Pros and Cons of French Doors

Kathryn Pomroy
Written by Kathryn Pomroy
Updated July 13, 2021
White french doors
EMPPhotography / E+ via Getty Images

French doors are functional, elegant, and undeniably pretty, but they're not the best fit for every space

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

French doors are beautiful and stylish, but may not be practical for every situation. For example, if you need to keep an eye on the steak on the grill or the kids playing kickball in the backyard. And, some homeowners may be concerned that French doors are not very energy efficient and let in too much cold (or hot) air. Learn about the pluses and minuses of French doors so you can make the best choice for your home.

Benefits of French doors

French doors are made of a sturdy frame around one or more panels of glass—either clear, opaque or decorative—installed in matching pairs or in a series of doors. The glass panels in French doors are smaller than in sliding doors. That means if a poorly tossed baseball breaks a pane, it will be cheaper to replace. 

Other benefits include:

Added Security

Exterior French doors tend to offer more security when compared to other all glass doors or sliding glass doors. That’s because French doors have large frames and smaller glass panels.

Aesthetically Pleasing

If you ask us, French doors are beautiful, both on the inside and outside. It’s also possible that replacing standard windows or doors with French doors can increase the value of your home by adding curb appeal.

Makes the Space Feel Larger

Not only do French doors bring in light from the outside, but they also make the whole space feel larger than standard windows. They can fill wide interior door openings and create a beautiful transition between rooms that can be closed off when needed. French doors can also make an outside patio feel like an extension of the interior.


French doors come in a variety of sizes and materials that allow them to fit in a wide variety of design styles. The most popular framing materials are wood, aluminum, steel, and fiberglass. Clear glass is standard, but you can choose opaque glass for added security.

Added Natural Light and Ventilation

French doors bring the outdoors in with an abundance of natural light and excellent ventilation when opened completely. Not only does this make your room light and airy, but it can save you money on your electric bill by lighting the room during the day.

Livingroom with french doors
FOTOGRAFIA INC./ E+ via Getty Images

Drawbacks to French Doors

Require More Space

Because French doors are hung on hinges, they need more space when fully open than sliding glass doors. If your room is small or the door will be positioned near a large piece of furniture such as a table or sofa, French doors may not be the best fit.

Can Be Pricey

Although French doors can add to the value of your home, they can be a bit more expensive than regular doors. The final cost will depend on the materials and the size of the door. 

French patio doors cost between $500 for low-end options and $4,000 for pre-designed, custom, or larger alternatives. If you hire a pro to install your French door, you can pay anywhere between $400 and $1,400 in most situations.

May Not Fit Every Decor

French doors have an inherently traditional feel that may seem out of place in an ultra-modern home.

Not Very Energy Efficient

No matter how elegant French doors look, they are not very energy efficient. They have exposed gaps that are difficult to seal, and must be opened more fully and for longer than sliding glass doors.

French doors: the bottom line

French Doors have benefits and drawbacks over other types of doors, but they do offer natural light and better ventilation. Even so, they also take up more space and are not as energy efficient as some other types of doors. 

Ultimately, you should choose what’s best for you and your family, along with what fits in with your home’s decor and your budget.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.