Craftsman Grandeur: Elevate Your Entryway with Sidelighted Doors

1. Introduction

For prospective homebuilders or homeowners who are contemplating a remodeling project to create an up-to-date look, opting for sidelighted wood doors as an addition to the entryway is a favorable upgrade. Sidelighted doors are still a rare sight in American homes; all the more reason to take the initiative to install some. Please note that it is essential to purchase doors that are of a high level of craftsmanship, taking into consideration the exposure to natural elements. What one ought to avoid is a scenario in which the doors are susceptible to rot, thus requiring maintenance or replacement within a few years – an outcome which results from choosing lower quality alternatives to wood. When considering the door’s design, keep in mind the wood’s behavior outdoors. If the wood is unprotected from the sun and rain, it may lead to a shorter life expectancy of the door and a costly investment to keep them looking new through finishing and maintenance. High quality woods like maple, mahogany, and cedar are commonly used for exterior doors and are durable and long lasting. It is still important to match the wood type with the right finishing and maintenance. Dual pane tempered glass and full dividing lite with individual glass panes provide extra elegance and natural lighting. Any type of decorative or beveled glass is a preference depending on your taste for design. Ultimately, the door should reflect elegance without sacrificing functionality and maintenance, and blend with the home’s architectural style.

2. Benefits of Sidelighted Doors

Improved security: With today’s increasing crime rates, it is natural that you feel uneasy in your own home. However, there are measures that can be taken to defend your home against intruders, one being the installation of sidelights. By using tempered or dual-pane glass accompanied with latches that secure the door to the frame, you can invite both light and security into your home.

Increased natural light: Sidelights come in many sizes and shapes. Some are narrow and are designed to fit only on either side of the door, while others stretch the same height as the door and provide additional lighting through the top of the sidelight. The decision to add a sidelite and the size of the sidelight can be made depending on how much light you want to invite into your home.

Enhanced curb appeal: When one of these doors opens into an entryway, they seem to invite people to enter and experience the warmth, beauty, and comfort of the home. The simple act of replacing a solid door with one with sidelights can add a touch of elegance to your home. From an exterior standpoint, this touch of elegance can translate into increased market value. When real estate agents advise you to “spruce up the front entrance,” they are saying this in order to increase the curb appeal of your home.

2.1. Enhanced Curb Appeal

Sidelights can be installed on either one side or both sides of the door. Many styles are available, from a single pane sidelight to fancier styles with beveled glass, and colored or textured glass. You can purchase sidelights as a unit with the door (usually it is more cost effective that way) or you can purchase and install them separately. Sidelights come in a variety of widths, but it is suggested to have them at least 6 inches wide and no wider than the door. Wide sidelights may overwhelm the doorway. When installing sidelights, it is important to make sure you have enough room. There should be at least 6 inches from the edge of the sidelight to the edge of the door, and at least 6 inches from the top and bottom of the sidelight to the door. This will ensure there is enough space to install it properly. Side what goes now that there is about vinyl option?

Sidelights are a great way to enhance the curb appeal of your home. They add a touch of elegance to the entryway, making your home feel more inviting to guests. The hint of what lays beyond the doorway is visible through the clear panes in the sidelights. If the entryway is the first impression of the home, sidelights are a good way to ensure the impression is a good one. Any realtor will tell you that curb appeal is key to selling a house and sidelights are a low cost, high return way of adding value to your home.

2.2. Increased Natural Light

While natural light’s aesthetic value is significant, it also affects mood, health, and behavior in a variety of ways. Allowing natural light into a home has been proven to reduce the instance of Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that occurs during the winter months and is alleviated during the rest of the year. The depression is related to the amount of melatonin produced in the body, which in turn is related to the amount of sunlight one receives. Increased natural light is connected to decreased production of melatonin and therefore lighter, more energetic feelings. A beautifully lit entryway also sets a warm and welcoming tone to visitors. Light is an important factor in creating a positive and inviting atmosphere, and sidelighted entryways achieve just that. In terms of behavior, studies have found a strong link between the amount of natural light to which an employee is exposed and their productivity. Increased light has consistently been linked with improved performance. By installing sidelights, one can greatly affect the quality and feel of their home. A beautiful entryway is a wonderful thing, and craftsmen from every walk of life can tell you how making a good entrance can contribute to a strong first impression. However, this section will explain how that same entrance can now be a greener choice, with beautiful long-term side effects. It is common knowledge that in order to find success, a product in today’s world must be competitive in more ways than one. Products that save money for the consumer are highly sought after, and others that reduce environmental impact are a high priority for those who want to do their part. Sidelighted entryways are a prime example of both.

