French Doors with Built In Blinds
French Doors – Built In Blinds
French Doors with built in blinds between the glass panels are great. Typically French Doors don’t provide much privacy because of all the glass. If you wanted privacy with a French Door in the past you would have to install some type of blind or a curtain attached to the door. You no longer have to settle for that option because you can now buy most all French Doors with the blinds built in.
When I designed our new home my wife was concerned about having French Doors in our breakfast nook. She was worried about privacy and shading from the afternoon sun. She has never been a huge fan of mini-blinds because she hates cleaning them. When I told her I could order the French Doors with the mini-blind built into the insulated glass she was very interested in trying the product.
I’m happy to say we’ve been very pleased with this feature. The blinds have two controls on the door, one to raise and lower the blinds and another to control the tilt of the blind blades. The great benefit of these blinds is they never need to be cleaned because they are contained within the sealed void between the pains of glass. The cost was similar to buying a set of mini-blinds so in my opinion you’d be crazy not to order a door with this feature. If you want full light from the window just open up the blinds all the way and you don’t even know they are there.
How Mini Blinds Between Glass Work
Built-in mini blinds between the glass on windows and doors is pretty easy to manufacturer when you see a typical section. The photo to the right is a section through a Pella window that offers the blinds between the glass. As you can see in the photo, the window has a traditional insulated double pane on the exterior of the window followed by a larger space for the built-in blinds. Lastly there is another piece of glass the encloses the blind system. Fixing those blinds if they malfunction really depends on the system the window or door manufacturer uses and whether it’s a sealed unit or not.
Common Problems with Built In Blinds
Built in blinds are far less susceptible to damage compared to the old fashion standard window blinds. However, when they do break it can be really hard to fix them. There are a couple common problems with built in blinds including:
- Control Handle Disconnects – On many of the new models now available the control handles on the outside of the glass are connected to the internal controls with powerful magnets. This allows the controls to be used without compromising the energy efficiency of the glass. What typically happens is if you try to move the blinds up and down inside the glass while the blinds are in the “closed” position there is too much tension on the system and the magnet lets go. The control handle will likely slide down to the bottom. This can be fixed by moving the handle up to the position when it let go. Next be sure to “open” the blinds before moving them up or down.
- Control Cable Breaks – In some situations the internal cables can break. If that happens you’ll have to get a new glass insert. Most all of these built in blinds are sold in sealed glass panels that cannot be repaired. Contact your vendor and see what options are available. The good news is replacing the glass panel is typically quite easy after removing a few screws and trim pieces.
Blinds Between Glass Manufactures
I know several door manufacturers now offering blinds between the glass on French Doors. Check out the following manufacturers (we have Therma Tru doors in our new home).
- Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors – Jeld-Wen Blinds Between Glass
- Pella Windows and Doors – Pella Designer Series
- Therma Tru Doors – Therma Tru Internal Blinds
I highly recommend this type of product if you’re planning on buying a new French Door.
If you’re looking for information on how to repair doors with built in blinds then please read:
Can Blinds Between Glass Be Repaired?
I agree – but I need a french door for an interior room with the BBG. Know where I can get them? my search has found that can only get this feature in a exterior door -which would look funny in a space that separates 2 interior rooms.
The reason you only find them on exterior doors if they work on dual pane glass. You won’t find an interior door with dual pane glass. The glass is far too heavy for a regular interior door and frame.
As a former window/door installer, a five-year millwork specialist at Home Depot, a ten-year millwork specialist at Lowe’s and a current service tech for TM Cobb/ThermaTru, I can say a lot of what you right here is spot on.
You are correct about the blinds not being available for interior doors, but I have offered the suggestion to many people:
Order an exterior door, remove the threshold and weatherstripping and use it as an interior door, if you really, really want the internal many blinds.
I also highly recommend the ThermaTru flush glaze, as the standard glazing like what you find on the shelf at Lowes or Home Depot is pretty ugly.
thx for answer -tho not what I wanted to hear :-). Yep, knew about the dbl-pane glass thing. I have a source that is saying they can put a ‘exterior slab w/BBG” into a “interior frame”, so get the best of both worlds? or amI asking for trouble? didnt’ know about the additional weight thing -would that be a problem? Even tho my source says they CAN do it -SHOULT I do it? thanks!
