Our front door has been something I’ve wanted to update since we moved into our house. The half moon window is a telltale sign of the 90s, and brings down the overall curb appeal of the house. Buying and installing a new front door can be super costly, and just hasn’t been in the budget. When a door company reached out to me about partnering to update our front door, I jumped at the chance! They gave me the opportunity to COMPLETELY update the look of our entry door without buying a whole new door slab.
I decided to go with the option of swapping out our existing side lites for new ones and cutting the existing door to make room for a new, larger half lite (“lite” is basically door-speak for window). The idea of cutting into my current door was a bit scary at first, but once I watched some videos on the process, I knew it was the right option for us (at least for now!).
Here is what you’ll need to try this yourself! Note that you will want at least one other person to help you.
- New lites depending on what look you are going for. I got this one for our door and these site lites from Pease Doors, but you can find them at most hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowes
- Utility knife
- Paint (if you’re painting your door)
Below is what you’ll need if you are changing the size of lites in your door.
- Jig saw or circular saw
- Drill (if using jig saw)
- Painters tape (to mark your lines for cutting)
- Tape measure
- Once you’ve gathered all you supplies, you’ll want to begin by removing the plugs on the lite frames on the inside of the house and removing the screws.
- Continue this process until you have removed all the screws.
- Score around the outside of the frame with a razor blade to ensure the frames will release from the door. This is especially if your door has been painted.
- Carefully remove the frame and window glass from the door/site lite. It is helpful to have help for this step to avoid dropping and breaking any glass.
- If your new lite is the same size as your old lite:
- Clean the area and insert the new lite and place screws in each of the holes.
- If your new lite is a different size than your old lite:
- Take the door off the hinges using the hinge pins and place it on sawhorses.
- Measure the area you need for the new lite, and place painters tape where you are planning to cut. This will make for a cleaner cut with your saw.
- If using a jigsaw, drill holes in each corner that are just slightly larger than the blade. These holes will give you a place to start your jigsaw.
- Slowly make your cuts! Try your best to make any mistakes towards the middle of the door or slightly undercut the area you need. It’s always better to cut too little than too much!
- Once you have the space cut for the new lite, get ready to install it! You will definitely want a second (or third) set of hands for this part. Someone will need to hold the glass and frame in place on the outside of the door while the other person places the frame on the inside and secures the frames together with screws.
- Put the door back up!
- Once you have your new lites in place, you will want to make sure you plug the screw holes with the plugs provided and either paint the door or leave it as is!
Voila! You have just given your curb appeal a huge boost!
It depends on exactly what you are doing, the size of the lites you need, etc, etc… Mine was $199 for the door lite and the site lites were $159 each putting the total as $517. Replacing an entire door can get VERY expensive (especially if you want a high end door) so this is a really great option!
Sherwin Williams Black Magic in a satin sheen
Truly not hard at all! Cutting the door seems scarier than it really is. My recommendation is to just measure MULTIPLE times before you make any cuts and then go slowly with your saw. It’s always better to undercut than overcut. You can always cut more off, but you can’t add it back once you’ve made the cut! If you are keeping the lite sizes the same, this project is ridiculously easy and nothing to be worried about. Just remove a few screws, pull the old lites out, add the news ones, and screw everything back in!