We had our home inspection today and they found a problem we didn't know about. ( there is probably more but we were standing there and saw this) . We have French doors to our porch. We have never opened the dummy door and the inspector could not. He said the latches that go into the upper frame and lower sill were both broken so the door could not be opened. He did say that our realtor who is also a builder, could likely get the parts.
Just to educate myself I was trying to find something on the Internet about how these pieces go together. I could not find anything probably because I called them the wrong thing. Does anyone know of a website? With pictures if possible? Or tell me the proper name for those pieces so I can search further. The term latch just get me door knobs.
Just for clarification: A French door is made up of two doors that opens from the center (hinged on both sides). The door with the knob in it that you typically open/close to pass through is called the "Active Door". The other door is called the "Inactive Door". (in some cases that 2nd door is there for cosmetics only and doesn't open at all. That is called a "Fixed door".)
From your description, I'm assuming you mean that the hardware you use to open/lock the inactive door isn't functional. That hardware is known as the "Upper bolt" and "Foot bolt". In most modern doors they are concealed within the inactive door's edge. On older doors they were mounted to the surface on the inside of the door.
You can do a search on an "Ives 265B" for a sample picture of a common type of upper bolt.
In reality, you probably don't even need any parts. The mechanics of these is VERY simple. Most are made of brass and they will tarnish and stick if not used frequently. You may find that removing them from the door frame, working the mechanism a bit and a little lubrication (use a dry silicon spray lube!) will solve the problem.
Thanks for the names. I will search again.
Brass? I don't think so. These appear to be inexpensive doors and the visible parts are plastic. He said the plastic parts are broken not allowing either bolt to move.
Those terms did not help. Anyone else have any ideas?
Google flush mount bolts and surface mount for inactive doors...surface fits on the side while flush is on the face... I happened on several sites... as little as $10... different lengths to work with...
Thanks Becky, but I had found the hardware, just not what someone has to do to replace it.
I see the metal bolt going into the sill. The rest is plastic. I got off a small plastic cover but I see no screws anywhere. How is someone going to repair this? So I was looking for a website that had some repair information.
Just a guess, and not sure I am understanding but can you see anything if you remove the door from the frame/hinges? If there were some type of screws, they could be at the top and bottom of the door. Maybe the parts are just friction, wedged in to a drilled void?
Thanks, Conrad, but then you would have to saw through the metal bolt that is in the frame.
We made a few phone calls today trying to find someone to fix it. The closest we got was a glass company who said to send them pxs. Then my desktop computer (which is relatively new) started acting up and I could not load the px. Will have to retake some with my ipad tomorrow.
We understand the buyers may want us to give them a credit instead of repair. Most of the things on the inspection are minor or something a DIYer could do. But we don't know what price to put on this.
Frustrating for you, I am sure. Not sure what needs to be done for replacement, unless you can figure out from new parts how the old ones are installed.
Glass company was probably a good call, as they often do repairs on many different kinds of doors and windows. Pictures should help...a lot!
Hoping for the best.
I have found out some interesting things. The dummy door on a true french door has the mechanism for locking to the top and bottom frame inside the door on the non-hinge side. This is operated by the handle.
If there are bolts that you manually move on the edge of the door these are not really french doors. I forget the proper name for them but everyone refers to them as French doors. It is like the Kleenex name being used to describe any facial tissue.
Found out those doors were made by a local building supply store back in the late80's when there was a building boom. People that work there now don't even know they used to make them. So the parts are no longer available.
The good news is the repair man used a jack knife to pry up (or down) on mechanism so he got the door opened and relocked. So the doors are still useable, just not convenient. We will give the buyers a credit.
Thanks for posting back your discoveries.
We have two sets of these type of "French Doors" (that are not really called french doors) on our retirement home.
Personally the only time I have opened the "Inactive or Fixed door" (thanks Jim978) was to move in a large couch and chair. The great room door set also has two storm/screened doors with the same set up with center pins.
Since this is not that uncommon and actual use of these (inactive) doors are minimal, hope the credit is minimal too?
Not uncommon to have to pry on such doors to get them open. Typically a shove will do the trick. I wouldn't offer a credit to fix it.
We have French doors to our patio. The prior set had an inactive door and one that we used. Now we have two that operate. Even the best ones have problems--we have the top of the Anderson line and the bolts still have problems at times. That being said, can you find out the name of the door manufacturer and contact them? We use both of ours several times a year. I would never say that they were unnecessary or just a frill. Just try to get a piece of large furniture in a single door!
My experience is so very different from yours. I don't think I would ever have french doors again. We used the front door once and never again. All the furniture came in fine thru a single door. I think it limits the use of the wall space on each side of the door.
It is nice that there are alternatives on the market place so we can each pick what we like
I don't know where you got this info from but it seems a bit silly to me.
The bolts being activated by the handle is referred to as a "multi-point locking mechanism". That system was designed and patented by Anderson Windows (of Minnesota) in the late 1960s. I don't see how anyone could claim that it is only a "true" French door if it has a locking system invented in Minnesota after the term had already been in use for a couple of centuries.
The bolts that you manually operate that are built into the edges of the door are called "Flush bolts" and the French have been using them (as well as surface bolts) since the 1500's.
It's a minor nit but whoever gave you this info is full of horsey doo-doo.
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