I think you can do it so long as they put it in a solid door slab and you use regular jambs, not split jambs. Make sure you shim and nail the jambs really well.
We have these doors and the blinds have gotten tangled before they were installed. How can they be fixed?? Please help!!!
I think you’ll need a glass company to take apart the door. The blinds are located between two pieces of insulated glass. I have a feeling that there is a gasket between the two pieces of glass that will need to be replaced once the glass is separated in order to un-tangle the blinds.
love the blinds between the glass, but can they be replaced with a different shade of blind? The other blinds in my family room are natural wood blinds. I would like to have natural wood mini blinds in my french doors. Can and how do I replace the mini blinds in between the glass in my french doors?
Currently this particular manufacturer only offers white blinds. I’m not sure about the others. The only way you could do this to an existing door is by replacing the glass all together. And that might not be possible depending on the size of your unit and whether the manufacturer even offers this product.
I have had these doors for about 5 years; never a problem; absolutely love them. I live in Texas and when Hurrican Ike came to visit us in September the outside glass on one of the doors got broken. The doors do have tempered glass so it didn’t just fly all the place. Does anyone know how I can have the glass and blinds replaced? I think there is some type of gas between the doors and the blinds have been exposed to the elements, so I think they may rust eventually. HELP!!!
Do you know what brand you have? Most door supply places can order replacement glass. They are fairly easy to swap out as the glass is a sealed unit with the blinds in it.
Yes, my doors are Reliabilt. I bought them at Lowes.
@ silverlovinglady – I think you should be able to buy the glass “unit” and then replace the broken one. Typically the glass is a pre-assembled unit that is sealed with the blinds already in them. I would think Lowes could at least order the glass for you and possibly offer service to replace it. Honestly replacing the glass isn’t all that hard. You remove the frame screws, remove the old glass assembly, install the new one and put the screws back.
I have been in touch with Lowes so that I can order the piece that you are speaking of. Lowes can’t find the information to contact ReliaBilt or Jeldwen. I am at my wits end now. Don’t know what to do.
Apparently ReliaBilt is the name that Lowe’s uses for items built exclusively for them. It appears to me that ReliaBilt was probably manufactured by Jeldwen.
I have a feeling that you’re going to have a very hard time getting a replacement for this door. If I were you I’d take the glass measurements to a local door/window shop that deals with Jelwen and see if they can get you a replacement.
I hate to say it but this is why I tell folks to buy from local hardware stores. I have some serious issues with some Big Box store products, doors, windows, lawn mowers, etc.
Last night when I got home Lowes called and somehow found a number to contact ReliaBilt. They have the piece on order for me now. I sincerely hope that it doesn’t get broken again. Too much trouble to get replacement. Thank you so much.
I would love to know the contact information for ReliaBilt for replacement glass.
Contact Lowes Costumer Care.
1 (800) 445-6937
I would love to know the source from anonymous on 9/11/08 for the blinds inside interior french doors. That is exactly what we are looking for. We want the double pane, in addition to the enclosing the blinds, for sound mitigation. Any help would be much appreciated.
We purchased these french doors with the blinds between the glass and we love them. The only drawback is that the lever that slides the blinds up and down occasionally doesn’t work and it leaves the blinds up. It appears stuck and we don’t want to force it. If anyone knows how to remedy this, I’d love to hear it.
As far as I know the only way to fix this is to replace the entire glass unit. The double pained glass has the blinds built into them.
I bought the french doors with built-in mini blinds. The lever for the blinds to move up/down broke. How do I fix it?
@ Gloria – What brand did you buy? You most likely have to replace the entire piece of glass.
I am also looking for a 32 inch interior french door with the blinds in between. Please let me know if you have any sources I could contact.
@ Carol – I think it’s unlikely that you’ll find an interior door like this. You’d probably have to use an exterior one and mount it on interior jambs.
