Sidelight glass, also spelled sidelite, is a popular addition to a home’s entrance, allowing for more light and making an impressive design statement while increasing curb appeal.
According to Wikipedia, a sidelight is a vertical, narrow, stationary window found immediately adjacent to doorways. Sidelights are most often used for front entrances, but can be located at any door whether interior or exterior. But what happens when something goes wrong with your sidelight? How difficult are they to replace?
When to Replace Sidelight Window Glass
We had a customer who recently gave us a call because their sidelight window (not purchased from us) had fogged up. The customer just wanted to replace the glass as there was nothing wrong with the door and they had planned on selling the house in five years. This was a great opportunity for a local glass company to create the glass unit the homeowners needed and replace the sidelights. The glass unit can also be provided for the homeowners to complete the project themselves.
Sidelight window glass is held in place by rails and a frame called a surround. Depending on the width of the glass unit and the inner parts of the surround, it can be a tricky installation, and may be better installed by the glass company. So if rail clips or screws get broken or damaged, the professional is likely to have a solution.
Sidelight glass will show the same warning signs that other windows give when it’s time to replace them. One signal is condensation. When condensation forms between the glass panes, it indicates a seal has failed in the window unit, allowing moist air to seep inside and have no way out. Another sign that replacement is needed? Flaky white material in between the sidelight window panes. This flaky material is a mineral deposit that’s left behind after condensation evaporates.
Other signs of window failure are drafts, fogging and rattling when the door opens, closes, or even when the wind blows.
Picking Replacement Sidelight Glass
We don’t sell just the side glass units – we sell the whole door system – but we can refer customers to a local company who can provide a quote. The replacement cost can be pretty easy on the wallet.
There are door companies like Stanley, Therma-tru, ReliaBilt, etc., that sell replacement sidelights at your local big box stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s, but they do have to be ordered. Ordering a whole sidelight panel is also a tricky installation to an existing door. Door widths and mulling can vary and be difficult to seal tightly. So you may end up with drafty air and dust seeping through the doorway.
What to Do When the Whole Sidelight Glass Unit Needs to Be Replaced
There are times when the entire entry unit must be replaced – door and sidelights. Andersen has a variety of doors – and so does Provia, both of which offer quality entrances with sidelights as a complete unit.
Sidelight glass is available in a variety of options, frame options and grille patterns, making it easier to replicate the look of existing patterns in the home – or to create something completely different with leaded art glass.
Replacing whole sidelight glass and door units is pretty tricky for most “do-it-yourselfers” and may cause more headaches than solutions. When these units need to be replaced, we advise homeowners to seriously consider calling a professional. The full unit replacement represents a bigger investment and getting the job done right, and guaranteed, can help protect that investment.
A front entry replacement, including the door, is an opportunity to enhance the look and resale value of the home. Our consultants utilize a computer aided design tool that allows the homeowner to visualize new door styles on a photo of the front of their home. There are so many options in finishes – both internal and external – colors, hardware, window and grille combinations, art glass, etc. Homeowners really appreciate the CAD design tool and building the doorway of their dreams.