If you are looking to install French doors in your home, either as an entry way into a bedroom or den, or as an exit to a balcony or patio, there are a few things you need to do first. You can either do these tasks in advance to a contractor installing the doors for you, or you can do these tasks on your own before you install your doors. Before you get started on these tasks, buy your doors in advance and measure them because you will need the correct measurements before you do any of the following.
1. Measure and Mark the Space for Your Doors
After you measure the doors you plan to install, measure the same space on the wall where the doors will go. Keep in mind that the doors, depending on their style and how you install them, will need plenty of room to open. If the doors are going to open inward, there cannot be anything blocking their path. If the doors open outward onto a balcony or patio, they cannot scrape the floor or ground underneath and they cannot hit the balcony fence (if that is where you are installing the doors). Once you have made sure that the doors will have enough clearance when they are opened and there is enough space on the intended wall, mark off the space on the wall with a straight edge ruler or yardstick.
2. Cut out the Space for the Doors
Next, make sure you will not be cutting through any load-bearing walls or electrical outlets and wiring. If everything is safe and clear, use a circular or reciprocating saw to cut out the space where your French doors will go. Even though you have previously marked off this space, it is a good idea to cut the hole about an inch shorter all the way around. It may create more work, but it is easier to cut more space out than it is to fill in a hole in your wall that is too big for the doors. For any part of this hole that does not come loose freely, feel free to use a sledgehammer to knock it out.
3. Install the Doors
Now you are ready to install your French doors. If you need to, construct a basic frame that fits around the doors and install that into the hole in your wall first. Otherwise, install the doors, taking care to insert the "inside" door first. (The "inside" door is the one that has the sealing gasket attached to it. The other door cannot open out or in without first opening this door.) Secure the "inside" door to the wall and frame with hinges. Then install the second door in the same manner as the first. Before you seal the doors around the edges of the frame and where the frame meets the hollow wall, check and see that the doors both open freely and close with a smooth connection.
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