Exterior French Door brand Jeldwen, Pella, Anderson, other?

deltagirlMarch 14, 2009

I apologize this is so long, but please help me anyway. We are at the end of a nearly completed screened porch addition, which includes replacing 2 doors. Please help me decide what brand doors to buy. The factors I want to balance are cost and smooth operation, quality look and feel and not-so-beefy look. I must have a fairly smooth threshold for the French door so that wheelchairs can be rolled over easily. Some are SO high.

First, I need an out-swing French door, wood on both sides, 3-point locking, no mullions. Would be great if it could be keyed to Schlage locks.

Second, I need a sliding door with a screen that works well. My opening is not standard. Both doors are 80 inches wide (brick to brick) and 83 5/8 inches high. I have been told that a 75-inch width door is right.

The 2 doors are near each other but never seen at the same time. I like the maximum glass/minimum frame in doors, however, I accept that with a French door I am going to have a beefy frame. But should I match the sliding door frame or go with a more slimline contemporary look? Our house is a brick Cape Cod built in 1984. I have used modernized-traditional when possible, i.e., brushed stainless hardware.

Here are the prices and brands I have researched locally:


Home Depot; JeldWen; $2015 ; love the low-profile will available, sadly does not key to Schlage locks But does it fit the other criteria? 75 1/2 wide x 80 1/2 (This is not a custom size, so that saves a lot of money; but will it fit?)

Home Depot; Anderson 200 and 400 do not make one that is wide enough

Lowes: Pella Proline, custom width of 75", can be keyed to my current locks Schlage, cannot get confirmation of a low-profile sill, very beefy $2760

Independent Window & Door store; Anderson Pinnacle Series; alum clad (don't need it)$1681

Question: Do I need something other than "standard hinges?"

Marvin--ruled out


hd jELDWIN - not available

HD aNDERSON 200 series 74W x 82H; screen slides at top and bottom (? good?) $$1600

HD Anderson 400 series 74W x 82H; ?more fasionable? or too bulky?; screen slides at top and bottom $1970

lOWES pELLA French Sliding;, clad outside, screens works wonderfully; Custom 75" W $2913 (stocky in middle)

LOWES Peachtree ; custom 75" wide; $2798

iNDEPENDENT aNDERSON Pinnacle Series; clad outside; The estimate only lists base price 60610, does not tell size, it does note "180 brickmould-applied"; $1500

What do you now about these brands? What is the deal about applied brick molding?

But, I have heard bad things about HD's and Lowes' installation and not-so-good workmanship. My contractor could put them in but who takes the responsibility if the door doesn't function properly?

Can Anderson doors be keyed to Schlage locks? Does this have to be done at the factory?

What is the difference between brick to brick; rough opening and "FS"?

As you can see, I suffer from analysis-to-a-fault. But I hate to think of spending $5000 on doors and living with a mess for several years.

Thank you so much for any opinions and information.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A glazed door can have different sizes of styles & rails but is installed in a door frame that varies little in thickness. I prefer Marvin.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 4:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you are this concerned about the minute details of your doors (and you should be; they are costly and you do not want to be disappointed upon installation or years down the road), I highly suggest that you should dump the idea of buying them from HD or Lowes. It is rare that a big-box retailer will have someone that REALLY knows what they are dealing with. And you're right... their subcontract installers are not of the caliber that you'll want... HD/Lowes sets a very low unit price for installs, and their subs will just want to get it in the hole and get out to have any chance of making money.
Go to a window & door specialty store, or local millwork supply that deals in the various higher-end products that you want. They will give you good information, and most have in-house installers or offer expert contractor referrals.
Pella has their own stores; Marvin, Andersen, Jeld-Wen have excellent dealer networks; contact the manufacturers directly to find out about dealers in your area.
I would like to reiterate that this is not ALWAYS the case... some HD/Lowes have really excellent and knowledgeable folks... although most are generalists, and know just enough more than you about the product to make you feel like you're dealing with an expert. You may be pleasantly surprised to find, also, that the big box prices are not always the lowest!
Good Luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: AskMason

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 4:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I cannot speak to the sliding door but as to the French patio door, I recently learned that a Pella French patio door costs MORE than a Pella glazed full light entry door.

I wanted a front door that looked just like a French patio door. The Pella door I chose is a front entry, fiberglass, alum clad door. It has a 3 point lock (don't think it can be keyed to a Schlage lock) that operates 3 deadbolts with one turn of the key. You have the option of a low profile threshhold.

The Pella French patio door is wood clad in aluminum. It had 3 points to lock: doorknob, overhead, and foot. It cost more than the front entry door.

Anyway, perhaps going to a store will let you explore options you didn't even know existed! That is what happened to me. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 10:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you, thank you, mightanvil, homemasons and teddychicago! I appreciate your advice and will let you know what I learn tomorrow. I have to make a decision and let it go, but this is a big one to me. Any other opinions and suggestions are welcome.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 11:36PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Dog Grooming/Bathing Station, show me your pictures, please
I really need to include a bathing/grooming area in...
Stucco On French Door Installation
Hi, I am replacing a window with french doors in the...
adding a room, relocating stairs, relocating kitchen
My husband and I are planning on adding a one story...
Popcorn Ceiling Removal...Is it worth it?
I have read many of the posts regarding Popcorn Ceilings...
question about getting a bid from contractors
We're getting ready to put an addition on our house...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™