The lever sometimes does come detached from the blides. The instructions tell how to fix it (it is not really broken). I believe the fix was to slide the lever entirely all the way to the top and then it catches onto the blinds again.
Wow! Thanks so much. Fixed mine like a charm! Thanks again!
we purchased beautifl french doors off the floor of Champion Windows, basically as is. $4400 doors for $1900. our up/down latch detached on the blinds, and I was soo mad at my husband and his BIG hands. i thought we were going to have to replace the whole window. I did some research and found Austin’s response above, and it worked!!! Austin, my husband asked me to thank you…..he was in BIG trouble =0) and I thank you too!! i really thot we were going to have to replace everything…….
Simply unsrew the panel from the door. If you look closely, you will see screws holding the entire inset of double pane glass, then looking from the side you can see the screws holding the blind panel to the door glass panes. They are two separate parts, and removing the blind section will not in any way open the panes or remove them. Anyone can buy these enclosed blinds to fit various door sizes, but opening up double panes would be very problematic.
Do whatever you wish to the inside. My blind is broken, and I am just trying to find the replacement blind (I believe I have – ODL Entry Point is company name.)
I have two 36″ interior doors already. Do you know where I can get the blind encasement to attach to this door. I would appreciate hearing from you. Thanks
Tony – As far as I know these are only installed on exterior doors. Most likely due to the weight of the assembly. You might be able to order a replacement piece and try to retrofit an interior door. I’d recommend installing some heavy duty hinges though.
I have a 9 foot door with glass insert (24 x 82″ with 1.5″ frame). I want to replace the insert with a custom insert which includes mini-blinds. Who can build this for me? Most sites I have visited do not make the inserts 82 inches tall.
Gerald – You should speak with a window department at a reputable lumber yard. Don’t go to the Box Stores, go to a real lumber yard. They can probably custom order that for you.
Hi. I love these doors too! However, the tab that keeps the blinds running up and down only lifts the blinds a certain way. Then it seems to lose “suction” and drops the blinds. The tab is all the way up and when I am bring it down to raise the blinds it “pops” and the blinds drop. I tried bringing the tab all the way down then up again, but that doesn’t seem to work. Any suggestions on how to fix this?
Annette – Do you know which brand you have? Do you know that the blinds need to be “open” for most brands before closing or opening the blinds up and down?
Todd, I too am having the same issue as Annette. I moved the tab all the way up and it went back into place, however when I try to raise the blinds, the tab “pops” back out about halfway and the blinds drop down. I have a Jeld Wen vinyl sliding patio door that is only two years old. Please help…Thank you!
Are you trying to do it while the blinds are “closed”? Most all of these the blinds must be “open” before you try to move them up or down.
I have the blinds/slats in the open/horizontal position.
Sounds like something is tangled inside. Where did you buy the door? I’d ask them for suggestions. Typically the only problem I’ve seen is when trying to raise or lower them when they are closed.
Do you still need help to fix this problem? I figured out how…can you slide the tab up and when you do does it “pop” back into place?
Barb, I’m having the same problem – what was your fix?
That’s what I was afraid of…thanks!
I have a Jeld Wen sliding door with blinds inside, the blinds on the fixed side don’t open or close all the way. Is there an adjustment that can be made to the top magnet that controls the opening and closing of the blinds?
Have you tried adjusting them when the blinds are open vs closed?
I have a Jeld Wen exterior door with inside blinds. Today I started having issues with the blinds, they are crooked in the frame, as the right side seems to have lost tension, and I can’t control whether they are ‘open’ or ‘closed’, also the controller tab seems to be skipping as I slide it up and down. I’ve tried returning the tab to the up-most position to realign the magnets but that doesn’t seem to be helping. The door is about a month old – any advice would be welcome!
The only thing I’d suggest is try lowering (fully extended to the bottom) blinds all the way, then try opening and closing them. Then try the same at the top. If you’re convinced the magnets are lined up you may need a service call.
What about the top slider, the one that makes them tilt? One of my French door sliders came loose and doesn’t do anything anymore. Is that a magnet thing too? The papers with it only showed how to fix the side slider.
