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-   -   French Doors are a PITA (http://www.diychatroom.com/f104/french-doors-pita-123916/)

JackOfAllTrades 11-18-2011 08:32 PM

French Doors are a PITA
 
Not by choice (tract home), I have French Doors that open out to the backyard. They are of decent quality as far as FD's go. The problem I have noticed is that ALL French Doors leak and have gaps in them allowing bugs to intrude your home.

Everyone that I know personally that has FD's will have these issues also. We are talking about all makes, models and designs, but they ALL LEAK. All it takes is wind driven rain, high winds, temperature fluctuations, etc, and the seals on the door contract, expand and allow for water and bug intrusions.

Plus if you ever had a straight line gust of 50MPH+, these doors will actually begin to flex in, you can actually hear the seals and the door moving & wind coming in. :huh:

With all that being said, when I build my own home, I will NEVER install exterior facing FD's. Just give me a normal single hung door.

If you live in scorpion country like I do, French Doors are a scorpions best friend as they will find a way in through the rubber seals and gaps on these doors. :mad:

Just Bill 11-20-2011 07:59 AM

I have done a number of outswing doors by Andersen and Marvin, and never had a complaint from the customer, once they were adjusted. What is the manufacturer?? You need a good door person to take a look. It may need rehanging, or just a simple adjustment.

oh'mike 11-20-2011 08:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Just Bill (Post 775181)
I have done a number of outswing doors by Andersen and Marvin, and never had a complaint from the customer, once they were adjusted. What is the manufacturer?? You need a good door person to take a look. It may need rehanging, or just a simple adjustment.

Same here----I've got an Anderson going in on Wednesday--I have never had a callback in 20 years---

I do hope you are wrong---these are good customers and I hate call backs.

---Mike---

JackOfAllTrades 11-22-2011 08:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Just Bill (Post 775181)
I have done a number of outswing doors by Andersen and Marvin, and never had a complaint from the customer, once they were adjusted. What is the manufacturer?? You need a good door person to take a look. It may need rehanging, or just a simple adjustment.

Those people must not have the door exposed to wind driven rain and they must not live in an area where scorpions or other such insects crawl through the gaps in the door.

French Doors are a flawed design from the start. Some models are worse than others but they are like garage entry doors. They CANNOT seal 100%, it is impossible. Every garage car entry door allows wind and bugs/critters in. It's impossible to seal the door 100%. French Doors are the same. You have a large opening door that has dissimilar surfaces. Metal that expands and contracts depending on the temperature and humidity. A rubber seal that shrinks, expands, flexes, etc. All while the door has to be able to open and close smoothly without sticking. At times the door will seal better than other times, all dependent what kind of weather you have. It's not a reliable design for outdoor exposure.

Anyone living in an area with high winds knows that French Doors are a huge problem/weak-link when it comes to high winds and rain. Anyone living in an area with scorpions knows that French Doors are a scorpions best friend.

Jessidog 12-04-2011 09:51 AM

I live in south Florida where we get the occasional high wind (called hurricanes). I have replaced four sliding glass patio doors with French doors. While they do not have impact-resistant glass, the frame is designed to withstand 120+ mph winds. By code, the doors swing outward. The only sealing issue that I do not like is along the edge of the door that opens. I can see a very small line of light along the edge. However, under wind pressure, the door is pressed against the seal so I do not think water leakage will be an issue. A small adjustment of the deadbolt and door latch will likely pull the seal a little tighter. I replaced the screw hinges with longer ones since the doors are very heavy. The first unit was installed about 5 years ago and it looks and operates as well as when it was new. The French doors are the single best change I have made to this house.

oh'mike 12-04-2011 09:58 AM

Glad to hear that you are pleased with french exterior doors--The ones I installed last week have an improved --three point latching mechanism--pulls the door shut --top-bottom and middle--

Mighty tight --(it was an inswing door)

Jessidog 12-04-2011 10:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oh'mike (Post 785624)
Glad to hear that you are pleased with french exterior doors--The ones I installed last week have an improved --three point latching mechanism--pulls the door shut --top-bottom and middle--

Mighty tight --(it was an inswing door)

The three point latch sounds like a solid idea. Does it have any type of a cam action to pull the door tighter as the latch is closed? Can these latches be installed in an existing door or is it new construction only?

Daniel Holzman 12-04-2011 10:14 AM

I installed an exterior Marvin inswing French door abput four months ago (I did the installation myself). We have been through several driving rains, with winds up to 50 mph, which are not uncommon in this area. There have been no leaks so far. I suspect that some of the issues with leakage of French doors has to do with inferior installation, especially flashing details. As some of the long time readers of this forum know, I do forensic investigation of failed buildings (so far I have looked at over 250 damaged buildings).

