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French Doors & Energy Efficiency – PART II: The Energy Performance of French Doors

Most homeowners want nothing but the best for their homes. If you want doors that can add to both your aesthetic and investment value, you’ll inevitably end up with French doors on your shortlist.

In the first part of this series, we discussed what French doors are, and the reasons why they make a good door choice – and we also looked at a few of the limitations, one of which is performance when it comes to energy efficiency. In this post, we focus on that crucial aspect.

Are French Doors Energy-Efficient?

French doors are popular for the unique appeal of their multiple glass panes. They are also favored for the visual elegance that they create when both doors are swung open. However, these positive attributes can also be a negative in terms of energy efficiency.

A French door’s multiple glass panes can let in a lot of sunshine – and heat. Without specialty glass installed in the door, this can make a room warmer than you’d like it to be, which can also mean that an air conditioning system will have to work harder to keep indoor temperatures comfortable during the hot days of the year.

Low-quality French doors don’t lend themselves well to energy efficiency because of the way they’re designed and how they operate, so there’s no doubt that any homeowner will think twice before choosing these doors over more solid counterparts. With today’s manufacturing advancements, however, homeowners can rest easy – there are ways to make French doors more energy-efficient than they once used to be.

What Makes for an Energy-Efficient French Door?

What makes the difference? All it really takes is the right materials and composition, installation, and additional options to improve the energy performance of French doors.

Materials & Composition

Frame. A French door should have a framing material that has excellent insulative capabilities, apart from being durable and reliable. Solid hardwood tops the list of insulating materials, but new materials such as Fibrex® offer comparable insulating values when compared to wood, vinyl and fiberglass.
Glass.For a French door to be an energy performer, its glass must be treated with advanced coatings. Low-E glass, which has a special metallic coating that lets in just the right amount of natural light and sunshine, yet blocks damaging ultraviolet, is what you’ll want to look for. This means that you can get as much visible light as you need in the summer, without suffering the harmful effects of unwanted solar gain. In winter, Low-E glass helps keep heat inside your home.
Installation & Additional Treatments

A French door must fit tightly into the door opening to provide long-term energy efficiency and performance. This can be achieved by having a reliable contractor custom-fit and install your French door. Furthermore, you may also consider adding window treatments, such as blinds and curtains, for enhanced protection against extreme temperature fluctuations.

Now that you’ve learned the factors that affect energy-efficient French doors, you might also want to get installation tips that can help you take your investment further. Our next post will tackle that, so stay tuned!

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