Exterior French Door Average Size (1)

French doors are a classic and timeless architectural feature that can add elegance, charm and functionality to a home. As their name suggests, they originated in France but have been popular in the US and elsewhere for over a century.

I’m a homeowner looking to install new exterior French doors and wanted to learn about the most common and average sizes to ensure I get doors that fit properly. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll share everything I know about standard exterior French door sizes, dimensions, materials, styles and more.




Average Exterior French Door Sizes and Dimensions

 

Materials for Exterior French Doors (1)

The first step to selecting exterior French doors is understanding the most common sizes and dimensions. This ensures an adequately fitted door that resembles your home’s facade.

Here are the key average exterior French door sizes to know:

  • Standard height – 79.5 to 82 inches tall. The most common standard height is 80 inches.
  • Standard width – 30 to 72 inches wide per door. Standard widths are 36 and 48 inches per door.
  • Total width – The total width for a pair of French doors is typically between 5 to 10 feet wide. The most common total widths are:
    • 5 feet wide (60 inches, from two 30-inch doors)
    • 6 feet wide (72 inches, from two 36-inch doors)
    • 8 feet wide (96 inches, from two 48-inch doors)

I found that widths are commonly available in 2-inch increments, so 30″, 32″, 34″, etc. Heights are usually available in 80″ and 84″.




Door Opening Size

 

Average Exterior French Door Sizes and Dimensions (1)

When selecting your exterior French doors, you’ll need to measure the rough opening where you plan to install them.

Here are some tips for measuring:

  • Measure the width at the top, middle and bottom of the opening. Use the smallest measurement.
  • Measure the height at the left, right and middle. Use the smallest measurement.
  • For the width, add 2 inches to allow room for the door frame and hinges.
  • For the height, add 2.5 inches to allow room along the top for the header.
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So, for example, if your opening measures 34″ x 82″, you would need doors with a 32″ width and 79.5″ height.

It’s important to account for variances in your opening size to ensure your doors will fit properly. Don’t assume your opening is perfectly square!




Materials for Exterior French Doors

French doors are available in a variety of materials, each with their characteristics:

Wood

  • Pros: Timeless, classic appearance. It can be painted or stained. Good insulator.
  • Cons: Requires regular maintenance and sealing. More prone to weather damage.
  • Popular woods: Mahogany, oak, pine

Steel

  • Pros: Very durable and long-lasting. Low maintenance. Energy efficient.
  • Cons: Can transfer more heat/cold than other materials. Industrial appearance.

Fiberglass

  • Pros: Strong, impact-resistant and durable. Low maintenance.
  • Cons: Less energy efficient than wood or metal. It can be more expensive.

Aluminum

  • Pros: Lightweight yet very durable. Resists rust and corrosion.
  • Cons: Not as good of an insulator. Can dent.

Vinyl

  • Pros: Affordable option. Low maintenance, no painting needed. Good insulator.
  • Cons: Less durable than wood/metal. It can warp or discolour over time.

I wanted a material that was classic looking but also durable and energy efficient, so I opted for fibreglass exterior French doors. Make sure to consider your climate and needs when selecting a material.




Exterior French Door Styles

 

Installation Considerations (1)

Beyond selecting a size and material, there are many different styles of exterior French doors. Some popular options include:

Window Pane Styles

  • 15 Lite – 15 glass panes per door, with muntins creating a grid pattern
  • 9 Lite – 9 glass panes per door in a simple 3×3 grid
  • 6 Lite – 6 vertical glass panes per door
  • 3 Lite – 3 vertical glass panes per door
  • 2 Lite – A simple double-pane glass door

Other Styles

  • Arched – A curved top French door to match arched architectural details
  • True Divided Lite – Individual panes of glass instead of a grid overlay
  • Simulated Divided Lite – Grid pattern is an overlay on a single pane of glass
  • Full Lite – A single pane of glass without any grids/muntins

I decided to go with six lite French doors with simulated divided panes to get a classic panelled look without the hassle of true divided lites.




Additional Exterior French Door Options

To customize your exterior French doors even further, there are some excellent additional options to consider:

  • Sidelites – Fixed glass panels installed on one or both sides of the doors. This is great for wider openings.
  • Transoms – A window above the door, helpful for taller openings.
  • Arches – Doors with arched tops to match your home’s architecture.
  • Custom curves – Doors made in unusual, curved shapes for unique homes.
  • Custom sizes – Get a custom-made door if you have an odd opening size.
  • Double doors – Two operable door panels that swing open.
  • Single door – One operable door paired with a stationary panel.
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I decided to add 36-inch sidelines to my six lite French doors to span a more expansive living room opening leading onto my deck. This maximized the light entering my home.




