How to Install French Doors

While adding a stylish set of French doors can provide a home with a lasting sense of elegance and value, there are a great number of factors that must be carefully considered before undertaking what can prove to be quite a challenging task. For example, all necessary permits must be applied for and approved before any work can begin. Brickwork or mortar may need to be removed. Electrical wiring and plumbing pipes need to be accounted for. Load-bearing studs need to be clearly marked and avoided while installing the doors themselves requires a good deal of experience. Thus, if you are not fully confident in your ability to address these and other factors as they arisee, it is best to hire a qualified builder or structural engineer to perform the necessary work. Nonetheless, let us briefly examine a step-by-step guide to French door installation.

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Image Credit: French Doors


Remove all appliances, valuables and electronic equipment from the immediate area. Place drop cloths on the floor and dust sheets over all furniture and any other delicate objects.

Removal of the Necessary Wall Space

  •  Make certain that no studs are load-bearing
  •  Check for electrical wiring and water or gas pipes.
  •  Mark the area to be removed.
  •  Expose the wall between the studs with a hammer or other device.

Cut and remove any baseboard, chair rail or crown moulding. Repeat this process for the other side of the wall. If the other side is an exterior wall, make certain that nothing important will be removed or damaged.

TURN OFF THE MAIN BREAKER before removing any electrical switches.

  •  Cut along the top and bottom of each stud. When finished, push the wall through to a side where it will cause no damage when it falls.
  • Cut drywall from the ceiling area that will be used to support the new French door header. Make certain that there are no overhead wires or pipes that may be damaged.
  • Install trimmers (two shorter studs) on either side of the opening. These will provide support for the header placed above the doors.
  • Place and fasten the two header boards atop the trimmers. Their entire width should match the width of the wall studs.
  • Remove the bottom plate (where the original studs were fastened) to allow room for the French door.
  • Reroute electrical wiring.

Installing the French Doors

  • Add additional nailers where necessary to provide support when nailing up the new drywall.
  • If the doors lead to the exterior, fill the stud cavities with insulation.
  • Measure, cut and lay the drywall sheet. Place drywall mesh tape over the joints and apply quick-drying joint compound smoothly over these seams. Allow this to dry before proceeding.
  • If the door leads to an exterior, caulk the sill plate wherever any uneven surfaces are present.
  • Set the frame in the aperture. Utilise shims along the sides and across the top to adjust the level of the unit and assure that the entire structure is plumb. Check the level again while opening and closing the doors before final installation.

Final Touches

Before adding additional drywall or coats of joint compound, once again check that the unit is level and that the doors can open and close properly without any resistance or imbalance. Once this is achieved, the finishing touches can include:

  • Installing pre-primed trim around the frame.
  • Refitting crown mouldings and any removed floor trim.
  • Applying additional layers of joint compound.
  • Priming and placing finish coats on the adjoining walls and the trim, if desire

Author Bio: Eric enjoys any type of DIY challenge, whether that is fastening solar panels to a roof or building a new extension. Eric works as a mechanical engineering at Ejot Uk, were he has learn a lot of his construction skills.

Erin Emanuel