Almost immediately after glass became common in Europe, it was incorporated into doors, and for the most part, these doors came in a form that remains popular to this day. The French door is a classic sort of double door, which most commonly opens outwardly and incorporates two or more glass panels. It’s often used as a means of accessing a patio or garden, thanks to its ability to allow large amounts of light through while still allowing the occupants of a house to see the world outside. For many of the same reasons, French doors are also useful internal doors inside the house as a way of bridging the gap between two rooms you often find yourself moving between.
Interiors come in many styles and arrangements, and so too do internal French doors. When you’re shopping for a set, you’ll want to select something to match your existing décor. Or, if you’re looking at redecorating, you might take the opposite approach – selecting the door that you most like the look of, and building the rest of your interior to match it.
Let’s examine the interior French door a little more closely.
The feature which defines a set of French doors is glass. Without at least two panes, a French door cannot sensibly be described as such. However, glass panels can be arranged in a multitude of different ways – and it’s by changing this arrangement that the variety of different looks found in French doors can be achieved. For example, the ‘Aston’ style incorporates a trio of vertical glass panels, which run the length of the door. Other designs might consist of a single glass sheet which encompasses the entire face, or horizontal and chequered patterns. Some, on the other hand, incorporate irregular and eye-catching shapes, like half-crescents, which are guaranteed to draw the eye.
As well as directly changing the appearance of the door, these differing styles will also impact the amount of the light that’s able to enter the room, and how much empty space you’ll perceive whilst you’re in it. If you feel that your room is excessively dark, then opting for a set of doors with lots of glass might be just the solution. On the other hand, if you’d like to maintain a sense of separation from one room to another, a set of French doors might be just the thing.
Like all of the interior wooden doors we sell, French doors are available in engineered form. This is a technique which sees the interior of the door made up with different planks of wood, pressed together and sandwiched between two faces.
This engineered approach is especially worthwhile when it comes to French doors, as engineered doors are a great deal more resistant to warping than solid wood doors. This is because of the way that wood responds to changes in temperature and humidity over time. In a solid-wood door, the wood will absorb moisture, and expand slightly when it’s hot, and contract when it gets colder. Over time, this warping effect can cause the door to change shape – and since the grain of the wood isn’t perfectly straight, the result will be a door that’s slightly crooked. In French doors, this might mean that the section of wood holding the glass in place falls away from it, causing a leak through which draughts can pass. By placing different lengths of wood next to each other in the core of the door, the warping effect will take place in many different directions at once – and so the different planks of wood will cancel one another out.
As well as the functional merit of being resistant to warping, engineered doors tend to be less expensive than their solid-wood counterparts. By using less costly and attractive wood on the interior, and more desirable wood on the exterior, it’s possible to save on materials without compromising the look of the finished product. This needn’t suggest, however, that engineered doors cut back in terms of quality; our engineered doors are substantial and weighty, and will last for many years to come.
Perhaps the biggest influence on the way a door looks in your home is the finish it’s given. This is the coating that’s applied to the exterior of the door, which will help to keep the moisture level of the wood constant, and thereby preserve it for longer. Finishes come in several different forms – there are transparent coatings, like wax, which are designed to penetrate the wood, emphasising its natural grain and forming a protective barrier against water – preventing it from getting in or out. Then there are painted finishes which will transform the colour of the door entirely.
You’ll find both styles of finish represented amongst our catalogue – so that you can install your door straight away and have it look immaculate from day one. We understand that every home is different and come with different requirements, and so you might want to apply your own finish. Doing so couldn’t be easier; just select one of our unfinished doors, and paint it whichever colour you like before installing the hardware and then the door.
French doors are an excellent way to divide your living space without compromising on light distribution and that essential feeling of space. They can be used to separate hallways from living rooms, and living rooms from kitchens, and yet maintain the sense that each room is part of the same home. If you’d like, you’ll be able to prop open your French doors permanently, to create a single living space – but if you’re considering doing this long-term, you might prefer to take a look at our folding and sliding interior doors as well!
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