2.3. Improved Security

Lifestyle changes, improvement, and increased crime rates are all reasons cited for wanting to increase home security, and sidelighted doors are a means of doing so with style. Studies have shown that citizens are less likely to become victims of burglaries at home than away from home, and a burglary is less likely when there are people in or around the house. However, a secure home doesn’t just prevent break-ins—it gives homeowners a feeling of safety and peace of mind. Installing sidelighted doors can be the first step in enhancing both the physical and emotional security.

Added security is a notable benefit of installing sidelighted doors. The doors are often equipped with security features such as double locks and deadbolts, making them more secure than traditional front entrance doors. Furthermore, you are able to see visitors before you open the door. This is helpful for turning unwanted solicitors away or ensuring that it is safe to open the door for welcomed visitors. If you have children who are of answering-the-door-alone age, this feature is especially appealing. Sidelights, too, can have beveled, leaded glass or stained glass that is triple-pane insulated, making it not only beautiful but also shatter-resistant and energy-efficient. High-quality sidelights may cost more, but they are a worthwhile investment for the added security they provide.

3. Types of Sidelighted Doors

Double sidelight doors can consist of any configuration of double doors with a pair of sidelights. This is a common option for a wider style home entry. The double doors can either have an equal width or one can be wider than the other. Unequal width double doors are a typical candidate for a single wider door and a single sidelight. Double doors with equal width and double sidelights are most attractive if space permits. Double sidelight doors also work well with an equal width double door and a single wider sidelight on each side if additional design space is required. One application of a double sidelight door is to simply double the width of a single sidelight door for a wider entry. This works well for homes with a wider front elevation and has the advantage of being able to use the same design used for the single sidelight door.

Single sidelight entry doors have one sidelight (vertical windows bordering one or both sides of a door) usually on the same side as the door’s hinges. The most common configuration is the door in the center with a single sidelight on each side. Less common is a single door with a single sidelight on one side and a solid wall on the other. Single sidelight doors allow for a variety of widths for the door and the ability to expand the width of the door without purchasing a double door and incurring the associated costs. Single sidelight doors are a perfect candidate for an oversize door with one wider sidelight and provide excellent symmetry for design and light.

3.1. Single Sidelight Doors

A single sidelight is a tall, narrow piece of glass that is featured next to, or near, an entry door. It can be placed on one side or can bookend the door. Single sidelights are more a stylish feature than a functional one. They add natural light to a dark entryway and can frame the door in an elegant manner. When used in a pair, the set of sidelights can dramatically transform the character of the front of the house. With a single sidelight, it is possible to combine the style of a grand entrance with the security of a single front door. This is an especially useful feature for townhouses, where an entry door that opens onto the street is the only access to the house. Many styles of doors can be enhanced with a single sidelight. Typically a front door with a top window is a good candidate as the entryway has already been designed to allow in natural light. Depending on the available space, installation of a single sidelight is quite simple. Pre-hung door and sidelight units are available and can be installed by those with the know-how, alternatively the work can be performed by a professional at relatively low cost.

3.2. Double Sidelight Doors

Even a single sidelight next to the door provides a lot of extra light into an entrance way, but using a double sidelight next to them can greatly improve this by making the area even brighter. Double sidelights can also be a stylistic addition to a home, and they also increase the value of the home. One of the advantages to a double sidelight door unit is that you have extra space to work with inside the actual door frame. This can allow more room for moving large objects in and out of the house, and it facilitates easy wheelchair access. Double sidelights come as a sealed unit, attached to the door jamb and mullions on each side of the door frame. Another option would be to install two doors, each with a sidelight. This can be an easy way to accomplish the double sidelight effect, but it has additional considerations. In this case, it would be difficult to have both doors open at the same without one of them being fixed. If they were to be used as entry doors, the one that is used more often would show wear and tear faster than the other, meaning that the homeowner might have to replace only one of the doors before resorting to replacing them both. This can be hard if the doors are not a standard size, or if they were custom made to fit the opening.

