How To Add Glass Inserts To Exterior Doors

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Heather Jones
Heather Jones
I'm Heather, an author passionate about home improvements. My writing is your guide to making homes better. Let's explore easy ways to enhance your living spaces, from small fixes to exciting projects. Join me on a journey of making your house a cozy and stylish haven.

Front doors are like the first impression of the house. So if you fancy an entryway with a touch of glass, this article will show you how to add glass inserts to exterior doors.

Door glass inserts offer a quick and affordable way to design and transform your front door, especially if you’ve had a solid door for a while. Still, if you have broken or old glass inserts, this guide will show you how to replace them.

Easy DIY Steps to Add Glass Inserts to Exterior Doors

1. Remove the Door from its hinges

The first step involves prepping your external door for re-facing. First, remove the door from its hinges. Next, unscrew the door handles and locks and set them aside.

Lay the door across the two sawhorses and distribute the weight evenly. If you have existing glass inserts, you want to replace, unscrew the screws from the inside frame. If the glass is stuck, run a blade on the edges to cut loose some sealant or adhesive used while installing them.

2. Measure the dimensions of the exterior door

Take a tape and measure the length and width of the door. Next, measure and mark the exterior door with a pencil. The pencil marks represent the cutting spots on the front side of the door

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If your door’s design is flat and even, measure from end to end, such that the cutout opening is square.

Ensure the marking on the exterior door is inspired by the size of the glass insert you plan to add.

3. Mark the cutting area with painter’s tape

Having marked the door with a pencil, reinforce the markings with painter’s tape. Ensure the tape makes sharp edges and takes over the shape of the glass you want to insert. Lining with the tape around the cutting is ensures that the rest of the door is damaged while cutting.

4. Cut the hole on the front side of the door

Begin by drilling 3/8” or ½” starter holes in all four corners of the marked door. Then, you can use a Power Screw Driver with a Philips Head Bit. Before you start cutting, ensure the jigsaw has a short-stroke blade and goes about 1″ into the door’s core.

Insert the jigsaw into the drill holes you already created and cut along the marked edges of the door. Cut slowly from corner to corner.

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Keep the upstroke of the jigsaw blade on the door surface. Note that you may feel a bit of resistance if you’re cutting near the handle set –the material is denser.

Caution: Don’t attempt to cut the door through from one side. You risk ruining the door and sabotaging your project.

5. Flip the door and repeat steps 2-4

Flip the door so that you can work on the backside too. Repeat the process of measuring, marking, and cutting. Double-check and ensure the measurements and markings are accurate.

6. Strip the tape & remove debris

Once you’ve cut through the door, remove the tape now that its purpose is done. Next, clean off any chips from your cuts using a broom or a shop vac, and then wipe with a damp rag.

7. Prep the new glass door insert

The door glass has two different sections; the outside and inside frames. The outside frame has the door glass, while the inside frame has holes for attaching the screws and screw plugs.

Unpack and separate the glass door sections; if you hadn’t. Unscrew the interior frame to expose screw holes

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8. Install the new glass insert

Lift the door off the sawhorses. Gently lift the glass door and lay it on the sawhorses, ensuring that the outside frame with the glass is lying on the sawhorses. Also, ensure that the temper stamps appear on the bottom of the door –it proves that the glass is installed correctly.

Now lift the hollow door and place it carefully on the door glass. Ensure that the side that screws the door glass together is face-up, meaning the side of that door inside the house.

Tip: place the bottom edge of the hollow door snugly to the bottom of the glass door to distribute the weight evenly.

Place the inside frame you removed earlier align them by matching screw holes. Insert each screw into the hole and tighten it using the power screwdriver. The frames should fit snugly against the door with the compressed seal.

Do not over-tighten the screws; you may damage the glass insert.

Finish installing the glass by tapping the screw plugs into each screw.

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9. Reinstall the new door

Lift the new door off the sawhorses and reinstall it on its hinges. Once it’s secure, refasten the door handles and locks.

10. Clean the new door

Finish by cleaning your new glass door using standard window cleaner to give it a shine. Buff the solid part of the door with a soft cloth.

Bottom Line

Updating the vibe of your home couldn’t be easier now that you know how to add glass inserts to exterior doors. So you get more light indoors and a sophisticated front door. Good luck!

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