How to Replace Entry Door Sidelights

Entry door sidelights light the entrance, especially when it leads to a dark corridor. They are installed on the sides of the door and come in different designs. They may span the length of the door or extend to the middle length of the doorframe. Some designs have one sidelight while most of them have two, which seems to give symmetry to the structure. However, it might warrant a replacement when seeking the type that offers more privacy than the sheers or because of broken panes. Whatever the reason, make sure the ones chosen match the design of the door and that they allow in a substantial amount of light.

Materials needed:

  • Caulking gun
  • Caulk
  • Saw
  • Sand paper
  • Wood shims
  • Screws and a screwdriver
  • Putty knife
  • Wood sealer
  • Paint and paintbrush
  • Entry door sidelights

Step 1 - Preparing the Surface

Unfasten the screws on the old entry door sidelights and take them down. This will leave you with a frame. Do the same to the other side of the door if you have two of them. The size of the replacement should be the same as the one you are taking down.

Step 2 - Clearing the Opening

Use the heat gun to remove any traces of sealant on the frame. Heat the edges slightly and then use the putty knife to scrape off any remnants. This will give you a level surface to lay the replacement because the  previous sealant is too dry to accommodate the sidelights and it may lead to moisture leaks. Sand the frame from top to bottom with the sand paper to smooth it.

Step 3 - Sealing the Frame

Spread a generous layer of the wood sealer all round the frame. This will prevent moisture from slipping into the frame and eventually affecting the door. Do not leave air bubbles that may trap moisture. Give it one hour to dry. Caulk it with silicone to affirm the moisture protection and then paint over it so that the frame has an even color all around.

Step 4 - Installation Process

Lift the entry door sidelights by placing them on the bottom part of the frame and tipping them into position. To level it in, insert the shims such that they rest on the gap between the sidelight and the frame.  Fasten the screws on the inner side to join the sidelight to the frame. Do not hammer them in because you might break the glass panes.

Trim the shims to align them to the frame before insulating any gaps between the frame and the sidelight from the inner side. Move to the outer side and caulk the gaps, taking note of the areas around the corners to avoid infiltration of moisture. If you have another sidelight to fix, repeat the same procedure and ensure the work done is the same and the size corresponds or you will have a mismatched entrance sidelight design. Ensure that there are no gaps on your replacement and the glass panes are crystal clear.