outside world as they please, whereas dogs need accompaniment outside. A French door safety dog gate with a cat-flap built-in can be a great solution. It gives your cat easy access in and out whilst keeping your dog inside.

Installing a cat-flap into your French door will save you the trouble of opening the door every time the cat wants to go out or come in. That said, modifying French door glass with a cat flap in this way can often mean major surgery. The glass panels themselves will often need to be entirely replaced. Slicing into a panel of double-glazing will break the seal and allow the gas within to escape.

How Do You Stop French Doors Slamming Shut?

So far we’ve considered how to prevent the children and pets from escaping your home via the French Doors – but what about the danger posed by slamming?  Trapped fingers and tails can be especially painful, while doors which are being constantly slammed are unlikely to enjoy long, happy lives.

French Doors that open outward will create room in the interior of a property, but they’re also at far greater risk from stray gusts of wind.  What’s required is a means of holding both doors into position.

Among the most straightforward is to drag a heavy object in front of both doors.  If you rarely find yourself opening and closing the doors, then this solution might prove effective – a sufficiently weighty rock or plant-pot might do just the trick, even if both pose something of a tripping hazard.

French Door Safety Doorstops

The same, of course, can be said of doorstops.  These stubby devices are built into the decking just outside the doors.  They prevent doors from hitting the wall, but they won’t protect children and pets in the same way.  One solution is to mount the doorstop on the tops of the hinges, but this isn’t ideal.

Retaining hooks are a better solution.  These attach to the walls on either side of your door, hooking neatly into the loops attached to the bottom.  This solution is discreet and unobtrusive.

Commercial construction offers another option.  French doors in public buildings tend to open outward so that people can easily exit in the event of a fire.  These doors use hydraulic closers, which will prevent the panel from swinging quite so violently. Door closers come in the form of boxes that sit on either side of the door’s exterior.  Even the smallest door closers are fairly easy to spot, and so while they might prevent the door from slamming shut, some homeowners may not be willing to pay the aesthetic cost.

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