External French doors are a great option for your property, opening up the space between inside and outside and letting light into your home.
French doors require little maintenance because of their simple construction and the standard of modern manufacture. French doors will not have issues you might get with bi-folds for example with tracks and folding mechanisms.
Occasionally though you will experience some problems with your French doors. The good news is that we’ve gathered together the most commonly occurring issues along with often simple solutions.
Why Won’t My External French Doors Close Properly?
External French doors not closing properly will generally be down to misalignment of the doors which happens over time. If your French doors are new then it could be that poor installation is causing the issue. With older doors it may be wear and tear on the hinges due to the doors being in constant use and being heavy.
Are the Doors New?
If the French doors are new and have been installed by a company or tradesperson, your first action should be to contact the installer. Don’t be too harsh on them initially however, as sometimes for all kinds of reasons doors may need some adjustment after settling. If you have put the doors in yourself, have a look at our guide on how to fit French doors.
Locate the Issue with the Doors
To get to the bottom of why your external French doors aren’t closing you, start by opening and closing each door individually to look for where the door may be catching. Also open and close the French doors together. Once you find out where exactly the problem is you will be able to address it.
Check the Door Hinges
The reason your external French door won’t close could be the door hinges. An easy fix will be to tighten the hinges. If the screws won’t tighten, you may want to replace them with larger screws or use some form of packing or wall plug when tightening the screw.
Consider Planing Wooden Door Frames
If that doesn’t work and the French doors have wooden frames, you may need to remove the doors and plane the edges.If you are comfortable with this kind of job then you will need a couple of sawhorses to set the doors down on. Hand plane off small amounts, regularly rehanging the doors to see when you have planed enough wood from them. Once the doors are closing properly you will need to sand the edge of the doors for a smooth finish. Apply primer or a varnish to protect the door against the elements.
Why Won’t My External French Doors Lock?
External French doors not locking could be down to the locking mechanism or the handles of the doors. Most likely it will be something obstructing the frame or an alignment problem. So, first of all, check if it is an alignment issue with the doors that is preventing the lock from operating correctly. Then check there is no debris or household items caught in the frame. It might be something as simple as the doormat getting trapped! Modern French doors are secure, by manufacture and design and checking for these issues will keep them so.
Check the Multipoint Locking System
If the French door has a multipoint locking system you will want to check each bolt to make sure there are no blockages, clearing them if there are.
Use Silicone Spray to Lubricate the Lock
If your key won’t fit into the lock or open it, you can use a silicone spray to lubricate or remove any dirt in the lock. Silicone spray will come with a very small pipe which will allow you to direct the silicone into the lock.
Check if the Key is Bent or Worn
If the key is bent or worn, you will need to get a new key cut. If you are unlucky then the lock mechanism may very well have failed and you will need to obtain a replacement.
Why Do My External French Doors Leak?
External French doors that are made to modern manufacturing standards and installed correctly should not leak. Older French doors may leak for a number of reasons.
Check the Weatherstrip
If your French door is leaking along the jambs or in between the doors it could be that the weatherstrip has deteriorated over time and needs replacing. And if your door does not have weatherstripping this is something that you should consider.
Clear the uPVC Door Frame Drainage Holes
A uPVC French door will have drainage wells along the bottom of the frame. If the drainage wells are blocked, this can lead to water seeping into your home. Make sure they are clear and free of blockages.
Fill Any Cracks in the Doors
Check your French door for cracks in the area around the glass. If there are cracks fill them with caulking, or if wooden doors, wood filler, as the cracks could be letting in both moisture and drafts.
Why Is My External French Door Latch Stuck?
An external French door that won’t latch could be caused by:
Obstructions around the door frame – Check for any dirt or objects that may have become trapped between the door and the frame.
Poor alignment – Alignment is a common problem with French doors and often caused by hinges that need adjusting. Try tightening the screws or replacing them.
A seized latch – Lubricating the latch with silicone spray should help the latch operate smoothly, but if the latch is worn, it will need replacing in the long term.
Incorrect installation – If the door or the latch has not been installed properly problems will occur. Check the latch screws and location of the latch.
A warped door – If your external French door is made out of wood, hot weather may have caused the wood to warp. The good news is a slightly bowed door can be removed ,sanded & sealed, and then a heavy weight placed on the affected area overnight to straighten the door.