Sarah’s House: New French Doors

We’ve completed another task on our Punch List! New french doors! After a couple of visits to the building supply house and some comparison shopping, I ordered and they were delivered and installed.

Why we replaced these doors,

  • Increase security
  • Original doors were rotten and patched
  • Increase efficiency
  • Increase functionality
  • Improve appearance

Some of you might be interested in a more detailed account of the decision and purchase process if not– I’d scroll down and skip straight to the before and after.

Before seeking a quote,Joseph my carpenter measured for me. I asked him to measure because sometimes I goof on measurements and I knew we had no room for error. For my first trip to the local building supply I walked in knowing that I wanted a quote on aluminum clad Weather Shield doors. My parents have Weather Shield windows at their mountain cabin and I am very impressed by the beauty and the quality.

An aluminum clad door has a wood core with a durable aluminum skin on the outside that looks like its been baked on.

The Weather Shield quote was almost $6,000, with installation the total cost would’ve been just slightly over $7,000. Yeah so…back to the drawing board.

barbara westbrook drapes french doors

Barbara Westbrook

On to a Pella quote at Lowe’s, that came in somewhere between $7K – $8K. OK so let’s explore some different materials–back to the local building supply for visit #2. I quickly told them vinyl was out and these doors are not covered under a porch so wood was discouraged and I’m no purist when it comes to material, so fiberglass was introduced as a possibility. I looked at some fiberglass doors on display and decided to price those. We spent an hour looking through the catalog to ensure the manufacturer offered the style I wanted, established that we wanted a right hand and left hand and that we wanted double outswing. Finally, get ready for the difference–$1800.00 for two sets! The fiberglass doors were slightly shorter than the raw opening by 4″ and I needed to return home to make sure that the width would work and there would still be room for interior trim.

Markham Roberts living room Pavoncelli

Markham Roberts

After doing my homework it was time for visit #3 to the building supply I brought Joseph along to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes concerning measurement or framing limitations. Everything was set the doors would work and so I ordered. We wait for three weeks.

Charles Fradin living room french doors

Visit #4 was dedicated to hardware selection. I loved the look of the Emtek Quincy lockset I installed at the Midland Duplex so I did a lot of searching online at places like Direct Door Hardware. I ultimately decided that I wanted to see and feel something before I purchased so off I went to look at the Emtek display. Before Emtek I drooled on the Rocky Mountain display, that stuff is like art and admired some locally crafted hardware called the Longleaf Collection.During visit #4 I also ordered new hardware for the kitchen door.

Some coveted Rocky Mountain hardware,

rocky mountain multi point lockset

This is what I purchased for the french doors,


emtek durango lever rosette #3

emtek square deadbolt

and for the kitchen door,

emtek keyed sideplate bronze

I traded the lever for a knob on both the interior and exterior.

The hardware arrived from CA in about 4 days and the building supply keyed all the locks alike for me before I picked the hardware up.

Installation day arrived. When Dan and I were initially discussing budget, he asked me to estimate the cost of installation which I determined would be about $500.00. I think I got a little cocky about how easy it was going to be and I forgot the condition of the exterior walls and the foundation.

So Joseph & company began ripping out the old doors and framing, things were going well until they pulled out the threshold and revealed completely rotten framing. Over time water leaked under the exterior siding and because the side of the house had not been flashed properly, the moisture rotted the framing as well as a small metal support beam to the point of almost total decomposition.

Flashing- thin layer of waterproof material installed beneath the siding that keeps water from getting into places it doesn’t belong. It can come in different forms including aluminum, copper, lead, galvanized steel, PVC, or bituminous material (tar).

So because Joseph had to rebuild the framing and add flashing the installation costs came to almost $900 and the work took a day and a half.

And finally here’s the before,

right side

Right french doors
left side

left french doors

exterior view left side, the old screen doors were removed

left french doors exterior


left side



right side


exterior view


The curtains are Peyton drapes. I like them because they are affordable, lined and have a nice weight. They are french ivory and I wish I had purchased white but I cannot return them now because I ordered them so long ago, so I’ll just have to live with them for a while. I hung them with drapery rings purchased at Overstock and mounted them on Umbra rods I’ve had for a few years.

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  • I’ve been following this “punch list” from the beginning. Yay for another item crossed off. It looks great, even with that giant hole it may have put in your budget…I’d say worth it.

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