French doors or sliders……..the debate…..

So…this is probably the only (ha! SO FAR!) pretty firm disagreement  the G-man (aka the husband) and i have had about this house- is whether we are replacing the existing french doors with new french doors or with sliders– either way the doors will be replaced and  made with impact resistant glass–but the argument against french doors is that they will not wear well in a rental and that they will get banged around by the wind and people not being careful.

here are 1 and a half doors-- there are three sets of doors that run the length of the main room and then each bedroom has a set as well
here are 2 of the doors– there are three sets of doors that run the length of the main room and then each bedroom has a set as well

The argument for them is really pretty much aesthetics…….I LOVE the look of the french doors and that is what really sold me when i first entered the room with R.A.E. (but might forego the paned glass since that seems like a cleaning nightmare…) — but the french doors really go with the character of the house– and I am afraid that sliders will just not look right–also i love that you can open them both right up– a limitation with sliders since only one side opens at a time………Many of our friends and acquaintances and such have already weighed in on this and the deck is firmly stacked against my french doors…..(although not everyone thinks it is a crazy idea–and some long time residents think it would be fine).    The G-man  is even willing to entertain a compromise with one set of french doors in middle and sliders elsewhere…..i am not sure that would look right though…..SO ye  dwellers on the inter webs,  what say you?  Do I start the next french revolution, storm the bastille (or get seriously close to couples therapy) and go with the french doors (design is important!) or do i lay down my arms and  surrender to the slider……OR do we compromise (would that look strange??????) OR is there some alternative that we haven’t thought of??????? I am all ears…….(or eyes in this case)

a picture of the deck outside of the main room (i hesitate to call it a 'great room' since it's really kind of a mess and no-so-great right now!
a picture of the deck outside of the main room (I hesitate to call it a ‘great room’ since it’s really kind of a mess and no-so-great right now!)

23 thoughts on “French doors or sliders……..the debate…..”

  1. What about sliders in the main room that will get the most use and French in the bedroom. As long as they match in terms of glass panels, I think it would look ok!

  2. Like you I am a lover of French doors and am very biased about it .. I have never met a slider I loved… But many that drove me crazy! LOL!
    We love our French doors to our deck and below on the
    patio, but I do get the issues… We bought double paned with blinds inside for privacy but they are removable .. No cleaning! One side locks down so we are generally using on one door, but both can be open if needed.Doors open in ! No heaven door to slide open ! As for screening we have roll up screens that are on the outside of the door frame … They unfurl and meet in the middle and are magnetic … Best thing we every did! We have them on every outside door in our house because they are out of the vision line when not in use… No question it was an investment but they have endured well for many years! And, BTW, the screen pop if our dogs touch them … So no more broken screens to repair!

  3. I love and have 4 sets of French doors opening onto my porch.
    Aren’t there sliders with panels inside the two glass pieces to somewhat match the French doors???

  4. i think that there are sliders with inserts for that look– i am curious– is there a lot of wind where you are ? do you rent the property?– how do the doors stand up under stress?

  5. There is some indirect wind sweeping across the porch… if not completely closed (as in just pushing to) have blown open. Ours both open, but one of each set is using fastened at the top and at the bottom.
    No renters, just family here in FL.
    One is dragging a little (after 18 years) as it is the one used many times most days.. These were not expensive, thermal doors… just simple French doors with single panes and wooden frames.
    The last place we stayed on Mamey Peak had heavy French doors… 8 feet, I think. Door stops did not hold them open well in the wind. The owners had large pieces of coral there which worked.
    I am loving hearing about your trip and I am so excited for you1

  6. Hi Lori:
    Congratulations on your new house on “our” beloved Virgin.
    No question in my mind: French Doors all the way — period. They work the best, and opens the house to the breeze. Future, have solid tongue- in-grove planks, made into outside shutters, stained dark like the French doors — best for security and for hurricanes. I would only use the multi pane glass, easier to replace a small panel rather than a full glass panel, and I think they look better.
    Get some fine steel wool and “Bar Boy” cleaner (like Ajax) and clean the jalousie windows, and then spray the hardware with WD-40, and coat the aluminum with it as well. I would keep those, they work well, are too costly to dig out and there really isn’t any suitable replacement.
    Tiles would be best on the outdoor porch areas, for now, they can be painted with deck paint or better yet, the concrete can be sealed and buffed and polished with wax, very in these days.
    All the best,
    East Hampton, NY