I haven’t heard that the top slider is magnetic. The best thing to do is find out the manufacturer, then call their customer service line.
I was wondering if there was any way to fix a crooked blind in between glass. I have tried moving the blind up and down with the magnet but the blind still remains crooked. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
That’s a new one on me! I guess as a last resort I might take the door off the hinges and try moving the blinds while the door is laying down or other angles..see if “gravity” helps.
Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog? My website is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would certainly benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Regards!
Go for it.
I just purchased and installed one of these doors from Lowes with the microblind insert. When I raise the blinds, I hear a high pitch squeal. It sounds like something is rubbing on the glass. When I lower the blinds I don’t hear the squeal. Is this squeal normal? Should I replace the insert?
Andrew – I’m not familiar with the brand that Lowe’s sells. I typically use ThermaTru or Jeldwen and never have that issue. Sounds like the weight of the blinds is causing something to rub as it goes up. I’d speak with a customer service rep and see what they say.
Does anyone use Pella or Andersen blinds? Sounds like they are all thermaTru or Jeldwen
Hi, I have two 9 foot French doors with glass insert (24 x 82″). I want to add the mini-blind insert. There must be someone who has them. All the sites I have visited do not make the inserts 82 inches tall. I gave up on the box stores but the local lumberyards were no help either… Any info that you can give will be greatly appreciated .
I’ve only seen them in used in 6’8″ doors.
We had patio doors with the mini blinds between the glass installed just a few months ago. I noticed one of the blinds seemed a little crooked when it was put up part way. I thought I’d give it some time to see if the problem would correct itself – instead the problem got worse. Now the blind in the other door is also crooked. I called the business that made the doors & installed them. They have a lifetime warranty on their product & installation so they were very good about it. They sent over a service man who tried putting the blinds up & down several times & checked the doors for being level. Finally he took several pictures & said he thought they would probably have to order us 2 brand new panels. Since then, the blind that was the worst seems to have improved & the other blind has become more crooked. So, obviously something is shifting when they are being put up & down. I am just wondering is this a common problem with these blinds because what is the point of ordering us 2 brand new panels if they also will go crooked with use.
Deb – Not sure on all manufacturers but I have some from Therma Tru that are now 7 years old and still work like new. While many people have documented problems even more love the product. I think it’s just so frustrating when you can’t fix them that it gets quite a bit of attention from upset owners. I myself would buy a door like this again in a heart beat.
I have wood french doors and I would like to know if I can purchase just the windows with the blinds and install them in my doors? If so, where can I purchase them?
I’m not aware of anyone selling just the glass units.
They can be purchased at Lowe’s as ‘replacement parts’. It’s up to you to make sure you get the right size. Try to measure the window in the door as if there’s no glass there, then MAKE SURE with Lowe’s that you’re getting the right size. Note: don’t always trust the sales people at the big box stores, many of them today are not specialists, even though their name tag says otherwise. Do the homework yourself, talk to the manufacturer if possible. Also, I’m pretty sure you’ll void the warranty if installed in a wood door.
Hi I purchased a Designer,Sliding French Door made by Pella with the build in blinds and on Father’s day when I woke up found the interior glass panel completely shaterred and all over my kitchen floor the door is only 4 years old I never seen anything like this before I contacted Pella and they are going to let me know if it’s still under the warranty can’t believe how it happened.
That won’t be covered in warranty, it’s four years old. They know the glass doesn’t spontaneously break. They’ll understand that you don’t know how it happened, but Pella won’t pay for it.
No worries, though. Genuine Pella replacement parts and service are available. Give them a call or visit their website to get started. Pella has phenomenal customer service, ranked #1 for years, they’ll have your back.
raise/lower tilt slide Parts – I don’t know the brand of these doors but the slides over the magnets have become brittle and broken. Can these parts be replaced?
Typically the entire glass unit must be replaced as the blinds are in a sealed pane.