3.3. Transom Sidelight Doors

In this scenario, it can be difficult to differentiate between a transom sidelight door versus a transom entry door. The rule of thumb is a transom sidelight door is a door with two sidelights and a window or windows above. It’s called a transom entry door when you have two sidelights with or without a window above. If your entryway has a large space above the door and sidelights, you may find that it’s more difficult to find a door and transoms. In this scenario, you may want to consider a door with sidelights and a window or windows above and a custom transom built. The custom transom will be built complete and ready to install. Measure your space and the door you would like to purchase to ensure the transom is built to fit. A transom sidelight door is also an add-on to an existing entryway, but the difference is there is always a door involved.

4. Materials for Sidelighted Doors

There are drawbacks to wood, unfortunately. Wooden doors are much pricier than fiberglass or steel doors, due to the cost of the material and the extra craftsmanship involved. Wood is also more susceptible to the elements than the other materials. Wood can and will warp and rot with time, particularly if it is not protected by a storm door. The overhanging of a poorly installed roof can also cause rain to fall directly on a wooden door. Finishing and maintaining a wood door and sidelights will also require more work and money spent, as they need to be finished and/or painted every 2-3 years. Failure to do so will result in warping and damage to the door. Permanent damage to a wood door may also be harder to repair than it would be for a fiberglass or steel door. For those who want sidelight doors, wood is the traditional and most commonly used material. It allows for unlimited possibilities in designs and more intricate detailing. With wooden doors, matching the grain and color of the wood for the door and sidelights is a simple task. Wooden doors also allow for beveling, etching, and staining, rather than the painting or simulated wood grain of fiberglass or steel doors. One major benefit of wood is that it is the easiest to customize for odd-sized openings. Wood is also the only material of the three that can be easily repainted or refinished, so those who like to change patios or entryway schemes may find this to be useful.

4.1. Wood

Twinleaf Builders custom manufactures all their doors to fit the needs of their customers. This includes customization of wood type, color, shape, and size. Whether you’re looking for a simple single door with one sidelite or a grand entrance consisting of two fully glazed doors and two matching sidelights, Twinleaf Builders can cater to your every need.

Solid wood doors and wood doors with an insulated or non-insulated core are the two main types of wooden doors. Mahogany doors are the most expensive and elegant type of wooden door. They are usually stained a natural wood color and require very little maintenance. African mahogany is heavier and more durable than its American counterpart. Oak is the toughest of the wood types and therefore is the most durable. Oak is available in a variety of different styles. Maple is a light wood that is offered in a variety of paints and stains.

Wood is the most popular material for a sidelite door. Wood sidelights come as a frame with only glass or as a part of a wooden door. Wooden doors are more challenging to install and should be installed by a professional when compared to frame-only type. There are many types of wood used in doors, with mahogany, cherry, and hemlock amongst the most popular.

