Here are the sliding glass doors that led from the dining room to the patio when we purchased our house.
It was an easy decision to replace them with double French doors that mirror the single door on the other side of the room (which leads to the mudroom). Especially because, they leaked like a sieve!
But which French doors?
Our search was a lengthy one as our criteria were:
1. Double-glazed (for energy efficiency) but look as classic as the traditional single-glazed style.
2. Made entirely of wood (preferably rot-resistant species such cypress or mahogany).
3. No required overhang since it is impossible for us to have in this location (most wood exterior doors require a substantial overhang for their warranty to be honored).
4. Good warranty (five years is typical, ten years is wonderful).
5. Wood threshold (surprisingly, very few door companies offer wood thresholds for exterior doors).
6. And of course, they must look beautiful.
The company who had a model that fit all of these criteria was Simpson. Simpson is a door company we are quite familiar with as we used them throughout our last renovation.
Having narrowed our search down tremendously, it was surprisingly difficult to find an actual Simpson French door to look at prior to purchase. Simpson is affordable, but when making such a substantial purchase, there is no substitute for seeing a sample in person. It allows you to be absolutely confident that what you're ordering will in fact be what you're envisioning.
We did receive a drawing of the door which was very helpful. But we also really wanted to see up close details such as the the muntins dividing the lights. Did they simulate a true divided light look or would they look like they were just stuck on?
We put a fair amount of effort into seeing an example of the door (visiting and calling various showrooms that sold Simpson), but never had any luck in tracking down the model we had selected (or other similar simulated divided light examples).
So in the end, we had to trust and cross our fingers (and rely on our past experience and satisfaction with Simpson). Our confidence was also bolstered through several phone calls to Simpson themselves. As I have learned numerous times, no one knows a product better than the manufacturers.
After the doors were ordered, Mike had to remove the concrete step on the patio before they could be installed.
This is the photo I received from him last Saturday morning with an update of how his day was going. No surprise, there was some rot due to the step and patio being placed tight against the house above the foundation. Luckily, however, the sill (which is behind the boards visible in the photo) was in reasonable shape and did not need to be replaced.
Here is one side of the double door unit. The doors are actually much nicer than we had anticipated. We chose the Nantucket model due to its ten-year warranty, no overhang requirement, and solid construction.
Here are Nate and Darryn after having removed the old sliders, preparing the opening for the new frame.
Mike had removed the door slabs from the new frame the night before so that he could prime the oak threshold prior to installation. The threshold will be painted grey.
Here it is after installing the frame and hanging one door.
And after both doors were installed.
While we paint the doors, the opening is covered with plywood. This photo is also a reminder of how nice natural light is. The room would be tremendously dark without the double door.
I used Photoshop (albeit horribly) to get a glimpse of what they'll look like once painted.
As for the patio, some drastic changes will have to be made to prevent ongoing water issues. It was recommended to us to have the patio elevation at least eight inches below the sill, which is about 12 inches below where it was when we started.