French Door Dilemma

It seems that with most things we are picking out for the house, I find myself asking the classic question of “how much will this option suck to clean, compared to the other option?”

Our current dilemma is for the French doors we are putting in. We love the look of the ‘older version’ ones:

The problem with this one though is the cleaning. Not only do you have to clean each pane individually, but you also have each ledge collecting dust. Also, there are pretty big screws that show on the inside of the door. Bummer!

The other option is for the grid to be inside. The thing that kills me with this look is the fact that since all glass is energy efficient now, it tints the white grid to a now tan look. The contrast of white to tan kills me! Dramatic, yes I know! Also, it feels more modern to me, which isn’t what we love.

We can always do doors with no grid, but I think we both prefer having a grid a little more. So what would you do? Would you go with the more classic look, even if its a pain? Or the grid inside the panes of glass, thats not exactly how we like for it to look, but would be so easy to keep clean? Or, do we go with the solid glass, no grid, option? That way theres not tan grid, and no pain in the butt to clean problems?

Decisions, decisions! Would love your input, please:)



  1. says

    I’m with Clair – you’ve got a new baby (crawling, then walking in the blink of an eye!) and cleaning windows, dusting the frame is not something you’re going to be wanting to do!!

  2. says

    I love the look of just glass, no panes, no grid. Easy cleaning, especially with dust storms and hand prints from your son either wanting to go in or outside.
    The grid on the inside of the glass just looks sort of modern and cheesy. But that’s just me.

  3. says

    I lived with my folks while my husband was deployed last year, and they have french doors without the panes and it was my job to clean them. I have to say that it was super easy to do and less time consuming. That would be my option if I was the shopping…

  4. says

    When we added on a few years ago, we put in three sets of the older french doors. Every time I clean windows, I regret it. Hope that helps and Merry Christmas!

  5. says

    I have the exposed grids, I also have 3 dogs an 3 kids an a full time job, an cleaning them is not a big deal, but also it’s pretty low on my priority list, but I would say staring at the white/tan combo would make me crazy!!��good luck don’t stress they are jus doors

  6. says

    I say grid inside the glass or no grid – ease of cleaning is much more important when you’re cleaning the windows yourself. Less stress is much more valuable than the “look” you love.

  7. Amy says

    I adore the charm of my 1920s french doors! I think that charm would be lost with the inside grid doors. To clean, I use an all natural cleaning solution (water, vinegar and a drop of 7th gen. dish soap) for the glass and a microfiber duster for the pains. It’s a breeze. Good luck!

  8. says

    Now that you have children – keep in mind that eventually someone is going to kick a football through one of those glass panes. It’s much cheaper to replace one pane in an ‘old fashioned’ door instead of the entire door.

  9. says

    We have a large window in our living room with the grid on the outside and it is a real pain to clean, especially the dust on the ledges like you mentioned. We have a 200 year old farmhouse and we also have a sliding glass door with the divided lights on the inside and it looks nice and not out of place. I am extremely fussy with things looking old and authentic in our house and it doesn’t look out of place. I understand what you are talking about with the screws too. We bought a solid door for our back door because every door with glass had the ugly screws showing. My parents make fun of us for how fussy we are about getting things for our house, we just think its normal! 🙂

  10. says

    Personally, I would say no grid. I agree that both grid options are less than perfect, and the no grid doors will let more light in and won’t be as much of a focal point. You are such an amazing “decorator” that the doors being clean and “modern” would be ok. You can create symmetry a more old school look and create architectural elements with the decor/art/furniture that you choose. Just my opinion, of course. And anything that you choose will look great, as usual! 🙂 I am super jealous that you get to make these kind of decisions. I’ll have a house someday 😉 (darn expensive California!!)

  11. says

    Hi Adri, I have to say I like the older look with the individual panes. Have you tried norwex cloths? I have to recommend them as they are super nice (no cleaner needed with them) and will make cleaning the doors faster and easier. Every time I’ve commented on your blog I’ve recommended a product which is funny because I really don’t buy many products at all! I think whatever you choose you can make look great.
    =) Erica

  12. says

    I used to have one French door with the outside grids. I personally really don’t like the inside grid look at all. I dislike how all the windows in the newer Az homes are so characterless with barely any trim at all. I LOVED my French door, I didn’t hate cleaning it. Now if I had several French doors that might have been a different matter. I don’t mind cleaning in general though, consider it ALMOST a pleasure and a way to honor the fortunate fact of having nice things. WIth three children, now almost grown I was never one to think how much pain cleaning something would be. If I really liked it, it was worth cleaning.

    We also had the exposed holes. for years I MEANT to fill them and just paint the whole door frame. Never did get around to that. Guess I don’t consider filling holes and painting grids such an honor.. . 🙂

  13. says

    Have you thought about having just the grid on the outside and making a removable grid for the inside that lines up with the outside one? It wouldn’t be hard to make and could just be popped out for cleaning.

  14. says

    My parents have those exact doors with the old fashioned panes and let me tell you…with having grand kids over all the time she hates cleaning them.. Plus the divider between the panes is kind of flimsy and over time doesn’t stand up to a lot of wear and tear

  15. says

    I would take a slight tan color any day over having to clean so many individual panes when children are in the equation! Go for the greater function!!!

  16. says

    Could you get the no grid doors and then fashion your own set of grids that pops in ( and out for easy cleaning)? There should be som sort of lip around the window.

  17. Anonymous says

    You will look at those doors a hundred times a day, so I’d say buy what you guys love. A little dusting/washing once and a while probably won’t kill the love 🙂 might be different if it was a cooktop or faucet that would get heavily used/dirty and require constant cleaning.

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