How to? French doors into arched opening

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
I'm looking for ideas.

I have a interior dry-walled opening in a load bearing wall, with 82" high side 'pillars' and 92" at the peak of the arched opening. Want to enclose with French doors - and can get a pair of pre-hung French doors for reasonably cost (for a rectangular opening). The question is how to deal with the arched top? Prefer a window... and the question is how you might do that:
- One flat-bottomed arched-top window that tapers to zero
- a sunburst type pattern
- other ideas?
Are there commercial window people that do such things?

A few other notes:
- a pre-hung, arched top custom set of doors came in at $6k for paint grade, (with casings)! Not going to happen
- the archway is actually a double wall that is 11 1/8" thick. Uncertain exactly how to make the door look right in that opening; 1. Would you center the door? 2. Would you extend jams all the wall across the 11+" or trim it somehow in the opening?
- the framing on the 'double wall' seems to be separate 2x4 walls - because the middle of this 11+" wall is hollow sounding. This of course has bearing on where the door is set ( how far back in to the opening.
- looking at the attic, there is a roof support pillar that lines up directly above the middle of the arch (one floor below) - so I have no doubt there is a subtantial header above this arch (i.e. can't remove drywall and re-frame.

Thanks
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, Events Director
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
First, I would align the hinges with one side of the 11" jamb - If you center the doors in the jamb you will restrict how far they swing open. If you must use standard doors and a top window, I would use a sunburst pattern, separating the window into four segments. Much preferred would be radius top doors which are not that hard to make.
 

Oka

Board of Directors, Vice President
Casey
Staff member
Corporate Member
Besides Phil's (good) advice -Based on the dimensions given, It looks like you do not have enough clearance to accommodate a 3" separation between the door top header and window to allow for framing and trim out.... unless the window width will be smaller in width than the door.
If it is an interior door, it is not structural so in theory if there is no header just a 2x or doubled 2x you could modify if desired.
 
Last edited:

Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
I would center the jamb toward the inside or inswing side of the hinges.

There are window companies that can make an arch window, but I will warn you a one off thing like that will be crazy expensive.

If you can get the glass cut, you can make your own. One way to go is one piece of glass with mullions in the starburst pattern. I've used acrylic in glass doors, and you can't tell the difference between it and glass.

If you want to go with an etched or frosted glass, check Benheim glass I just got some glass from them for cabinet doors excellent company to deal with.

Another option would be to square up the window opening and do a transom type window - much easier to make you may even find a premade window to fit.
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Staff member
Corporate Member
Try and contact an old school independent lumber dealer that has a millwork shop. They are a dying breed, I know, but the should be able to build anything you want reasonably. Stay away from the big box stores on this stuff. Too many fingers in the pie before you get your slice........
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
Try and contact an old school independent lumber dealer that has a millwork shop. They are a dying breed, I know, but the should be able to build anything you want reasonably. Stay away from the big box stores on this stuff. Too many fingers in the pie before you get your slice........
Stephenson's in Wilson would be my go to place.
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
First, I would align the hinges with one side of the 11" jamb - If you center the doors in the jamb you will restrict how far they swing open. If you must use standard doors and a top window, I would use a sunburst pattern, separating the window into four segments. Much preferred would be radius top doors which are not that hard to make.

ummm yes I had indeed thought of that previously (hinges and interference) , but of course forgot this when I posted my question. Thanks for the reminder though.

Radius topped doors - not too hard to make? Well I have only made cabinet doors, nothing this large, and certainly not made French doors either. Got any info sources you can recommend? Or are you just experienced and can do it?

It's not even the radiussed set of doors aspect that seems really daunting, as much as the casings on the arch .... although I believe I can out source those too.
 

Wiley's Woodworks

Wiley
Corporate Member
You could have a stained glass panel made to fit for about the same as a custom window and frame.
Mike's onto something here. The expense to which you're objecting is for one-off custom work. You can object but you can't begrudge the maker. Ask every custom furniture maker. Stained glass work by definition is one-off custom, and that is built into the price. The maker will work with you and design any look you want, including colored or all clear. One warning I learned the hard way. Stained glass makers charge by the piece, so stay away from intricate designs. The finished piece probably will come with a lead border/frame, but if you're on this website you can most likely doing the wood trim/molding work to hold it in place yourself.
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
When I was making stained glass back in 1978-82 I would have charged $300 to $1200 for a window that size. Wiley is right it is according to the number of pieces of glass which also calls for more lead and more soldering. I have no idea what people are charging for glass work now. It should be 3-5 times what i was charging back then but I'm sure you can find a hobbyist who undervalues their work just like many of the woodworkers.
 

mkepke

Mark
Senior User
Easiest: buy factory French doors and a factory radius window and trim the opening to fit.

Harder: get factory doors and a custom window.

Hardest: make custom French doors with radius.

Athough making doors yourself is the ‘hardest’ option, it is still do-able for a hobby shop.

But they require a lot of planning and space.

PS Radiused jambs are made pretty easily with cold bent laminations.

-Mark
 

Yelverton

Mitch
Corporate Member
It may be worth calling Mark Keglers at Keglers Woodworks. Mark's a great guy and I think he does some projects like this. He's also close to you (in Raleigh). (919) 608-7220.
 

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