We just bought a townhouse with french doors Windows with Built-In Blinds. The only brand name we can find is Specialty. They were probably installed new in 1997. The blinds are in sealed unit . One side wont open the string inside in broken. Would you know were to get replacement glass with shade. Or is total door replacement the only way to go?
Ed – I’d call the company directly and ask them where the nearest distributor is located. Replacing the glass unit will be much cheaper than an entire new door. Good luck.
We have speciality brand doors with sealed blinds too. I CANT find where i can get a replacememt. I see in tiny print on the seam of the glass specialty brampton 02 07
Please share any information. Thanks
Have french doors with in glass blinds jeld wen and the handle on the inside is loose. Is there a way I can tighten it? Iv taken the handle off with the allen screw and cant figure out how to make the circle that touches the door snug only been used 6months
Nate – Most door locksets have a set of screws that connect the outer handle to the inner handle and clamps the entire trim tight. I’m not familiar with the door handle you’re speaking about with an allen wrench.
And also im speaking of the door knob/handle not the blind
I have a set of French Doors made by Reliabilt bought from Lowes. One of the mini blind sliders became disengaged from the blind with an audible click or snapping sound. After pushing the slider back up until I felt and heard it click into place the blind would only raise about half way and disengage again. The fix was two snaps or clicks, after the slider engages once, keep pushing up on the slider until it snaps again. It takes a little force to achieve the second snap but not excessive force. Once you achieve the second snap with the blind slider your blind should work like new again. Hope this helps.
I purchased a home and the French doors have blinds between the glass. there is no magnet area to open and close the blinds. However, they door appear to have the ability to tilt because one door the blinds are tilted closed down and the other side the blinds are tilted up. I cannot figure out how to open them. The previous owner did not live here so he has no idea. There is a large 1 1/2 to 2 inch area at the top of each blind. Can anyone help me?
Any name on the door hinges? Maybe you can post a picture to our facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/homeconstructionimprovement
I posted a photo of the doors to your face book.
I have Jeld=Wen french doors with the blinds, can i reverse the blinds to open from the bottom up. I thought about taking the glass out and turning it around.
Not sure that’s a good idea, most likely gravity will cause an issue.
That would not work. Window blinds use gravity to hang down, if you reversed the glass, gravity would but hold them at the bottom. What you’re proposing is similar to hanging a curtain upside down, what would happen?
Some manufactures offer a ‘top down, bottom up’ cellular shade. They don’t tilt like horizontal blinds do, but you’ll be able to open the top down, as is your desire.
Look into it.
I have the white french doors with the mini blinds inside the glass I have been trying to fine someone to repair the blinds or fine a replacement , please if you can help . My doors are about 7 years old . I think the doors are Masonite. I can not get help from Home depot where I bought the doors from. just need to be directed to someone who can replace the glass with a new blind to keep . I think I have called a minimum of 40 different door companies to no avail. please if you can help.
If they’re Home Depot & Masonite, they’re actually Jeld-Wen doors. But Jeld-Wen isn’t a manufacturer, they’re a conglomerate distribution company, so it can be pretty hard to determine the actual manufacturer.
Use a mirror to look at the top of the door, or get on a ladder to look. Hopefully (for you) the painter didn’t finish it right and the manufacturer’s logo, order number, stock number or some other clue will help figure out what exact door you have.
Replacement parts are available, and most companies keep it simple and use the same size glass inserts.
I am the supplier of Blind between the glass
I have French doors with blinds between the glass. There is no magnet or lever to open or close them. They have been opened in the past before I ouch asked the home. I am trying to find out how they open and the prior owner is not available to ask. The name on the door is celcoon3. Can anyone help
I purchased a Jeld-Wen french door. When it was loaded the blinds got crooked in the door. How can I get the blinds back in the track. Only a few of them fell out of the track.
Your help would be greatly appreciated.
Sounds like it’s time for a call to Jeld-Wen. Sorry….these things are really tough to do anything to after the fact.
Hi i have a question. I was going down with my magnet and one of the plastic clips that holds the magnet broke. Still goes up/down but afraid the entire thing will come off. Is there a replacement magnet i can buy? Thank you
You would have to contact the actual door manufacturer. Likely the entire glass assembly needs to be replaced.
