Categories: Doors

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).

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?

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

View Comments

  • 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!!!
    Buck

  • 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.

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