4.2. Fiberglass

There are many reasons to choose fiberglass construction for doors. Although many people are lured by the low price of steel doors, they often find that the maintenance and costs involved with keeping a steel door looking its best can get quite expensive over time. Between applying coats of paint to prevent rust and dent repair, it is quite easy to surpass the price of a quality fiberglass door. Fiberglass can be crafted to mimic any type of wood, and even though it is only a wood-grain skin adhered to the surface, when done properly it can be hard to distinguish from the real thing. High-quality woods are usually not used for the construction of doors because their grains tend to make the wood less durable. This is not a problem with fiberglass because only the appearance is copied, thus the door can be designed with the durability of a smooth door. This may be appealing in situations where the goal is to place a decorative wooden door in a high-traffic area. Fiberglass will not rot, warp, or expand in typical humid or wet conditions. This is a big advantage over wood, especially in a humid climate. Any water exposure to a wood door may damage the door to the point requiring a replacement. Fiberglass is also a good thermal insulator, and its energy-efficient properties can be further improved with the use of foam insulation. In terms of strength, steel doors are most likely the only product that can outperform a fiberglass door. However, they are often quite heavy and are used mostly for security. Fiberglass doors can be designed for very high impact resistance, and the more advanced models can even be bulletproof. This may not be a necessity for an average home, but it has potential application in some regions and commercial settings. Fiberglass is resilient to dents and scratches, and these damages can be repaired quite easily with auto body repair techniques and a simple topcoat of paint. This is actually a big advantage over steel doors, which may require the entire affected area to be replaced.

4.3. Steel

Steel doors present a solid and authoritative presence while being practically maintenance free. They are normally comprised of 20-26 gauge steel and they supply greatly enhanced security and insulation. Steel doors will not warp or crack and are typically provided with a high-quality factory-applied baked-on polyester finish. This requires periodic repainting and it is a good idea to remove and slightly abrade the surface to ensure proper adhesion of paint. Because of steel’s tendency to dent and show flaws, it is highly recommended the homeowner purchase a high-quality door. Top-quality steel doors can surpass the energy efficiency of wood doors and are typically more affordable. Usually, these doors are provided in a wood grain pattern embossed into the steel and this often gives them the appearance of a wood door if the quality is high. Steel doors are an excellent option for homeowners in search of a low maintenance window or door solution who do not want to sacrifice energy efficiency.

5. Design Options for Sidelighted Doors

Many different types of modern door lights can be adapted to a Craftsman style. It is important to avoid a design that would detract from the rest of the home; garage door windows should not be used as they do not suit the aesthetics of a Craftsman home. A contemporary design can range from a simple single pane design to a more ornate abstract design. For the modern home, beveled glass and geometric art glass designs are appropriate. The selection of the design should take into account the proportions of the door; wider doors can accommodate wider glass panes, and a larger number of panes may accent a tall door.

Sidelights were a common feature in early Craftsman homes. The glass was typically a 10-lite design, with the glass panes extending the length of the door. Often the same design was used in the door itself. This design can be simulated using modern beveled glass, with the small panes joined by wood muntins. Leaded glass designs are also appropriate, and there are many options in textured art glass which provide varying degrees of obscurity and color.

An exceptional characteristic of sidelights is their flexibility in design. They can maintain the traditional feel of a Craftsman home or add a modern artistic design element. There are several common design options in current use.

5.1. Traditional Craftsman Style

One of the best things about Craftsman doors and sidelights is that they are very adaptable in terms of the amount of natural light they let in. Craftsman style doors traditionally come in the form of a single door with one sidelight on either the left or right-hand side of the door. However, it is not uncommon to have a double door with two sidelights, or even a single door with one sidelight on each side. It is even possible to have a Craftsman style double door unit with a single front entry door and two sidelights all arranged on the same plane. Craftsman style doors and sidelights can have an almost full light entry, or it is also possible to have a Craftsman door with sidelights and a ½, ¾, or full Craftsman style shelf, which will affect the amount of light that comes in and adds another distinct characteristic of this style door. An opaque glass option is also possible for those wanting to obscure or reduce visibility into and out of the home. This variety allows many different options to fit the unique needs and tastes of different homeowners and is a major advantage when considering Craftsman doors and sidelights as a front entry alternative.

Traditional Craftsman style doors and sidelights are usually utilized on bungalow style homes. Bungalows originated in Great Britain and were used by the British army as rest houses. There are still remnants of Indian architectural influence connected with the bungalow style. In 1903, Britain presented a pavilion at the St. Louis World’s Fair, which was many Americans’ first exposure to this style of architecture. A massive marketing effort from architects and building firms, as well as pattern books based on British designs, resulted in its popularization for the middle class in the United States between 1905 and 1930. Although some people may refer to Craftsman style doors as “arts and crafts doors,” the arts and crafts movement is actually a period of home design closely linked with Craftsman style architecture. These style doors will also blend nicely with Tudor style homes and some French style homes that have borrowed some of the Craftsman architecture and design.

