French Door Installation Cost: A Quick Guide

French Door Installation Cost: A Quick Guide

March 4, 2024
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door
Milgard French Doors

Few home improvements can transform a space as dramatically as the installation of French doors. Synonymous with elegance, these doors are not merely passageways but a statement of style and sophistication that blurs the boundaries between indoor comfort and the allure of the outdoors. With their classic dual-frame opening and glass panes stretching from top to bottom, Milgard French Doors invite natural light to flood interiors, create an illusion of high-end living space, and offer uniquely framed views of nature's beauty.

However, enriching your home with the charm of French doors means navigating the complex landscape of installation costs. Understanding the financial implications of French door installation helps homeowners make an informed decision that aligns with their budget and home improvement goals. The cost of installing French doors is influenced by many factors, from the choice of material and the complexity of the design to the specifics of the installation process itself.

Whether you're contemplating the addition of French doors to enhance your living space's aesthetic appeal, improve its functionality, or increase your home's value, we designed this guidance to arm you with the knowledge needed to navigate the process confidently. By understanding the nuances of French door installation costs, you can make choices that reflect your vision, preferences, and financial considerations, ensuring that the result is as rewarding as it is beautiful.

Factors Influencing French Door Installation Costs

When considering installing new French doors, homeowners quickly realize that the costs can vary widely. This variability is due to various factors influencing the final price tag. Understanding these elements is critical to planning your project and setting realistic expectations. Below, we dissect the primary factors affecting the cost of installing French doors in your home.

Material or Product Costs for French Door

Ultra Fiberglass Swing Patio Doors

The material and design of the French doors you choose are pivotal in determining the overall cost. Each frame material has distinct advantages in aesthetics, durability, maintenance, and energy efficiency, which, in turn, influences price. 

  • Frame Costs: Our French Doors are primarily offered in Vinyl and Fiberglass. Vinyl is the more affordable option, as fiberglass doors can be as much as twice the cost. 
  • Finish & Accessories: Some finishing colors come standard with the price of the frame, but if you want a different color, it may increase the costs. Some color options are more affordable, while others may be quite expensive. You can paint fiberglass products if you prefer a color unavailable from the manufacturer. However, we often recommend using available colors to support product longevity and ensure after-market modifications don't void warranties. In addition to color, nearly every hardware choice can impact the price differently. However, these costs tend to be a smaller percentage of the overall project.

  • Glass Options: The type of glass in your French doors also impacts cost. Some options like dual glaze energy-efficient glass may come standard. However, additional energy efficiency options and decorative or privacy glass can add to the expense but offer benefits regarding energy savings, security, and aesthetic appeal.

Due to the inherent complexity and range in pricing, US Window & Door always offers transparent quotes outlining each line item's cost. The clarity we provide our clients allows for informed decisions on a final design when pricing is more important than a costly detail. 

French Door Size and Installation Complexity

Custom sizes and designs can significantly affect the cost of French doors. Standard double-door builds are generally more affordable than a custom installation. However, many homeowners opt for custom doors to fit specific architectural styles or larger opening sizes, such as four-panel French doors or Milgard French Doors with sidelites. 

The complexity of the installation process is a critical cost factor. Installing French doors where none existed requires creating a new doorway, which involves structural work, including cutting through walls, which can significantly increase labor and material costs. Conversely, replacing existing doors with French doors is usually less complex and more cost-effective if it's a standard retrofit installation. However, adjustments may still be required to accommodate the new doors depending on the current quality of the original frame and opening.

  • New Openings vs. Replacements: Creating a new opening requires more work, including potential structural reinforcements, which increases costs. Replacements typically cost less but may involve modifications to the existing frame.
  • Structural Modifications: Any changes to the home's structure, such as enlarging an existing opening or reinforcing the wall to support the new doors, will add to the project's complexity and cost.
  • Accessibility: Easy access to the installation site and the project's location can also influence labor costs. Projects in areas with higher living costs or installations requiring special access equipment (e.g., second-story installations) may see higher labor rates. However, this is more common for windows than doors when scaffolding is required.

