How to Replace an Exterior French Door Astragal – Part 3

How to Replace an Exterior French Door Astragal: Mark and drill mounting holes, install the new aluminum astragal (t-astragal) and rehang the door.

This project is continued from How to Replace an Exterior French Door Astragal – Part 2.

After removing the old wooden astragal and glue the split door frame, I’m now ready to install the new AstraSEAL aluminum astragal on the patio French door. The installation instructions are a single page and the job was straightforward. The new t-astragal is 1-3/4 inches wide (to fit a 1-3/4 inch thick door) and 79-1/4 inches tall.

Exterior Door Astragal Installation Instructions

Exterior Door Astragal Installation Instructions

Exterior French Door Repair: Install the T-Astragal

The new aluminum t-astragal has very tight tolerances and fits very snugly over the edge of the 1-3/4″ wide door. Begin by aligning the astragal evenly with the top of door and use a flat hand to press the astragal onto the door edge, working evening from top to bottom along the length of the door. It’s a very tight fit – but take it slow and it’ll go on.

This view from the top of the door clearly shows how the astragal “clamps” itself over the door edge. The red line traces the door profile to more clearly show the fit between the astragal and the door. Click on the image for a full size view.

French Door Repair: Aluminum Astragal set on the Door Edge

French Door Repair: Aluminum Astragal set on the Door Edge

A wide carpenter’s level is used to verify the astragal is even with the top of the door.

Exterior French Door Repair: Check the T-Astragal Alignment

Exterior French Door Repair: Check the T-Astragal Alignment

The t-astragal screw positions are marked on the door to drill pilot holes in the wood door edge:

Mark the Screw Positions to attach the T-Astragal

Mark the Screw Positions to attach the T-Astragal

The instructions say to remove the astragal before drilling pilot holes for the attachment screws. Since the t-astragal has clamped itself tightly to the door, I chose to leave it on and drill the 1/8 inch pilot holes with it in place, being careful not to let the drill chuck make contact with and mar the aluminum astragal.

Exterior French Door Repair: Drill Pilot Holes for the Astragal Mounting Screws

Exterior French Door Repair: Drill Pilot Holes for the Astragal Mounting Screws

The astragal is attaches to the door with the supplied screws. Don’t over torque the screws or you’ll strip the threads out of the wood.

Exterior French Door Repair: Install the new T-Astragal

Exterior French Door Repair: Install the new T-Astragal

Two vinyl snap-in covers are provided with the astragal to cover the channel between the slide bolts and strike plates for the door lock. The dead bolt and strike plates are adjustable to match your door handle. I used the old astragal to align the two plates, then marked and cut the vinyl covers with a hack saw to fit.

Aluminum Astragal and Vinyl Snap-In Covers

Aluminum Astragal and Vinyl Snap-In Covers

Full length view of the patio French door with the aluminum astragal. This really cleaned up the door’s appearance!

Patio French Door Repair: New Aluminum Astragal Installed

Patio French Door Repair: New Aluminum Astragal Installed

Rehang the Exterior French Door

To rehang the door on the hinges, retract the slide bolts on the astragal, align hinge leaves on the door and jamb, then slide in the door hinge pins. This French door weighs 65 lbs and a helper is needed to hold the door.

Exterior French Door: New Aluminum T-Astragal

The new French Door astragal fits perfectly! I really liked the sturdy aluminum construction and the steel rods for the slide bolts. The rods extend up to ~3 inches beyond the door top and bottom edges to securely fasten the door in the sill and top jamb.

Exterior French Door Repair: Bottom View of the New T-Astragal

Exterior French Door Repair: Bottom View of the New T-Astragal

The new French door t-astragal seals evenly between the two doors to keep out drafts, rain, dust, etc:

Exterior French Door Repair: New T-Astragal Weatherseal

Exterior French Door Repair: New T-Astragal Weatherseal

Full view of the doors and new astragal.

Exterior French Door Repair: New Aluminum Astragal

Exterior French Door Repair: New Aluminum Astragal

My next job is to clean and paint the doors.

Hope this helps,

Bob Jackson

Copyright © 2014 HandymanHowTo.com   Reproduction strictly prohibited.

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8 Responses to How to Replace an Exterior French Door Astragal – Part 3

  1. Kevin January 7, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Thanks for the tutorial. I’ve been searching for a solution to our weatherizing problem for months — 40 year old house with slightly warped, double entry doors that have significant gaps at the top and bottom of center. (That’s just the way it was constructed.) A major part of the problem was finding the correct terminology for the Astragal. Now it’s time to eschew the folded pieces of paper towel that have been stopping up the gaps — time to do it right and get it fixed. Thanks again.

  2. Steve January 11, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    Hi, Bob,
    Really appreciated your tutorial. Here’s my issue: I want to replace a wooden astragal that was damaged during a break-in. The old astragal that was part of the door is 1/2″ thick where it fits between the doors.
    I wonder whether the Astraseal astragal would work in this particular application. I like the Astraseal and think it would be a much more secure addition to the double doors to prevent future break-ins.

    • Bob Jackson January 11, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

      The AstraSEAL™ aluminum astragal is 1-1/8 inches thick on the door gap measurement, so it wouldn’t fit the 1/2″ gap between your doors.

      Are you sure your doors have a 1/2 inch and not a 7/8 inch gap? Check that the door is plumb with a bubble level and measure the door gap. 7/8 inch is a standard french door gap dimension. See the Ultimate Compatible Astragal by Endura Products.

      If you have difficulty fitting an aluminum astragal and your door is solid wood, you could remove the door and have the outside edge trimmed (sawed) to widen the door gap. I’d take it to a millworks and cabinet shop for a precision job. Measure twice, cut once.

      • Bob Jackson January 11, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

        See the illustration #5 on page 2 of the Ultimate Astragal Lite installation instructions. The required gap between the doors is 13/16 inches. Only 5/16 inch greater than than the 1/2 inch gap per your measurements.

  3. Steve January 15, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    Bob,
    Thanks for taking the time to e-mail me and to answer my query–it was helpful in making a determination to mill the customers door vertically to fit the astragal.
    Steve

  4. Debra October 5, 2013 at 2:52 am #

    I have been trying to figure out why my French doors didn’t seal properly, and how to put weatherstrip on them. I knew the astragal had a slit in it, I didn’t realize there must have been some in there that came with the doors.

    Anyway, had already figured out I needed to replace the old hinges, which helped a little, but there were still gaps in the top and middle of the doors.

    Thank you very much for this information. I ended up reading all parts each of the French door articles and they were all very informative and helped me understand the construction of the doors and what the astragal was, and about the stationary door locks. I really liked the way you showed the repairs step by step with actual color photos. I haven’t been able to find a website that showed in such detail.

    Thank you very much.

    • BobJackson October 5, 2013 at 10:11 am #

      > I really liked the way you showed the repairs step by step with actual color
      > photos. I haven’t been able to find a website that showed in such detail.
      Thank you for writing. I strive to clarity, quality and detail when I document home improvement projects. I know it’s frustrating to search the web and only find a bunch poorly written instructions that only touch the wave crests.

  5. MTGant June 21, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    Outstanding help. Within a half-hour, I had removed the old astragal and started dealing with a problem that had stymied me for several years.

    Thanks.

    MTGant

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