Your Complete Guide to DIY Door Glass Installation

Door glass inserts are a quick, cost-effective, and simple way to completely transform the look of your entryway. By replacing broken or dated glass, or adding glass to a solid door, you’ll be able to completely change the look and function of your entrance in a single afternoon. Not only will you enjoy the new design and sunlight, but you’ll see an increase in curb appeal and home value. Win, win!

Let’s get started…

Follow this guide to learn everything you need to know about finding and installing the perfect door glass to transform your entryway.

Selecting the Perfect Door Glass Insert

There are several points of consideration when selecting your new door glass.

To pick out the perfect glass for your home, you’ll want to understand some of these differences in the glass options.

  • Glass Types

    Door Glass Inserts can come in several different pane options. The number of glass panes can effect the energy efficiency of the glass and also the noise cancelation. Glass inserts are available in single pane, double pane, and even triple pane. Not all pane options are available for all glass inserts and will vary based on design properties.

    Low-E Door Glass has an invisible film on the panes that provides additional energy efficiency. The film reflects radiant heat, which helps prevent heat transfer through the glass. This increases energy efficiency of the glass.

    Laminated Glass is a Double Pane glass that has been melted together with laminate in-between the layers. This creates a much stronger unit than traditional glass which prevents objects from breaking through the glass. We call this Impact Resistant Glass or Severe Weather Glass. This is the same style of glass used in car windshields.

  • Glass Caming

    Caming in door glass is referencing the metal work the joins together the different smaller glass pieces within the glass. Within the glass insert, there are smaller glass pieces that very in texture, color, and design. The caming holds all these different pieces together to form the glass.

    Caming finishes are an important consideration as they contribute heavily on the overall look and visual appearance of the glass. Different caming options are available for different designs. That way you can select a finish that matches the overall look and accessories of your home or entryway.

Glass Colors

Inside the glass inserts are various smaller pieces of glass. Each piece having their own unique glass color and glass texture that defines the overall design of that glass. When all these get pieced together, you get a beautiful glass insert that can be used for your entryway. Varying colors and textures provide different levels of transparency to the glass design as well. So you can increase or decrease the privacy level of a glass insert simply by changing the color or the texture of glass pieces used.

Glass Frames

The long-term performance of an exterior door with a glass insert is dependent upon the door glass framing system. Just as every building and remodeling project is different, so are specialized door glass framing systems. ODL and Western Reflections frames are durable, flexible and available in several different visual styles to match the look of your home. They are manufactured with high-performance resin that requires less long-term maintenance, and are engineered for quick installation for a variety of exterior doors.

Measuring Door Glass Inserts

Door glass inserts come in many different sizes.

How you measure will depend on if you are adding glass to an existing door or replacing glass that is already in your door.

Installing Glass in an Existing Door

If you are adding glass, you’ll need a jig saw to cut an opening for the new glass. If you are replacing glass, then you’ll need a drill. Check out our installation video below, or follow the step-by-step instructions to complete your door glass installation.

Adding Door Glass

Replacing Door Glass

1. Prepare the Exterior Door

Prepare the exterior door by removing the door from the hinges. Remove the handleset from the door. Lay the door down across the sawhorses.

2. Measure the Exterior Door

Measure the exterior door (Refer to the measurement guide). Measure and mark the cutting area on the front side of the door. If your door is flush (no embossments), measure corner to corner of the cutout marking to make sure the opening is square.

3. Mark the Cutting Area

Mark the glass area by applying painter’s tape around the cutting area where the door glass will be inserted, to prevent damage while cutting.

4. Cut the Hole for the Door Glass

Cut the hole for the door glass by drilling a 3/8″ or 1/2″ starter hole in all 4 corners of the measurement.

NOTE: Do not attempt to cut all the way through the door.The up-stroke should not leave the door and the down-stroke should not exceed 1″ into the door. Using the starter hole, insert jig saw with a short stroke blade into the inner core of the door and cut along marked guidelines, corner to corner. You will be cutting through material of a different density near the lock, so you will feel slightly more resistance.

  • 5. Flip and Repeat

    Flip the door over and repeat Steps 2-4 for the back side of the door.

    6. Remove Tape & Debris

    Remove tape and debris, then remove all packaging from the door glass kit. Separate the inner frame from the outer frame with glass.

7. Install the New Glass

Install the new glass by lifting the door off of the sawhorses and lay the outer frame with glass over the sawhorses. TIP: To ensure that the glass is correctly installed the temper stamp should appear on the bottom of the door.Carefully lay the door over the door glass. To properly distribute the weight of the door glass, place the bottom edge of the door opening snugly to bottom of the door glass.

8. Attach Interior Frame

Attach the interior frame by placing interior frame with exposed screw holes over the inside of the door. Align the frames by matching the screw hole guides. Insert each screw working from side to side. Tighten firmly so that the frame fits snugly against the door and the seal is compressed.TIP: Avoid over tightening the screws.

  • 9. Insert Screen Hole Covers

    Insert screw plugs by aligning the screw plugs with the frame profile. Insert and tap each plug into place.

    10. Reinstall the Door

    Reinstall the door by placing the door back on its hinges. Use standard window cleaner to make your new door glass shine!