5.2. Modern and Contemporary Styles

If your home has a more modern feel to it, modern entry doors with sidelights will be the perfect finishing touch. These doors can keep with a minimalist style or show off a piece of artwork in the glass. Either way, a modern entry door can add character to your home. If your home’s exterior is not yet modern but you wish it to be, even just adding a modern-style entry door can do wonders. Often using contemporary styled doors on older homes can create a fine line between classic and unique.

Modern or contemporary homes can often be difficult to match with the right entry door. For modern homes that have siding, stucco or stone exteriors, a contemporary styled door will suit the entryway perfectly. Sidelights work well with contemporary doors, especially when it comes to creating a grand entrance. Your contemporary styled door can be the same width as your entryway. Clean, geometric lines are the key to the modern door and this extends into the glass frame.

5.3. Customizable Designs

You can create a door that is totally unique and reflects your personal style with custom designs for sidelighted doors. GlassCraft’s unique manufacturing process allows us to design and build any type of door – you dream it, we build it! Our unique design possibilities will make your home one of a kind. When we say custom – we mean it. Unlike other door companies that have limitations to their custom programs, GlassCraft’s custom doors have almost no limitations. You can use any design, any size, any shape, and any glass, texture or iron work. Our custom doors are built to any design style from old world, Tuscan, Mediterranean, or modern. We build the door to your exact specifications. If you have a certain design in mind, and have a picture of it – we can build it (providing it does not infringe on someone’s copyright). If you want an architect to design a door, and provide us the specifications we can build it. If you want to modify one of our existing designs, we can do that too. Bottom line – if you can imagine it, we can build it. A common request for custom doors is to match an entry door design with the garage doors. If you want to match an IronCraft (IC) Garage Door design with a door, we can build a door to match the garage door design.

6. Installation Process for Sidelighted Doors

There are four major steps in the process of installing the sidelighted doors. The first step is to take the measurements and prepare the area. Begin by measuring the inside width of the existing door frame. Then, measure the height from the top of the inside of the door frame to the floor. If these measurements are equal to those provided for your sidelighted doors, move on to check the width of the opening from the outside. Measure from the outside edge of the existing trim on one side to the outside edge of the trim on the opposite side. If this measurement is greater than that provided for your sidelighted door, move on to remove the trim. The next step in the installation process, once the measurements are complete, is removal of the existing door. Start by removing the hinge pins from the door. You can do this by sliding a flat head screwdriver under the head of the pin and tapping the screwdriver with a hammer until the hinge pin begins to come out. Once all the hinge pins are removed, the door can be taken from the opening. Use a utility knife to cut any existing caulk along the outside edge of the existing trim. Then, use a pry bar to carefully remove the trim from the existing door unit taking care not to damage the exterior siding. With the trim removed, you will then see the nailing flange around the outside of the door unit. If the nailing flange is covered by the existing siding, you may need to cut the siding away with a reciprocating saw in order to remove the door unit. Take care not to damage the siding underneath. Then, starting from the outside, cut any existing nails holding the door unit into place. Finally, the door unit should slide easily out of the opening.

6.1. Measurements and Preparation

Getting the correct measurements is essential to the successful installation of a sidelite and door unit. Firstly, the width of the door should be measured at the top, middle, and bottom of the pre-existing door. The height of the door should be measured on the right and left sides of the door. This is done to ensure the door is not skewed. The rough opening of the entryway is measured from the inside of the house. This is accomplished by removing the interior trim that holds the existing door frame in place. By removing the trim, effectively exposing the edges of the existing frame, the actual structural opening is revealed. Often, especially in older homes, the existing door frame is not perfectly plumb and square. This will be addressed when the new door unit is ordered to achieve the appropriate fit. The sidelight unit ordered (from a pre-hung door/sidelight unit supplier) will be the same width as the door it is to accompany. The only measurement to take for the sidelight unit is from the top of the door to the top of the unit. Take the measurement on both sides of the door to see if the door is pitched. If so, the taller of the two measurements is the height the unit should be ordered. In some cases, the unit may need to be ordered slightly taller if the pitching of the door is severe. This consideration should also be adjusted when ordering the door so the door is not too small, which would create a large gap between the bottom of the door and the top of the unit.

