You want more space in your home and have been playing with a few ideas. One of those happens to be using the garage as something else. For that conversion, you’re going to need to get rid of everything that says the space was once a garage, including the garage door. You might consider a few door options, but one of the all-time favorites happens to be French doors. “But can I replace a garage door with French doors?” you ask. Of course, you can—and we’re going to tell you how.
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What is a French Door?
Before we jump into whether garage doors can be swapped with French doors, how-to, and the perks, let’s cover something basic. The French door is a classic style that comes with a pair of doors, usually with windows. French doors pivot on the hinges mounted to the left and right sides of the frame while opening and closing from the middle. When both doors open, the entire doorway is an open space with no post.
French doors are a wonderfully popular option that mixes functionality, aesthetics, and natural light. You can use French doors in a number of ways, but the most popular involve entrances to patios and outdoor spaces. However, they are also popular for privacy matters and when adding on to a home or creating another room.
For example, you might want to replace a garage door with French doors after transitioning your garage into a hangout, extra room, in-law suite, or something else.
Can I Replace a Garage Door With French Doors?
Yes, you can replace a single garage door with a pair of French doors. You can also replace all doors in a two- or three-car garage with French doors if you desire. The conversion from garage to livable space is easy when you use French doors for windows and entrances.
However, there are a few requirements you’re going to have to meet in order to make the transformation a success.
Requirements for Replacing Garage Doors with French Doors
First and foremost, you need to have permission to alter your garage and use French doors. The place you go is the local city authority. Depending on where you live, there may be some conditions. You will fill out an application for an inspection of your garage prior to the replacement.
An inspector will arrive, survey the garage, and if you get permission, you can then start shopping around for some French doors. Keep in mind that, without permission from the governing body of your city, replacing your garage door with French doors is illegal.
Next, you have to fulfill the following requisites:
- Once you have received permission from the city authority, you then make a blueprint of the intended transformation. If you have never made a blueprint before, it is best to bring in an expert and have them do it.
- If you intend to use the garage for a livable room, you will need to add insulation. There is also residential electrical wiring that needs to be added.
- If the garage walls aren’t in the best condition, another requirement is to repair the walls and paint them.
- Depending on the end result, you may need to consider plumbing as well.
Yes, all this has to be considered just to put French doors in place of a garage door. Even if the French doors are purely cosmetic, you need to be prepared to do much more than add the doors!
How to Replace a Garage Door With French Doors
So you’ve moved forward with the process and are now ready to change out the garage doors with French doors. The process can be a bit complex at some points, but most DIYers can successfully install the doors without issue. You will need the following tools:
- Miter saw
- Power drill
- Foam sheets
- 10D finish nail
- 4×4 header
- French door set
Steps to Replacing a Garage Door with French Doors
Having gathered the tools and your replacement doors, follow these steps:
Uninstall the garage door. Start by removing the motor. You must also account for the tracks, chains, and pulleys that move the door.
Carefully unscrew the panels on the garage door, working from the top down.
Measure the distance between the garage door opening and the width of the French doors. Depending on the width of the original garage door, you might have to install a new wall and cut out a space for the French doors. However, if the garage door was only for a single vehicle, you simply measure the length of the garage opening and French doors. Subtract the two lengths then divide that number in half to get the distance of a single French door.
Build a door frame. You will need a bottom plate, still plate, and studs. Anchor the still plate wall to the floor with a power drill.
Use the miter saw to cut off some of the top plates. This allows enough space for the studs to be placed on either side of the door.
Install the studs between the still plate and top plate. Make sure the studs are placed and leveled correctly. You can also use a spirit level to ensure the studs are straight. Double-check the door frame. Any height issues in the frame will cause issues with installation and later use.
Use a 3-inch screw or nail on the studs. Often, pre-hung French doors have screws included in the assembly pack. Alternatively, you can use shims.
Pre-measure and cut the 4×4 header before attaching it to the top of the door frame. If you need to know where to place the header, temporarily attach the doors to the frame. 3-inch screws or nails can be used to place the header.
Attach the foam sheets to the sill plates and beside the header as insulation (if needed). The foam sheets help with reducing moisture in the garage. Cut the foam sheets with a knife. Make sure they fit properly against the walls.
Apply an adhesive sealant along the bottom of the frame.
Check your installation manual for the French doors. Follow those instructions to ensure you install the doors correctly. Use the hinges, screws, and whatever other hardware comes with the doors. Put everything in the proper spot, as well.
Once you have the doors installed, open and close them to make sure everything works. The doors shouldn’t rub against the frame.
Attach the studs to the header and top plate to keep the French doors in place.
Apply a trimmed baseboard to the area where the new and old garage walls meet. You can also use cement siding or wood to hide evidence of the renovation. It also makes the work more aesthetically pleasing.
Although the video below features a shed, the installation gives you a good representation of what to expect:
Pros and Cons of French Doors
Still up in the air about replacing the garage door with French doors? Here are some advantages and disadvantages of the style. You might find that French doors are perfect or start looking for an alternative.
French Door Pros
- Aesthetic. One of the reasons people opt for French doors is the beauty. If you want to increase curbside appeal or make your home look more elegant from the inside out, French doors are ideal.
- Security. While French doors feature frosted or patterned glass windows, the windows are relatively small and narrow. This makes it harder for people to see in, as well.
- More space. The windows on French doors, as well as the width, make the room feel larger. Light enters the room, filling it with natural warmth. This pairs wonderfully with patios or living rooms.
French Door Cons
- Not energy-efficient. If you want to save on heating, don’t select French doors. This style of doorway is notorious for sealing difficulties. Plus, the opening is wider, allowing for more air to blow in.
- Requires greater space to install. French doors are connected to the walls with hinges and also require nearly double the space of a single door. If you have a smaller space, a large French door might not be ideal.
So you were wondering, “Can I replace a garage door with French doors?” You certainly can. While swapping out a garage door for French doors is going to take a little bit of effort, the end result is worth it. French doors are beautiful and will add so much to your home!
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