  7. Lori – Here are some more things that I’ve thought of on the subject since we chatted
    1) Hurricane impact glass will only allow the doors to open outwards – keep this in mind for furniture placement on the porch as the door swing will eat up valuable space. They will also be all aluminum, no wood (although you can get wood clad for the interior side).
    2) Because of Hurricane glass, it is all one solid pane of glass with the divider-lites added on top (if you want them, but I’d go without them as they break up the view). There is no way to do individual little panes. If you get a crack from the door slamming open/close or the frame torquing you’ll need to replace the entire leaf.
    3) Due to the wind (especially facing east) you will have to put a door stop on the doors to keep the wind from slamming them. As someone said above, they noticed that the stops really don’t hold the door back when the wind kicks up. Not really a big issue, but do you trust renters to remember to put the door stop down?
    4) Bi-folding doors are not worth it for your sized door openings. You’d end up spending 3x’s the amount per opening for the same effect French doors would do.

    I agree that I like the functionality of the french doors more – opens the space fully up. However, if renting the house is more in mind then sliders will be more practical. You have lots of door openings that will allow plenty of light and breeze in even with only 1/2 the slider opening open. Maintenance on the sliders will be making sure the tracks are clean, and applying lubricant to the tracks. Other than that they should be minimal maintenance.

    French doors will be about 30% more than sliders, plus the added cost of a roll-away screen (sliders will have an integrated screen in the track)

    Design-wise in me says French, put practical-wise I say sliders. If you okay with the added possible risk of the French doors, then go with what you want… you only get to do this once!

    1. ok…..killjoy! one for team slider ……. thinking of a modified approach the sliders that sort of bump out… or perhaps the folding type — though i think that those might prove to be too hazardous in a rental environment…….

  8. Found some solutions for keeping the doors from slamming:
    1) a hook type stop like these:
    2) A door stay, but don’t know how sturdy this would be:
    3) a security bolt, then drill a hole in the deck where this would be locked down into:

    I think the hook method would be best to provide a secure connection, at the middle of the door, without the door torquing at the top or the bottom like the others could if the wind was strong enough.

    Links are just randoms I got from googling. 🙂

    1. yeah.. but then you have to trust that folks will hook them in and do it consistently and right- as noted coral cove has french doors– and they are facing right out there….. i am not sure if they have been an issue though…. it’s just the look of french doors is right for the structure….. guess in this case it’s like wearing spike heels to a polo match where sensible shoes would rule the day.

  9. Hi, I’m so excited to come across your blog. I looked at your house to purchase but decided it wasn’t the “right one” for us. I too thought it had great bones and with some work and little clean up (alright a lot of clean up) would be amazing. I would go with the french doors and the hooks outside to keep them open. Every villa I have stayed at that had sliders were cumbersome and always had issues with the screens. I’m assuming you will be renting this villa based on the above comment and no matter what you decide you can never control the acts of others. Choose what you love and what you think will work best for the home. I can’t wait to see the progress! I will be on island next month and will make sure I take a look on our drive out to Lameshur. Best of luck and congratulations on your purchase. You are living my dream!!

    1. Yay! another vote for team frenchdoor!
      yeah… i think it will take A LOT of work! I hope it will be the right place for us– we too thought it had good bones- just need to tweak it a bit…we will be there next month the week before easter…..if you are around stop by!

  10. well–you’ve been out voted on that …apparently the sizing is NON custom if we keep the transoms…. (but the transoms are custom?… ) so….right now i am in the LOSING side on that battle (one of many…..)
    i pretty much have my team against me on this….but i am right!!!!! (or i think i am right, which is about the same 🙂 )

    1. 6′-8″ height doors is considered “standard” and is what you’ll find on the shelf on any big box store. 7′ or 8′ doors are considered “custom” but what we have found is that there is no additional cost in height of the door, or it has been minimal. (like $100-200). You’re going to be ordering “custom” doors regardless since you’re doing impact glass, so you might as well get the larger doors. They’ll give the home a more custom, and more expensive, look.

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