Installing an entry door with sidelights will enhance the front aspect of your home like no other feature. A large, well lit entry door is welcoming and expansive, as well as decorative and architecturally enhancing. While replacing an existing door that has sidelights is a similar process to the replacement of any other exterior door, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the existing space should not be altered arbitrarily. The framing that currently exists bears a tremendous amount of weight, and altering it should only be done by a professional. Here you will find the process by which you can install a new door with a sidelight unit.
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Step 1 - Set the Door in Place
Utilizing a helper, raise the door into place in the existing frame. With the door unit setting upright and one person holding it, use the carpenters level to make sure the door is level and plumb. Adjust as needed, and ensure that the door sits within the frame evenly. Once door is plumb, start inserting wood shims in between the door frame and the framing of the wall to wedge the door in. Do not force the shims in place, but tap them in with a hammer so that they are secure. Shim the top corners as well, then shim the sides and along the top edge. Throughout the shim process, continue to ensure that the door remains plumb and level.
Step 2 - Fasten the Door in Place
Pre-drill holes for the screw placement so that driving the screws doesn't crack the wood of the door casing, the shims, or the door frame. Using galvanized screws, drive the screws into the top and bottom of the open door casing. Hide the screws underneath weather stripping or the bottom riser. Place screws at angles in each corner of the sidelights, top and bottom.
Step 3 - Trim Outer Door Edge
Wedge insulation between the door casing and the wall's framing from the outside of the door. Caulk all screw-heads to prevent them from rusting or leaking. Install outer trim, using a hammer and nails or screws to affix it to the wall around the edge of the door frame. Caulk any gaps and all the way around the outer edge of the trim. A quick and simple application of silicone caulk will avoid water seeping in, and ultimately rot and water damage.
Step 4 - Trim Inner Door Edge
Using a sharp utility knife, score the shims so that they are flush with the door casing and framing. Snap off the shims and trim more if needed. Install the interior trim around the door. This will camouflage any gaps. Use finishing nails to fasten the trim. Paint or stain the trim to match or complement the door.