6.2. Removal of Existing Door

One of the most critical phases in your installation process is the removal of your current door. Most doors are installed as a “unit” – you can’t remove the door leaf from the frame without causing damage to one or the other. In general, the removal of your door will require a “chop and drop” method – you’ll trim the door off in small pieces and remove them a section at a time. It’s rare to be able to remove the door frame in its entirety without removing the sidelights and transom. In most cases, the integrity of your existing sidelights and transom is unsatisfactory and replacement of these units should be planned. The new door will be ordered according to the door opening size created by the removal of your existing door unit. Make sure to perform some basic research before heading out to your local home center – they will not have the necessary units in stock and you may save yourself some time.

6.3. Installation of Sidelights and Door

Once the measurements are confirmed to be accurate and the entryway is prepared for installation, you can begin the process by installing the sidelights and door unit. Pre-built sidelight and door combinations are available from most door manufacturers. This can be a good time-saving alternative, but in older or custom homes, the measurements often do not fit the size of the old door unit, or the desired design may not be available in a pre-built unit. If the decision is made to install separate sidelights, with the door box in between, then the following guidelines should be followed. Begin installation of the sidelights by removing the trim and siding from the section above the old door. Cut back any house wrap or insulation that may interfere with the installation of the new units. This will expose the header of the door unit. Any electrical outlet boxes that are in the way will need to be moved up to a higher position, above the new units. High enough sidelight and door units can leave very limited space on either the top or side of the unit. Because of this, installation of the electrical boxes should be done with the measurements of the units.

7. Maintenance and Care for Sidelighted Doors

Clean the door with a soft cloth and a mild detergent. Tough stains and abrasive cleaners can cause damage to the door’s finish. After cleaning the door, rinse with clean water to clear away any soapy residue. Never use cleaning solutions containing acid, alkali, or chemicals designed to dissolve dirt and grime. These include, but are not limited to: oven cleaner, lime-away, CLR, paint remover, etc. If you accidentally get any of these harsh chemicals onto your door, wipe them off immediately and thoroughly rinse with water. High concentrate solvents can damage the paint and present corrosion to any metal on the door.

An entry door functions best when it’s well maintained. Here are a few simple guidelines to guarantee your entry light doors keep to appear and work as grandiose as the day they were mounted. Often sidelite doors are constructed using various unique elements of wood, fiberglass, steel, and composition material for various panels in the door, therefore it is very important to identify the material of the door in our “Door Care and Finishing Tips” segment at the Therma-Tru website. Just as regular washing and waxing helps maintain the finish on a car, regular cleaning will help maintain the finish on your door.

7.1. Regular Cleaning

Dirt and grime build-up can occur if sidelights are not cleaned regularly. Our sidelights are constructed to be maintenance-free, but periodic cleaning will help preserve their beauty. Cleaning with a solution of warm soapy water and a soft cloth, followed by a clear water rinse, is usually adequate. Occasionally, a fine car polish can be used to clean and restore the luster of the door and sidelights. Do not use abrasive cleaners, steel wool, gritty cloths, ammonia, or acid-based cleaners. These can damage the sidelights. If there is any concern about the suitability of a cleaning product, test the product in an inconspicuous area. Following this instruction is most important. Glass cleaner can be used to clean the glass area of the sidelights. Exercise caution with water exposure to the weather side of the sidelights to avoid water seepage to the opposite side. Water seeping to the interior side of the sidelight can cause finish failure and is not considered a manufacturing defect. Periodically inspect the weep system on the doors and sidelights to confirm it has not become obstructed. Snow and dirt can sometimes block the weep system holes and prevent water drainage. There are two types of edges on our door and sidelite units. Some have a hardwood glazing bead applied to the glass, retaining the glass with a removable stop mold. Others are a true divided lite with the glass edge embedded into a wood muntin and retained with a caulked and glazed glass. If glass is removed for any reason from wood glazing bead units, the glazing beads and glass must be clean and dry. Clean the edge of the glass with a rag soaked in a high-quality paint thinner or mineral spirits. Do not let the solvent come into contact with the finish on the door or the sidelight. Failure to heed this warning can result in finish damage. Any tape adhesive with solvent-type residue can also be cleaned with the aforementioned method. Use caution with solvent in proximity to weather-stripping and sweeping products as it can soften and damage these items. Glass on true divided lite units can be cleaned with a standard window cleaner.

