French doors are decorative and provide excellent outside views while often allowing plenty of light in your room. But suppose you want to be able to keep your French door open while letting breezes enter your home. Unfortunately, a standard screen door won’t fit the double French door design. So what do you do?
Three types of screens you might consider are:
- Sliding screen doors
- Retractable screen doors
- Walk-through screen doors
If you choose sliding screen doors, you will need two screen doors; one to cover each half of the door. For the screens to slide, you will need to have two tracks – one for each screen – at the top of the door frame and at the door sill or threshold. When complete, one screen will be in front of each side of the door.
If your French doors open inward, you can simply open the doors and let the breezes come through the screens.
If your French doors open outward, you can move one screen in front of the other when you want to open the door. But you will only be able to open one door at a time.
This type screen door can work well if you have French doors where one door opens outward while the other door is fixed. (This is sometimes called an atrium door.)
While these doors can be easy to operate, they do require some maintenance to keep the tracks clear. And you have to make sure the screening material is small enough to keep bugs out while being strong enough to not be torn apart by your dog or cat.
Many of these type screen doors are made of durable materials such as aluminum and stainless steel. You may also find tracks with sills made of oak or finishes in colors like bronze, tan and white to create consistency with the color of your doors.
Retractable Screen Doors
One of the most popular choices for French doors are retractable screen doors. There are individual retractable doors that slide into a housing on each side of the door frame. You then pull one screen out from each side and connect them at the center. This fits in nicely with the double French door design. There are also continuous retractable doors that pull out to cover the entire French door.
Retractable doors offer great convenience because you simply pull them out when you want to use them and roll them away when you want to enjoy an unobstructed view outside. And they work for French doors that swing in or out.
One important option is a clutch or speed reducer that prevents the screen from snapping back in place when you decide to close it. And, once again, make sure the screening material is strong enough to keep pets from getting through it.
These doors can come in various colors including almond, black, bronze, sand, satin anodize and white. These choices allow them to blend in with your French door.
Because they remain out of sight when not being used, retractable screens are ideal for those who want to show off their French doors as much as possible while still keeping insects at bay or allowing a breeze to flow through their home.
Bug Screen Walk-Through Doors
Another type of screen to consider for your French door is the walk through door. Unlike sliding doors that need a track or retractable doors that extend from the sides to leave the double door design intact, these doors extend from the top down and open in the center.
Usually made of mesh, this type door often comes with a weighted bottom and magnets in the center to hold the mesh together as people walk though. This allows homeowners and guests to walk through the door hands free. For pets, it functions as a pet door because they can easily walk in and out through the door.
Another important benefit is that because it can easily be put up and taken down it is portable. You can use it on your French door at home, then take it with you to your vacation home.
This type screen is a lower cost than the other types and can often be installed as a DIY project.
You probably bought and installed your French doors for their style and elegance. By using one of the three types of screen doors described here, you can maintain that style while still getting the benefits of a screen – keeping insects and debris out of your house while letting cool breezes in.