Can You Replace A Garage Door With French Doors?

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

Changing the garage door is often a big part of the puzzle if you’re converting your garage to a finished space. One switch you might consider is to replace a garage door with French doors. But is that a viable option?

You can replace a garage door with French doors but use careful planning. You will likely end up needing to adjust and reframe the opening. You also need a permit before you can start the work. It’s advisable to use professionals to ensure the job is correct and your new French doors are secure.

If you’re ready to convert your garage into an interior space, you likely don’t want to leave the garage door in place. Replacing a garage door with French doors can make a significant impact on the room, providing a more finished look.

Do You Need A Permit To Replace A Garage Door With French Doors?

You will need a permit to replace your garage door with French doors. Contact your local planning and building authority to find out the process you must go through. The permit office will send out an inspector to make sure you can make the change.

If they decide you can proceed, you will likely need to provide detailed drawings or plans for the new doors. This is something you will need to get from a professional unless you have the necessary skills to draw up accurate blueprints.

Once the powers that be have everything they need, they’ll issue the permit, and you can proceed with the work. The cost of the permit will vary based on the scope of the work and where you live.

How Do You Replace A Garage Door With French Doors?

First things first, this could be a simple project or a much bigger job than you might anticipate. It all depends on how much you have to do with the framing for your new doors.

Plus, even installing French doors in a regular exterior opening needs careful attention to ensure the installation is proper and secure. But when you install them in place of a garage door, there are extra factors.

Most likely, the opening will be too big. This larger space is because you’re not simply replacing another set of French doors, and garage doors are usually larger. If the opening is too big, you’ll need to reframe it to accommodate the smaller doors.

To replace a garage door with French doors can vary from project to project, but generally, this is what you can expect.

1. Get Your Permit

As mentioned previously, contact the appropriate department in your area to get the necessary permit. You’ll need to find your local permit office. You won’t be able to begin work until you have this in place.

If you risk not getting a permit, you might get away with the installation at first. But if you go to sell or have any insurance claims, it could backfire and cause problems for you down the road.

2. Remove The Existing Garage Door And Parts

Obviously, you need to take out the old to make room for the new. But if you’re dealing with a motorized garage door, you also need to disconnect and remove the tracks, machinery, and other components. Unless you’re familiar with this sort of work, it’s best to hire a professional or consult an electrician.

After the door and all the parts are out, clean any dust and debris. You want to start the installation process of your new French doors with a clean slate.

3. Work With Existing Structural Framing And Create A Secondary Wall

When installing an exterior door, you usually need to have a load-bearing wall. Since there was already a garage door in place, the structural framing should already have the necessary header. Doors and windows typically need a load-bearing header above them to evenly distribute the weight.

You can frame out the necessary wall for your new French doors within this existing structural frame. You’re essentially creating a secondary wall inside of the existing wall opening. This extra framing serves as a place to enclose the doors, nail sheathing and wall-board and define the new opening.

4. Center Pre-Hung French Doors In The Opening

Measure the door and opening so that you can center the doors within the space. Make sure to have a second person helping you since pre-hung double doors are heavy. Depending on the size, you might be able to position the new doors and build the new rough opening around them.

5. Keep The Opening Square When Replacing Your Garage Door With French Doors

Take care to ensure all sides of the rough opening are square. Any warping or bows in the wood will lead to doors that won’t function properly.

6. Build The Frame And Install The French Doors

It’s essential to get the frame right for your doors. This part of the process is also the time to add necessary insulation and weather-proofing. You can follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the doors in your new frame.

However, unless you are absolutely confident in your abilities, you should call a professional for this project. It’s important to ensure both doors remain level and even throughout the process. Use shims as necessary to keep things square and tight.

When you put the doors into position, have a buddy help you tilt the doors into place. Start with the doors set on the bottom, and tilt them into position. Do not slide or push them in, as this can disrupt the framing.

7. Don’t Forget The Finishing Touches When Replacing A Garage Door With French Doors

Once the new French doors are installed, apply caulking and insulation around the edges to handle any air gaps. You also need to install a wallboard on the new frame and use molding, baseboards, or other trim as necessary. Trim can help ease the transition between the new wall you created for your doors and the existing garage door opening.

You also want to match your paint or choose complementary colors to achieve a finished look. Adding exterior lighting on either side of your French doors can also help provide a more complete and cohesive design.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Garage Door With French Doors?

In addition to the permit fees, you will have the costs of the new doors as well as the installation process. Of course, the actual costs depend on the type of French doors you choose, if you use a pro, and the amount of framing work necessary.

French doors can cost anywhere from $400 to over $3,000. An average set of high-quality French doors would likely cost about $1,500 to $1,700.

Installing French doors can cost between $400 and $700. If you need framing work done, expect to pay another $200 to $400. There’s also the cost of miscellaneous supplies, which can be between $50 and $200.

Unless you’re doing it yourself, you’ll also need to pay someone to remove the old garage door. Overall, the cost to replace a garage door with French doors can vary significantly.

It can cost between $1,200 on the low end and $5,000 on the high end. If you plan to hire a pro, get several quotes to give yourself some options that work within your budget.

A Final Look At Replacing A Garage Door With French Doors

If you’re ready to replace your old garage door with French doors to create an updated interior space, you’ll need a permit. This might be the most challenging part of the project unless you end up needing to do substantial framing work. It’s also wise to get an electrician’s help if you’re not sure about disconnecting the motor or electrical components.

If your garage door opening is too big, you’ll need to build a secondary wall to reframe the opening. Make sure to use a buddy to help you position your new doors and get accurate placement.

Keeping the opening square and plumb throughout the process is essential. Once you build the frame, you can install the doors according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Ask a friend to help you place the bottom of the doors into position and tilt the doors into place.

Once your new French doors are installed, you can add finishing touches to help create a cohesive look. For example, paint, trim, and lighting are all ways to help create a polished, finished design. The entire process can cost anywhere from $1,200 to over $5,000, depending on the scope of work and materials.

Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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