Understanding these factors offers a foundation for planning your Milgard French door installation project. By considering the type of door, the extent of customization, and the complexity of the installation, you can begin to form a picture of the potential costs involved. This knowledge helps set a realistic budget to make informed decisions on the design or materials that best suit your home and lifestyle.

Cost Breakdown of French Door Installation

Now that you know more about what goes into a Milgard French Door quote, let's review some general ranges you may expect to find when receiving quotes.

Material Costs

French Door Installation

In most standard installations, the cost of the French door is the most expensive aspect of the purchase. Here's a closer look at what you might expect to pay for the doors themselves, excluding installation: 

Vinyl French Doors: These doors are generally priced between $2500 and $6,000 based on size, panels, sidelites, glass options, finish, and accessories.

Fiberglass French Doors: Upgrading to a premium fiberglass French door can cost between $6,000 and $11,000 after considering size, panels, sidelites, glass options, finish, and accessories.

Labor Costs

The labor costs for French door installation vary widely based on the project's complexity, the installer's experience, and geographic location. At US Window & Door, we don't subcontract the installation labor to control the quality and training of our installation teams. Therefore, our costs may be higher than those of a handyman or single crew company. Still, with our limited lifetime warranty on labor and manufacturer warranties, you can be confident in the final product. On average, homeowners can expect to pay:

Basic Installation (Retrofit): For straightforward retrofit replacements with no structural modifications, labor costs can be as low as $1,000 and up to a few thousand.

Moderate Installation (New Construction): When additional labor is required to ensure the frame's quality and opening, a new construction installation may be necessary, which can cost around $2,500 or more. 

Complex Installations (Custom): Finally, if a job requires creating new openings or making significant structural changes, such as adding a header, these modifications can elevate labor costs between $3,500 and $8,000. 

Additional Expenses

Several ancillary costs should also be considered:

Hardware and Accessories: Handles, locks, and decorative elements might increase costs if you don't want to select the hardware that comes standard with the door. Budgeting an additional $50 to a few hundred dollars can cover these essentials.

Permits: Retrofit replacements don't always require permits, but check with your city since each region is different. Most new construction or complex replacements require permits for door installations, especially if structural modifications are involved. Permit costs depend on your region.

Unexpected Challenges: Remember to include a contingency fund of around 10% to cover unexpected expenses that may arise during the installation process. While we do our best to give you exact pricing under normal conditions, there are always unknowns when you open a wall. We've seen things as simple as essential maintenance with some frame or opening replacement to complex structural integrity issues requiring a separate specialist to fix before we could begin our work. 

Making Informed Decisions: Selecting Doors, Installation Services, and Navigating the Process

One of the most significant decisions you'll face is balancing the quality of materials and craftsmanship with your budget. While it might be tempting to opt for the least expensive options to save on upfront costs, investing in higher-quality doors and skilled installation can offer better long-term value. High-quality doors can enhance energy efficiency, may require less maintenance, and could significantly improve your home's aesthetic appeal and resale value. When selecting a door, consider material durability, energy efficiency ratings, and aesthetic congruence with your home's design.

Choosing the right vendor and installation service is equally important. Look for companies with a solid reputation, demonstrated expertise, and a portfolio of successful installations. Reviews and testimonials from existing customers contain useful insights about the company's quality and products. Additionally, ensure the vendor offers comprehensive warranties that cover both the product and the installation work, giving peace of mind and protection against future issues. These factors are crucial for addressing any post-installation concerns or maintenance needs. Ensure you understand the warranty's scope, including what is covered and for how long, as well as the process for claiming warranty service.

US Window & Door is committed to guiding you every step of this journey, ensuring your new Milgard French doors meet and exceed your expectations. Contact us today to explore how we can transform your home with the elegance and sophistication of French doors crafted and installed to perfection. Your vision for an enhanced home can be realized through careful planning, informed decision-making, and partnering with the right professionals. French doors' elegance and openness are within reach, ready to bring light, style, and a seamless flow to your living spaces.