Installation Considerations

Installing exterior French doors is best left to professionals in most cases, but here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The threshold or sill height allows water to drain correctly. Avoid thresholds that are too high or low.
  • Flashing should be installed above the doors during installation to prevent water intrusion.
  • Make sure doors swing freely and latch/lock properly once installed. Adjust hinges if needed.
  • Caulk any interior gaps between the frame and walls for appearance and efficiency.
  • Adding a roof overhang above the doors provides weather protection and shade.

I hired a contractor to install my new fibreglass French doors and sidelights. They did a great job ensuring everything was levelled correctly, sealed and secured. I’m thrilled with the result!




Cost of Exterior French Doors

 

Exterior French Door Styles (1)

The cost of exterior French doors depends on several factors:

  • Size of the doors
  • Material/type of door
  • Single vs double-door
  • Simple vs ornate decorative styles
  • Basic vs upgraded hardware
  • Pre-hung vs slab doors
  • Additional options like sidelines or arches
  • Whether the installation is included

Basic pre-hung exterior French doors start around $400 – $800, but high-end custom doors can be $5,000+. The average cost of new exterior French doors installed is $1,500 – $3,000.

I paid $2,200 to have beautiful 6-lite fibreglass French doors with sidelights professionally installed.




Benefits of Exterior French Doors

There are many great reasons to install exterior French doors:

  • Allow natural light to fill your home
  • Easy access to patios, porches and decks
  • Enhance curb appeal with beautiful architectural details
  • Visually open up interior spaces
  • It suits many home styles like farmhouses, cottages, etc.
  • Provide entry access along with standard doors
  • Allow for cross breezes to cool your home naturally

I love how much brighter my living room is now, thanks to the large expanse of glass provided by my new French doors and sidelights. And I can easily open them up to let fresh air in on lovely days. They improve both the aesthetics and enjoyment of my home.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about exterior French doors:

Are French doors energy efficient?

It depends on the material, quality and proper installation. High-performance glazing, weatherstripping and adequate weather protection improve efficiency.

Do French doors open in or out?

Most exterior sets are out-swinging, opening onto a porch or patio. Some sets can be ordered as in-swinging if you prefer.

How secure are exterior French doors?

They are generally entirely secure, especially modern doors made from robust materials with multiple-point locking systems. Install security screens for added protection.

Can you paint or stain exterior French doors?

Wood and fibreglass doors can be painted or stained. Vinyl and metal doors often have colour baked in but could be painted.

What is the difference between French doors and patio doors?

French doors are hinged doors that open outward. Patio doors slide horizontally on tracks. Both provide access to outdoor patios or decks.

Should I get custom-sized exterior French doors?

If you have an unusual opening size, custom sizing is likely the way to go for the perfect fit. But standard sizes work well for most homes.

Do I need a contractor to install exterior French doors?

Installing exterior doors is complex, so hiring a knowledgeable contractor is highly recommended unless you are experienced.

How long do exterior French doors last?

With proper materials, installation and maintenance, you can expect 20-30 years of life. Some high-quality wood doors last 50+ years.

 

Door Opening Size (1)




Final Thoughts

I hope this comprehensive guide gave you all the details on standard exterior French door sizes, styles, materials and more. The classic elegance and abundant natural light from French doors can dramatically improve the enjoyability of your home. Just be sure to accurately measure your opening, select durable materials suited to your climate, and properly install your new doors.

If you have any other questions about choosing exterior French doors for your home, please get in touch with me! I’m happy to help anyone considering these timelessly beautiful architectural elements.




James Davis

James Davis

I’m James Davis, a carpenter with eight years of experience in carpentry services, repairs, installations, renovations, and maintenance of interior doors. I have a diploma in carpentry and joiner trade from the Education Skills Australia Institute and take pride in delivering high-quality results to ensure customer satisfaction. I’m a blog writer for Octopus Doors Company and enjoy sharing my knowledge and tips on maintaining security measures and choosing the right door materials, paints, or handle styles. I specialize in custom-made interior doors and strive to make every home look fabulous. Contact me anytime for help with door-related issues.

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