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How to Adjust French Doors

Poorly adjusted French doors can impact houses negatively in many different ways – draught can come through, heat energy can escape and burglary protection may decrease. Air and heat can easily pass through small gaps in the sealing. Luckily, it is very easy to adjust French doors. Do-it-yourself enthusiasts can perform the procedure themselves and save the money they would have had to spend on expensive professionals. This manual will guide you through the different steps of the process.

1. Preparations

It is very important to read through the different steps and make sure to have all necessary tools in place before you start to adjust. Briefly studying this guide will save you time and prevent complications.

For adjustment methods a), b) and c), the plastic covers have to be removed from the bearings. You should also check the correct size of the Allen key or screwdriver. Furthermore, you have to check, whether you will need a working ladder or not. It is not obligatory to have a helping hand, but it can very useful

Modern French doors and windows are basically adjusted in the same way. You can use this manual to adjust other construction components as well.

2. The Structure of French Doors with tilt-and-turn Mechanism

In order to adjust French doors properly, it is important to determine the opening mechanism. The most common system is the tilt-and-turn mechanism. Please be aware of the elements comprising such a system:

  • Handle: It allows opening, tilting and closing of French doors. The locking cams are usually located on the side of the handle.
  • The lower corner bearing is located in the lower corner, but on the opposite side of the handle.
  • Upper stay bearing: the stay bearing is located in the upper section on the same side as the corner bearing.
  • Locking and mushroom cams: With normal doors and windows, the cams can be found on the side of the handle – with the exception of safety window.

3. Determining the Type

In the first step you have to determine, whether your French door is an older or newer model. The procedure of older doors is significantly more difficult than the procedure with newer models. This manual explicitly shows how to adjust modern aluminium, wooden or uPVC French doors with corner and stay bearings on the opposite side of the handle. With old wooden doors it is normally enough to renew the sealing. Should the renewing of the sealing not show positive results, it is suggested to instruct professionals with respective expertise.

4. How to adjust French Doors

After all necessary tools are in place and the working area is cleaned, you can start to adjust the French door. With the installation of new French doors or windows, you should always perform the methods a), b) and c) all together. Re-adjustment can be performed with the following steps:

  • If the component jams on the side of the handle, you have to adjust using method a).
  • If the leaf hits the side of the frame, you have to use method b).
  • If the door hits the upper or lower section of the frame, please adjust using method c).
  • Method d) shows how to adjust the contact pressure. It regulates draught coming through.

a) Diagonal Casement Adjustment

Should the leaf hit the doorframe You must adjust a terrace or French door diagonally; this can easily be done with the adjustment of the bearings on the sides.

  • Check the distance between the French doors leaf and frame with a tape measure or yard stick.
  • Remove the plastic covers from the corner bearings (lower hinge).
  • In order to adjust it, you have to turn the corner bearing adjusting screw. Turn it clockwise to lift the leaf and anticlockwise to lower it (Fig. 1).

b) Parallel Adjustment of the Sides

When the door jams the sides of the frame while opening and closing, it has to be lifted or lowered.

  • To adjust the leaf horizontally, you have to turn both screws alternately. The leaf will move in the direction of the bearings, when the screw in the stay bearing is turned clockwise and the one in the corner bearing anticlockwise. This movement can be reversed by turning in the opposite direction (Fig. 2).

c) Parallel Adjustment of the Height

To achieve ideal thermal insulation and a smooth opening, it is necessary to ensure that the door leaf is parallel to the sides of the frame. This is done with the following steps:

  • Measure the deviation of the French door and doorframe.
  • Remove the plastic cover from the corner bearing to expose the screw.
  • Adjust the screw, until the frame is parallel to the doorframe. Turn the screw clockwise in order to lift the casement and anticlockwise to lower it (Fig. 3).

Washers are the perfect accessories for the adjustment of a door hanging askew. Insert the washers between the lower section of the doors leaf and frame and loosen the screws in the bearings, until the door completely rests. Re-tighten them after the procedure.

d) How to adjust the Contact Pressure

The corner and stay bearing do not need to be touched in order to adjust the contact pressure. You will only need a few tools.

  • Locate the locking pins, looking on the side of the door which also features the handle. Safety doors may also have pins located on the hinge side.
  • Pull out the pins and turn them to adjust the contact pressure of your French door. Turn clockwise to increase and anticlockwise to lower the pressure.
  • Now you have to check whether the component is tight while also allowing for smooth opening and closing. Too low pressure has a negative impact on thermal insulation and draught, whereas too high pressure complicates the closing and can damage the sealing (Fig. 4).

5. Perfectly adjusted French Doors

These simple steps can help you to adjust French doors and windows yourself. After the different steps are internalised, you will be able to save money on professionals and can use these funds on hiring craftsmen for more complex tasks whenever necessary.

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