Home>Discussions>DOORS & WINDOWS>Removal/Replacement of Entry Door Sidelights
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Aaron
Removal/Replacement of Entry Door Sidelights
Aaron

I recently bought/renovated a house that has an ugly front entry door unit. The frame is in fine shape, I just don't like the style and want to update it to match the rest of the house. My question is can I just pop the sidelight units out and replace them? I want to remove the whole sidelight unit (glass and surrounding frame) not just the glass. I plan to have some insulated/tempered glass panels made and will construct the new sidelights myself to fit the opening.

The frame surrounding the sidelight glass appears to be fiberglass and held in place by a little quarter round molding. If I pull off the molding and cut the seal from the outside, will I be able to pull it out or is it attached some other way? Will removing the sidelights damage the rest of the unit?

When I inspect the unit, there doesn't appear to be any way to remove the glass in case of breakage other than removing the whole sidelight unit. The profile around the glass seems to be just molded into the fiberglass frame. This leads me to believe you must be able to remove/replace the whole unit, but I'd love to have some opinions. I've never done this before and I'd appreciate some advice. I have pics if that would help, but I can't figure out how to attach them. I think the file size is too large and I don't know how to resize. Thanks!

P.S. If or when I put the new sidelight units into the opening, what sealant should I use?

Mastercarpentry
Re: Removal/Replacement of Entry Door Sidelights
Mastercarpentry

With side-lights, the usual is to replace the unit; as you've discovered the glass is usually placed into it's frame during manufacture and you have to disassemble the frame to replace it (if you can). Replacement side-lights are usually available or larger ones can be cut down to fit. There's usually a removable molding to facilitate this work but the joint may be hidden under a few layers of paint making it tough to discover.

You'll need to select a caulking to work with your intended finish. For paintable caulk I like "Duo-Sil" http://www.siroflexinc.com/duo-sil.php . For a clear (also paintable) exterior caulk I like "Lexel" http://www.sashco.com/products/lexel/. Both can be had at the 'big-box' stores. These can be messy and the Lexel is almost impossible to 'tool' smoothly so apply the bead carefully as you want it to appear to avoid the need to 'tool' it. If you make a mess, let it dry and use a razor blade to cut away what you don't want then try again.

As a 'last line of defense' I'd also run a small bead of pure silicone caulking at the bottom and slightly up each side where it will be hidden and not squeeze out into finished areas. Alternately do this with the stuff above so you'll have a double-seal against water ingression into the house.

Pics should be posted as links from a photo-sharing site; direct posting has been disabled here.

Phil

dj1
Re: Removal/Replacement of Entry Door Sidelights
dj1

A picture is worth a thousand words.

The sidelights that I've seen were always part of the door unit assembly.

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