I bought my French doors with mini blinds about 10-12 years ago at our local Home depot. My mower the a rock and broke one of the windows. I called Home Depot with the door name on top-XX WH Premdor Entry Systems from Ontario Canada. The metal between the glass sheet say’s Specialty Brampton 02 04. Home Depot told me they never heard of it, though I bought the doors there. I checked on line and the closest distributer is on The Isle of Sandwick in the UK. Any ideas?
Unfortunately if you want blinds…you likely will have to get a new door. This is one reason I try very hard to sell my customers name brand doors/windows so that future repairs are easier. Good luck.
All of this info is informative..I have Masonite doors with encased blinds and the string ( cord )has broken.. naturally, I’d love to replaced just the glass and blind insert, But,l haven’t found a place to buy just that section without buying whole door.. ugh!! ANY suggestions??
Ron – Call masonite and ask if there is a local dealer than can order the insert for you.
Can I add just the window with the blinds to a current door?
Typically that’s not an option.
I have 2 Masonite French doors with the in-door mini-blinds and they are terrible. In the 2 years I’ve had them, both doors have failed twice, both times due to the mini-blinds malfunctioning. The first tiem Masonite sned two replacement doors, Home Depot installed for free. Now, same exact issues with both doors, Masonite sent just the mini-blind inserts and I am expected to do the work. Home Depot won’t install them, not for free at least even though they are still under warranty. Masonite won’t respond to my question about why inserts vice complete doors or my complaints about the whole process.
We hate the doors, nothing but trouble.
Here is my question… Do these mini-blinds break after 10 years, guaranteed?… or are there some cases of where people enjoy 15 to 20 of perfect operation? Also, despite the added cost of repairs, would the people on here buy them again? Have the looks and functionality been worth the extra $$.
I am trying to decide if I should pay extra for a Sliding Patio Door with this very nice feature. I am working with KV Custom Windows and Doors. (Canadian Company).
Cons: Less energy efficient (air gap instead of argon). Only a 5 year warranty on the mini blinds. The cost is $440 more than the other, more efficient, door that I was considering with KV.
Pro’s: Perfect for my small kitchen. Very nice looking… and so cool! I think there is a wow factor, and an added “re-sale” perk.
Basically that it seems they will cost me more money up front, and over the life of the door… I am just trying to figure out if people have found it’s worth it.
Mike – I have two French doors in my house with them (4 doors total). The house is 12 yrs old now…so far so good. I think the issue really is two fold. One buy a good quality product from a company that can/will service them. Secondly, if these will get daily use maybe it’s not a great idea….we use our a few times a month.
ok on the SAME topic. Just installed French doors with blinds. This set only has one control for both functions. The control is pushed up to slant blinds closed then pushed down to slant the other way and then pushed further the blinds come up. One is disconnected. I have tried the two snap process without luck. any other suggestions??
I have two French doors with built-in blinds the glass can come out it has these sliders all around it how do I take it out with the thing at the bottom that you turn the blinds up and down I’m wondering how to clean the glass in between it’s filthy
If there’s a way I could take a picture to show you what I’m talking about I would but I don’t know how to do that to get it to you
where can i find the little buttons to cover up the screws that hold in the glass frame? contractor threw them out.
check with your local lumber yard
My french doors raise and lower very well, my problem is the tilt at top, blinds will not tilt to open. many video’s to fix lowering and raising blinds , have not found any about the tilt magnet at top. to open tilt and close. Please help.
Are the different brands uniform in the sizes of the windows? I don’t want to have to purchase a new door, just replace the insert with one that doesn’t have the blinds. The insert is stamped Specialty Brampton.
It’s my experience that they are not all universal.
I have a Specialty Brampton double door and I need a glass replacement because the blind broke inside
I also have a Specialty Brampton and the blind broke inside the glass. It seems the size is different from anything local. Any thoughts? Local glass company wants over $800 and it won’t match the other side.
Unfortunately I do not, might be better off replacing the door.