Can I Get a Window in My Front Door?

Can I Get a Window in My Front Door?

Time to upgrade your front door? Choosing new doors is fun because there are so many styles to choose from and sense doors are the first part of your home guests interact with it should make a good impression. A nice entry door helps set the tone for your space, choose a door that complements the style of your home and you. One feature homeowners often ask about is glass or windows in the front door. If you're if you can get a window in your front door you're in the right place. 

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Can I Get a Window in My Front Door?

The basic answer to this question is: yes! You can definitely get a window in your front door. When we talk about windows in a door we're really talking about a fixed glass unit that allows natural light to brighten up your entrance without turning on a light fixture. Now, there are a few ways to go about getting a front door with windows. The path you take will depend on your budget, your willingness to tackle a DIY project, and what type of door you're starting with. You basically have three options:

  1. Order a custom door with a window
  2. Buy a door with a window at a big box store
  3. Buy a separate window and install it on your door yourself

Order a Custom Door With a Window

You might spend more on a custom door with a window, but there are some significant benefits to going this route. Chief among them is the "custom" part. You can really get the door made to your specifications, which makes it possible to create something unique that matches the aesthetic of your home. You also have peace-of-mind knowing that your door is professionally made. Factory-finished products typically have higher and more consistent quality and are more likely to be covered by a manufacturer's warranty which is ideal in case you run into any problems.

Buy a Door With a Window at a Big Box Store

This is probably the easiest option and quickest way to get a door with a window. Big box stores is where you when you want something quick because they typically have the product you want in stock and on the shelves (or in the aisles?). The problem is that most big box home improvement stores have a limited selection with no real way to customize, so there's a good chance you'll end up with a pretty average-looking door that lots of other homeowners also have. 

Buy a Separate Window and Install It on Your Door Yourself

If you're a DIYer you might consider tackling this project yourself. You'll save on the cost of buying a new door, you'll be "recycling" your existing door, and you can choose the window of your choice. The drawbacks here is that you'll void any existing warranties on your door, you'll make your door less energy-efficient, and if you make a mistake you'll be out a door. The process involves removing the door from its hinges, placing it on a sawhorse, cutting an opening for the new window, and framing the glass. This tutorial↗ offers some more detail on how to complete the project. 

Types of Glass for Windows in Front Doors

The options available to you will vary by door vendor but once you start searching you might be surprised by the amount of options available. Below are some of the most common types of glass↗ you can have in your front door window

Clear Glass

Simple clear glass is a perfect choice if you're not too concerned about privacy. It can give your home a spacious look, with clean lines and no unnecessary textures to get in the way of the natural light. 

Textured Glass

A broad category that includes many options, textured glass is great if you want a little extra privacy. Options include frosted glass, rain glass, Flemish Glass and satin etched glass. It looks great on modern homes.

Tempered Glass

A very common choice for front door windows, tempered glass is designed to be four times stronger than ordinary glass. It also breaks into small, safe chunks instead of shattering. Most windows, whether clear or etched, can be made with tempered glass. This will be required if you want glass from top to bottom.

Insulated Glass

Often using multiple panes with a layer of insulating gas in-between, there are several different types of insulated glass. They are ideal for windows in cold climates where heat loss is a concern. 

Stained Glass

Offering a rich, vibrant look, stained glass is great for historic homes. Leaded glass is a similar option, using smaller panes of glass—typically some clear and some stained—with a framework between them to create a unique pattern or design. 

Pros and Cons of Front Doors With Windows

There are advantages and disadvantages to putting a window in your front door. Before you take your door off its hinges and start cutting, make sure you've carefully weighted the benefits as well as the potential drawbacks.

Curb Appeal

A windowed front door can give your home's curb appeal a nice boost. This can be a plus if you're getting ready to sell your home; but even if you plan on living there for years to come, a window can make your entryway more stylish. 

Natural Lighting

Dimly-lit entryways are a problem in many homes. Adding a window on your front door will allow more natural light to enter, dramatically improving the lighting. 

Security

Some homeowners see an extra window as a security liability. In reality, a windowed door can be just as difficult to break into as a solid door (and just as easy for you to connect an alarm to). 

Privacy

You might not like the idea of an extra way for people to see into your home, which is a valid concern. Just as importantly, a windowed door lets you see who's at your doorstep much more easily than a peephole, so it's a bit of a trade-off in terms of privacy. 

Alternatives to Front Doors with Windows

If you'd like to brighten up your entryway but don't want a door with a window there are other options. Transom windows and sidelites are great architectural features that complement doors, create the feeling of a grand entrance, and allow natural light to enter your home.

Transom Windows

Transom windows are small, horizontally-oriented windows that rest above the doorframe. These window can be fixed or operable. Operable transom windows aren't very common on front doors in the U.S. but if you choose an operable transom window it should be an awning style window which opens up at an angle.

Sidelite Windows

Sidelite windows are narrow, vertical windows that are typically positioned on either side of your door. They provide a substantial amount of entryway light, and will make your entrance look wider.

As you can see there are lots of options available for homeowners searching for front doors with windows. To learn more about door styles and options check out our related resources below.

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     -Bobby

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