All About our Wooden French Doors…

July 19, 2019

Looking for a set of wooden French doors for your home? Here’s what I learned about wooden French doors during our remodel (and how we like them 2 years later)!

Wooden French Doors

One of the first things we did when we began remodeling our home was remove the built-in BBQ attached to the fireplace. The BBQ was added when the house was built, but I don’t think it had ever been used! It was very 1963…

My dad helped me remove the BBQ and cabinetry, leaving us with exposed floorboards for awhile until we officially began remodeling the kitchen.

READ MORE: The best renovation investments for a dramatic change

If you follow along my social media or blog you probably know that I have a deep love for French farmhouse design. For this particular area, I dreamt of narrow sets of French doors where the BBQ once was.

If budget were no question, I would’ve loved to import a set of true vintage French doors, but we did have a budget to stay within, so I went on a hunt for a set of wood French doors.

The caveat was that I needed the doors to be narrow (24”) in order for them to have the look I was going for. This was very hard to find, especially in the style I wanted the doors to be!

I requested quotes from many local carpenters and door companies, but they all came in quite high. So I continued my search, and eventually found US Door & More, a door company based out of Florida.

Ordering Wooden French Doors Online…

I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous to order doors online, sight unseen. I really wasn’t sure what I’d be getting, but they were in budget and at the width I wanted, so we gave them a shot.

I am very happy to report back, that the doors are truly fabulous! We ordered the same style of doors for our entire house (front, side, laundry, and patio). I absolutely love all of them – the quality, look, and price point is spot on.

Here is the exact set of French doors we ordered: CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK

The wood is Brazilian mahogany, with each door measuring 24” wide. We opted for low-e glass and brass hinges.

Unless you have a very experienced carpenter available to build the door frames, it’s best to order doors “pre-hung”. It adds quite a bit to the cost of the door, but it all works itself out in the end because you’d have to hire someone to build the door frames.

We ordered the doors unfinished, and finished them on site (read more about this below). Other details like swing direction and jamb size should be confirmed with your contractor before ordering.

When I ordered the doors, I initially intended to paint them, but when they arrived, we realized that it would be quite a sin to paint the wood. The wood, paint grade at that, was so beautiful and the warmth of it added so much to our home.

Perhaps someday I will paint them, but for now, I am enjoying the natural nature of the wood!

The wood is Brazilian Mahogany, and has a wonderful softness about it. Typically I am drawn towards white oak, but the Mahogany here is really wonderful! The wood is not orange or too saturated in color, and has a nice organic and aged look to it.

There isn’t anything about them that I don’t like. We have these doors throughout our house, and they’ve all held up nicely. The glass is high quality, and the seals are all great.

Where to find true vintage wood french doors:

When I began the search for wood French doors I didn’t realize just how many people import true vintage doors from Europe! If you have your heart set on vintage doors, it’s quite possible that you can find them at a reasonable price at a vintage/antique store.

It’s best to find these doors in person so you can see the quality and size in real life, plus shipping can be quite expensive!

You may have trouble finding a set of two doors, so you’ll have the best luck if you only need one set for your home.

E-Bay, Etsy, and Chairish are all good options, but shops like Old World Antieks (Austin, TX), Antiquities Warehouse (Phoenix, AZ), and Chateau Domingue (Houston, TX) are better options. They will have more affordable selections and you will be able to hand select what you need!

Above: vintage French doors available at Old World Antieks

Wood Door Hardware

When selecting hardware for wood French doors I think brass or black are the best options.

Brass door hardware will add a traditional or vintage feel to the doors. This is what we used for our doors. We also added surface bolts to all of the doors in our house to compliment the vintage elements throughout our house.

If you’re going for a more modern look, black hardware is beautiful when paired with the warmth of the wood! If these are exterior doors, be sure to select a hardware system that includes a lock.

We live very rurally and are comfortable with just the surface bolts as locks, but if you need a more secure locking system, select hardware that includes locks within the handle.

 

 

How to seal or stain wood french doors:

If you opt for wood French doors, you MUST seal them. You have quite a few options, but most of them will alter the color and texture of the wood.

If you’re anything like me, you’d like the doors to appear as natural and unfinished as possible. The last thing I wanted to do was add a thick layer of stain or shiny polyurethane to the wood doors.