7.2. Repainting or Refinishing

Use a high quality disposable brush in applying the stripper and always work in the direction of the grain. After the finish has softened, use steel wool or a scraper to remove it, being careful not to gouge or scratch the door or glass. Once you have removed the finish use mineral spirits or a similar chemical to clean the surface and prepare it for a new finish. Again, always work in the direction of the grain. This method is appropriate for most finishes and sealants, though effective methods of removal may vary. Always follow the recommendations of the finish/sealant manufacturer.

Remember that refinishing is a messy process and takes a good deal of preparation and patience. Ensure that you have a suitable workspace or an area outside where you can work. It may be more practical to remove the door and take it to a workbench or sawhorses. Especially with the area also has sidelights, don’t attempt to do too much at one time. If you are stripping the finish from the door, work in small sections, no more than one or two square feet. Large amounts of stripper drying in direct sunlight may affect the door in ways similar to prolonged direct sunlight and exposure to the elements.

Maintenance on entry detail is not complete without mentioning the heavy maintenance chore of repainting and sealing the area to protect the wood from decay and weathering. The timeline for this particular maintenance chore depends on the direction your entryway/sidelighted door faces, and the climate in your region. Southern and western exposures will have to be refinished more frequently than those that are protected from the elements. Direct sunlight and precipitation are the worst enemies of wood finishes and sealants. In many cases, the finish on the door may begin to break down, while the rest of the entryway retains its original beauty. If the damage is caught in time, you need only to sand and clean the affected areas and to reapply the finish. If the damage is more severe, the door itself may need to be lightly sanded or even stripped and refinished from scratch.

7.3. Hardware and Hinge Maintenance

Allen’s Hardware is optically more fine than the normal mass-produced items found in home centers. This is because of its solid brass constructions, which are not only sturdy but also easily maintained. A high-quality metal polish can be used to keep hardware in new condition. Another method to cleanse the brass of built-up tarnish and to maintain it every six months afterward is to use a commercial product like Brasso. Note that the clear lacquer coating on the hardware will have to be removed with polish and a rag before the tarnish can be reached. Allen recommends consulting with the door manufacturer before attempting to remove hinges. Hinges require little maintenance other than cleaning and occasional tightening of the screws. Automotive-type wax can be applied to painted hinges to help keep them move freely and to provide further protection from the elements. Anodized aluminum framing is best maintained with a coat of car wax. This will protect the finish from oxidizing and the harmful effects of UV rays. In coastal areas, anodized aluminum should be waxed every two months to maintain its appearance, at a minimum of twice a year for other areas. 402R stainless steel hinges may require maintenance for heavily salted environments. In most cases, a rag with a small amount of mineral oil can remove any surface rust. For more severe corrosion, a chrome polish can be used.

8. Cost Considerations for Sidelighted Doors

Varying in price and quality, there are many different materials to choose from. Firstly, any door from any material could be fitted with a sidelite. The prices of pre-hung doors with a sidelite, a hollow core steel door, will be the cheapest, and a solid wood with a leaded, etched, or stained glass will be the most expensive. It is also important to take into account maintenance and potential future repair costs when choosing a material. As the cost of living and repairing a door increases with its initial cost, and some materials will require more long-term maintenance than others. Similarly, installation costs will also vary in accordance with the cost of the door. Two doors covering similar or the same costs but differing in material will not have differing installation costs, yet a more expensive door will incur higher installation costs. Installation costs for doors of the same material could vary, with steel and fiberglass doors generally being cheaper to install than wood doors. Higher installation costs will also be acquired when opting for custom-designed sidelite transoms and sidelites, as cutting extra space into the wall and door will not be a standard procedure. Custom doors will also be more expensive to install, as they will not be pre-hung and thus require the assembly of the door and its parts before installation. An entryway built from scratch will even be more expensive, as it will require the hiring of a professional builder.

