How to Remove Sidelight Panels

Sidelight panels are a common feature in many homes. The panels usually consist of thin glass panes that are installed alongside a door. In most cases, the panels are placed alongside the front door for a decorative effect. These panels also facilitate the entry of natural light, which enhances the ambiance indoors. They may be placed on one or both sides of the door. You may choose to install panels that run the full length of the door or partial panels. They help to enhance the beauty of the entryway to your house. However, for whatever reasons, you may wish to replace the panels at some point. Removal can be easily accomplished with a few basic materials and the guide below.

Materials Needed

  • Whisk broom
  • Rag
  • Warm water
  • Bucket
  • Nail puller
  • Putty knife
  • Hammer
  • Scraper
  • Rag
  • Acetone

Step 1 – Clear the Dust

It is a good idea to dust the panels, door, and adjacent walls first. This ensures that you do not spread dust during the removal of the panels. Clear away dust from the adjacent walls with a whisk broom. Use a damp rag to wipe away dust from the panels and door. Rinse the rag several times in a bucket of warm water, then wring it out before you wipe.

Step 2 – Remove Shims

In most cases, shims are plunged into the molding that borders the panels at each of the 4 corners. They help to achieve a perfect alignment of the wood molding. Shims also help to close gaps in the installation. Use a nail puller to remove the nails that secure the shims to the molding. Pry off the shims from the dried adhesive underneath with a putty knife.

Step 3 – Cut Through the Putty

Cut through the putty that secures the panel to the molding. Begin at the top left corner. Insert the edge of your knife into the putty along the inner perimeter of the molding. Position the knife at an angle of about 45 degrees. Cut through the putty with your knife all along the inside perimeter of the molding. This helps to loosen the molding, which makes it easier to pry off.

Step 4 – Remove Molding

Insert the tip of your putty knife underneath the molding, at one corner on the inside perimeter. Tap the knife gently from the back with your hammer. Once the knife penetrates slightly into the putty, pull it out. Move to another location a few inches away from the corner. Repeat the same process with a knife and a hammer. Proceed to pry off the rest of the molding in this way.

Step 5 – Remove the Panel

Wear thick gloves to protect your skin. The glass panel may be sharp and can cause severe cuts. Carefully lift the panel from the site and place it aside. If you have panels on each side of your door, repeat Steps 2 through 4 to remove the other panel. Carry the panels away from the site and discard of them appropriately.

Step 6 – Cleaning

Use a scraper to clear away dried putty from where you removed the panels. Dampen a rag with acetone, and wipe the entire area. Allow the area to dry properly before you install new panels.