Adding Glazing to a Door
Our six-panel entry doors are made of solid wood. Could I just remove two of the panels and replace them with glass?
Our six-panel entry doors are made of solid wood. We'd like to add some natural light to the foyer without replacing the doors. Could I just remove two of the panels and replace them with glass?
—Mathew Brown, Shelby Township, Mich.
Norm Abram replies: This could be an easy job
if the panels are held in place with applied moldings. Then you could simply pry off the molding, take the panel out, and add the glass. Most of the time, however, the wood panels fit into grooves cut into the door's stiles and rails. If that's how your door is made, you'll have to cut off one side of the groove. I'd do that using a router, a bearing-over flush trim bit, and a template to guide the bit and ensure accuracy. Use a chisel to square up the corners where the router can't reach.
To limit condensation, the new glazing should be insulated glass held in place by new trim molding. This trim should be glued and nailed to the door. There are other fussy details about installing glazing in a door, but I think you get the idea: It will be a lot of work. Perhaps you'd be better off replacing the doors with new ones that already have the glazing you want.