8.1. Material Costs

Material costs for sidelighted doors will vary dramatically depending on the size and brick cut of the doors themselves, the size and shape of the glass lites, and the type of wood used in both the doors and the sidelights (pine, oak, mahogany, etc). Predominantly glass doors will have fewer wood parts and larger glass lites and will be relatively less expensive per door than all wood doors of the same size with small lites. Similarly, the larger the sidelights, the more costly the doors and sidelights will be to replace or refinish. There are many permutations of door and sidelite combinations, but a few examples along with installed prices can give an idea of cost variations. High quality front entrance doors can range from $2000 to $10,000 and up, with most falling in the range of $3000 to $5000 and $3000 to $5000 for all wood doors with glass lites. All-glass doors or doors with complementary full glass storm doors can be much less. Sidelights can range from $750 to $2500 each, and recruit doors will be somewhat more expensive to replace than standard size doors. A reasonable assumption for price estimating is that higher priced wood species and more intricate door and sidelite designs will cost more to replace than these generic examples.

8.2. Installation Costs

Hire a professional for your installation! This is not the right decision for saving money by doing it yourself. Installing a new doorway will require the skills of a contractor and/or a carpenter. Pre-hung sidelights and doors are engineered for ease of installation and generally are a lot simpler to install compared to units from the past. Consider this though: in order to save money and time, you and your contractor may decide to re-use your existing door frame and only replace the door. While this is simpler and faster than a full replacement, keep in mind that you will be sacrificing energy efficiency and complicating future maintenance when it comes time to replace the entire unit. Any type of installation will require careful sealing and insulating to prevent air and moisture leaks. Be sure to get multiple quotes if you are hiring the job out! Prices can be all over the board so it’s best to have a few offers in hand. A standard installation will likely cost somewhere between $200-500. This will typically include a 2-3 hour job for a 2-person crew. This does not include repairing damage from a poor installation! Look for professionals with good references and a track record of quality work. A little extra money will go a long way when it comes to installation!

8.3. Long-Term Savings

Sidelighted doors can also save you money in the long-term when considering their durability. Durability can be linked to both material and installation cost, so investing a little bit more in the initial purchase price can save you money in the long run. Wood doors and sidelights are found to be much less durable than fiberglass doors, and tend to rot, warp and require maintenance over the years. Wood rot can often occur due to a lack of overhang protection, and affects doors with and without sidelights. Fiberglass doors and sidelights on the other hand are more durable and can last up to three times as long as traditional wood doors. Fiberglass doors are resistant to dents and scratches, rust and corrosion, and do not need to be refinished. It is unclear how much money can be saved by avoiding wood door maintenance or by not having to replace a damaged lower quality door, but today’s consumers are keeping all options in mind. Fiberglass doors and sidelights usually come with long-term warranty plans which provide peace of mind and potentially less out of pocket expense if door damage does occur.

Investing in sidelighted doors can have big implications for your energy bills. Sidelights are often installed flush against the door, discouraging air circulation and allowing for the possibility of air exchange. Air exchange can cause heating and cooling systems to work harder to maintain a set temperature within your home, which will result in higher energy bills. By investing in sidelighted doors that have Energy Star ratings and are made with Low E glass, you can maximize the benefits of natural light and maintain a reasonable energy bill. Energy Star rated doors are independently tested and certified based on energy performance ratings set by the US Department of Energy. Energy Star rated sidelighted doors are proven to be more efficient at maintaining the temperature inside the home. Low E glass is another energy efficient option, which utilizes a special coating to minimize the amount of UV and infrared light that passes through the glass. Low E glass provides the benefits of windows while protecting against heat loss or gain, so adding it to sidelighted doors can provide significant long-term energy savings.

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