Here are some options for finishing wood French doors:

  1. WOCA exterior wood oil (will alter color, high protection from UV/moisture)

  2. WOCA diamond oil (alters color very little, but no UV protection)

  3. General Finishes Flat out Flat (does not alter color or texture, but no UV protection, meant for interior projects)

  4. General Finishes Exterior 450 Flat (alters color slightly, offers UV protection)

  5. Teak Oil (will alter color, long lasting protection for exterior wood)

  6. Exterior Wood Wax (will alter color, but protects from UV/water damage)

  7. Epifanes Matte Finish (matte finish, may darken color slightly, does offer UV protection, meant for interior projects)

  8. MM Dead Flat Varnish (will not alter color or texture, no UV protection, meant for interior projects)

WOCA oil is a beautiful oil that can be used on wood flooring, but also is available for exterior projects. The only problem with WOCA is that it will alter the color of the wood. Yet, it remains flat. Their exterior deck oil is an option. You may also try their wood flooring oil as an option, the natural color hardly alters the look of the wood. The only thing is that it is not meant for exterior use, so you’ll have some upkeep.

Personally, I really wanted to preserve the natural look of the wood, so we opted for General Finishes Flat out Flat. This is a wonderful option that is truly colorless and FLAT. However, this is meant for interior projects, so it is only suitable for exterior doors if the doors are protected from the elements.

I didn’t want to believe this fact, so I used Flat out Flat on all of our wood doors. It has held up wonderfully on the doors that are protected from the elements (sun, wind, rain, snow, cold), but has NOT held up on the laundry room door, which has zero protection.

See the laundry room reveal!

If your doors are covered by a patio, Flat out Flat will be okay, just be sure to follow the directions precisely and allow it to fully dry between coats. Add an extra coat or two for extra protection. And make sure the door isn’t exposed to water (ie: from a hose, sprinkler, or rain). UV is the ultimate destroyer of the wood, so don’t use Flat out Flat if the door will be exposed to direct sun! Or plan on reapplying a coat every 6 months for upkeep.

General Finishes offers an exterior option with a flat finish, I have not tried this product yet, but plan on using it on the laundry room door which is becoming weathered from the exposure to sun and rain. —> I will let you know how this holds up once I apply it to the weathered door.

You may also choose Teak Oil or wood wax, but this will also alter the color of the wood.

Epifanes and Modern Masters both offer flat finishes for wood; however, these finishes are meant for interior projects. Although, Epifanes does offer UV protection, so this sounds like a very promising options! I just haven’t personally tried it, so I can’t attest to it. Read the Amazon reviews though, it sounds awesome!

As with all wood that is exposed to the elements, you will have upkeep! Just as paint cracks over time, the sealant will begin to decompose, and you will have to sand and reseal the wood. This is similar to a deck or wood patio furniture upkeep.

It is unrealistic to think that sealing the wood once will last a lifetime!

Wood French Door Maintenance:

Lastly, you may be wondering how to maintain the beauty of your wood french doors!

As I mentioned above, it’s unrealistic to think that wood doors won’t need maintenance. Depending on the sealant you select, and the location of the wood doors, you may need to apply a fresh coat of oil or varnish every 6 months. However, some may be able to stretch this up to three years!

If yours doors are covered by a patio and receive very little weather, the sealant’s life will be much longer than if the doors are exposed.

Sun will expedite the break down of any sealant or varnish, especially when combined with moisture. If your door is going to get hit with a lot of sun and moisture, select an appropriate sealant with UV protection and re-seal once a year.

To wash your wood doors, use a wood specific soap such as WOCA intensive wood cleaner. Do not let your wood doors become soaked with water! Dry them immediately if you need to wash them.

I hope this post has been helpful if you are searching for wood French doors! Please let me know if you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them! Thanks for stopping by, and if you’d like more remodeling tips and tricks, please sign up for my email list below.

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  1. Ooooh, I love your wood french doors. I got my own set of French Doors from home windows Houston a couple months ago i love how i can open them up in the summer and let the nice breeze in. It feels like i’m letting a little bit of the outdoors inside with me.

  2. Also, why did you opt for no exterior screens? Curious … as we would likely have our doors flung wide open in the mountains of CO.

    • Hi Heather!! No screens – just for look ;). Sometimes we will leave these open but bugs are a problem. I’ve considered some of those screens that roll up and snap back into place so they are hidden unless you pull them closed.

      Weather – If the doors are 100% exposed to the elements, prime and paint with a high quality exterior paint, and you can expect much less maintenance.

      Simply sealing the raw wood will result in higher maintenance – but something I accepted ;). Good luck, send pics once you get your doors installed, I’d love to see!

  3. Chloe, your article is so well timed! I live in Colorado which Im guessing has weather similar to yours — cold winters, strong winds, snow, and high summer temps. Have you had any weather-related concerns with these doors? If we plan to prime and paint exteriors, would you expect less need for maintenance?