How to Add Glass Inserts to Exterior Doors - DIY Guide | Zabitat

Your Complete Guide to

DIY Door Glass Installation

Door glass inserts are the quickest and least expensive way to completely transform the look of your entryway. By replacing old broken and dated glass, or adding glass to an existing solid door, you’ll be able to change the entire look of your entrance in less than an hour, regardless of DIY experience. Not only will you enjoy the new design and extra sunlight into your home, but you’ll also see overall increase curb appeal and home value. Win, win!

Door Glass Installation Cost Comparison

Product $600*
Replace the entry door with an in-stock, basic steel door with decorative glass.
Add glass to your existing door or replace existing dated glass.
Installation $750*
Low-end of average entryway installation cost as reported by Home Advisor.
$0 - $175
DIY the door glass installation project for free, or use a professional Zabitat installer for $175.
Shipping $99
Low-end estimated delivery cost within a 15-mile radius of a big box retailer.
Free shipping on all door glass kits over $200.
Lead Time 3 weeks 7 - 10 days
TOTAL $1,449 $425

*Product costs and installation costs are estimates and can vary based on product selection and contractor used for the project. To see more comparisons, checkout our cost comparison article here.

Yes you can DIY Door Glass Replacement!

Yes, it’s fast and easy to DIY a door glass replacement. It’s also less expensive than replacing an entire door. But if you’d like some help, we have professional installers that can lend a hand in installing your new door glass insert. Or if you have some questions about the process, give us a call at 855-813-3111.

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.


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.

Glass Shapes

You can get door glass in many different sizes and shapes. Sometimes this can be pre-determined by the size of your door, but many doors can fit multi-sizes and shapes of glass. So you’ll want to understand the size of your door by checking out our measurement guide and then take a look at all the different options available to your door.


Installing Glass in an Existing Door

Regardless of DIY experience, you can install a new glass panel into your door in less than an hour. 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. Checkout our installation video below, or follow the step by step guide to get your new glass insert installed.

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.This is the same style of glass used in car windshields.

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), measurecorner 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!

Where to Buy Door Glass for Existing Doors

Ready to start your door remodel project? Shop the largest selection of door glass designs and have it delivered directly to your door. Find the perfect size, shape, and design to match your home. Get support from a team of door experts and even get it installed by installation professionals.