In my experience, improper flashing of windows, doors, and skylights is surprisingly common, leading to leaks which are sometimes misinterpreted as leakage of the actual window, when in fact the water is getting around the window, past the flashing, and into the house. I appreciate that French doors have a seemingly weak seal between the swing jamb and the door, but in my experience, this is not an insurmountable design defect. Any exerior door is capable of leaking if improperly designed, improperly installed, or if the seals have worn out.

oh'mike 12-04-2011 10:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jessidog (Post 785634)
The three point latch sounds like a solid idea. Does it have any type of a cam action to pull the door tighter as the latch is closed? Can these latches be installed in an existing door or is it new construction only?

Cam action--yes--Anderson--must be a newer design--very nice and tight--I was impressed---

Snav 12-04-2011 10:40 AM

So - Jack . . . you live in a tract home suburb. So everyone else has the same problem with their French Doors?

You know: if you door is creating SUCH a problem you can do away with it - get a nice single door that has windows which flank the sides and thus occupies the same area (width wise).

Why not?

I couldn't enjoy living in a place where my house looked just like everyone else's - I'd seek for countless ways to stand out and doing away with a door I hated would most certainly thrill me.

Ironlight 12-04-2011 10:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JackOfAllTrades (Post 774417)
Not by choice (tract home), I have French Doors that open out to the backyard. They are of decent quality as far as FD's go. The problem I have noticed is that ALL French Doors leak and have gaps in them allowing bugs to intrude your home.

Everyone that I know personally that has FD's will have these issues also. We are talking about all makes, models and designs, but they ALL LEAK. All it takes is wind driven rain, high winds, temperature fluctuations, etc, and the seals on the door contract, expand and allow for water and bug intrusions.

Plus if you ever had a straight line gust of 50MPH+, these doors will actually begin to flex in, you can actually hear the seals and the door moving & wind coming in. :huh:

With all that being said, when I build my own home, I will NEVER install exterior facing FD's. Just give me a normal single hung door.

If you live in scorpion country like I do, French Doors are a scorpions best friend as they will find a way in through the rubber seals and gaps on these doors. :mad:

Interesting. I've had french doors in every house I have ever lived in for the past 25 years...one set in our current house, four sets in the previous house, and three sets in the house before that, and have never had any of the problems you describe.

If bugs and rain are getting in then you must have some significant alignment or fit and finish problems. If it's a tract home then I would assume the quality of the unit itself is probably fair at best and the installation may be less than satisfactory.

Jessidog 12-04-2011 11:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman (Post 785637)
In my experience, improper flashing of windows, doors, and skylights is surprisingly common, leading to leaks which are sometimes misinterpreted as leakage of the actual window, when in fact the water is getting around the window, past the flashing, and into the house. I appreciate that French doors have a seemingly weak seal between the swing jamb and the door, but in my experience, this is not an insurmountable design defect. Any exerior door is capable of leaking if improperly designed, improperly installed, or if the seals have worn out.

I installed the French doors and I am in the process of replacing the windows (three more to go). The house is cement block with stucco, pretty standard in south Florida. The French doors (and original patio sliders) do not have a traditional flashing, probably because they are under an overhang of at least 18". The doors will get hit by wind driven rain, but there is not the water pouring over the top of the door that would happen without the overhang.

The windows also do not have a traditional flashing. They are set back about 3" from the face of the wall. The original windows only had a bead a caulk between the outer edge of the window and the stucco finish. I have been surprised how little water got past these windows after nearly 20 years.

David

JackOfAllTrades 12-08-2011 01:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snav (Post 785664)
So - Jack . . . you live in a tract home suburb. So everyone else has the same problem with their French Doors?

You know: if you door is creating SUCH a problem you can do away with it - get a nice single door that has windows which flank the sides and thus occupies the same area (width wise).

Why not?

I couldn't enjoy living in a place where my house looked just like everyone else's - I'd seek for countless ways to stand out and doing away with a door I hated would most certainly thrill me.

I will just have to live with it. There are too many things I don't like about this home, therefore it would cost too much to change it. Plus I don't want to live in this home that long. I plan on building a custom home.

IMHO, all tract homes suffer from poor craftsmanship and hardware. It's just the nature of the beast. Some are worse than others but they are all "cookie cutter" homes.

When you live in scorpion country (Arizona), you soon realize what works and what doesn't work in keeping scorpions out. They can squeeze through an opening the width of a playing card. :eek: That makes French Doors NOT good in keeping scorpions out of your home.

AllanJ 12-08-2011 06:26 AM

Except for where the two door panels come together, a French door set is no different from a single panel swinging door.

I trust that your French door set has both top and bottom latches going into the door frame for one of the panels. If the doors are of sufficiently light duty that they still flex inward in the middle in the wind, then the panel with the top and bottom latches can be reinforced with an angle iron going from top to bottom

Clayburn 12-09-2011 10:45 AM

I've never had issues with French doors, and they look great.


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