Home & Garden Architecture

Installing French Patio Doors

    Starting the Install

    • To install french patio doors first remove the door from its packing materials. This includes the cardboard, wrapping and bubble wrap used as protection. Keep track of all hardware that include clips for hanging to doors, stoppers and shivs that come with the unit. Keep these in a separate container as they are important for a proper installation. Once this is done, check the door frame for cracks or damage. Then check the frame itself for potential problems. This includes nails, or boards wedged into the frame work, as well as other obstructions.

    Starting the Install

    • Position the doors in the door frame area by tilting them up on end inside the frame. Have someone stand on the other side to make sure the doors do not topple over. Shimmy and slide the doors into places. They should fit tightly into the frame, however there may be some gaps between the top and sides of the doors and the frame. Once you are satisfied that the doors fit properly, remove them and go to step 3.


    • Next, run a bead of caulking around the frame of the door. Then slide the doors back into place as you did in step 2. Once in place, drive three 2 1/2-inch screws into the base of the frame to secure the assembly in place. Then check the area around the install to make sure everything fits perfectly. If there are gaps between the top door framing and the molding, slide a shiv (thin piece of wedged shaped wood) under the doors to elevate the door until it fills in the gap. Shiv both sides of the doors and use a carpenter's level to ensure the doors are level. Fill any gaps with fiberglass insulation as needed.

    Installing Molding

    • Once the doors are level and square it is time to install the interior and exterior molding. Attach the molding pieces around the side of the doors using an air hammer. Use caulking as needed under the trim. On the outside, set the trim into place with a level to ensure it is square. Seal and caulk the space around the frame and doors, then nail the trim directly to the door frame studs, just a few inches above the top of the patio doors.

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