If you have broken front door inserts, you don't have to replace the whole door. It is possible to replace single inserts. he force of opening and closing the door eventually leads to broken or cracked glass as well as natural movement from expansion.
You may be able to see through the breakage, but it isn't safe to leave it that way long. Here are tips to replace wooden entry door glass inserts.
Prepare to Work
For this project, you need:
- leather work gloves
- safety glasses
- tape measure
- diagonal pliers
- putty knife
- silicone caulk and caulk gun
- glazing compound and glazing points (optional)
- putty crayon
- one-inch pin nails
- pin nailer
- replacement glass
Sweep broken glass and discard it in a brown paper bag. Use pliers to pull out any remaining glass. It is easier to install the glass if you remove the door, and lay it on a flat surface.
Remove the Old Glass
Determine how the glass is attached to the door. Most inserts attach by caulk or glaze and wood molding. Slide the putty knife under the molding, and move the knife until the molding loosens; taking care not to damage it.
Pry off the molding when you can grab it, and remove nails with the pliers. Note the order in which you take the pieces from the frame.
Take the knife out, then insert it vertically between the wooden frame and molding. Move the knife back and forth. If the adhesive or caulk is tough to remove, apply a solvent.
Examine the frame for remaining caulk or glaze. Slowly lift the glass from the door frame, and discard it. Measure the inside of the door frame, and use the measurements to buy glass.
Install the New Glass
Test the fit of the glass in the opening. If the glass doesn't exactly fit, trim it with the chisel. Run a cloth around the door frame to remove dust. Fill any dings or holes in the door with a putty crayon.
Add a bead of caulk around the edges of the door frame, or apply a thin layer of the glazing compound. Glazing compound works like a caulking gun.
Set the glass firmly in the adhesive. Add a bead of caulk on the trim side of the door.
Reinstall the molding using the pin nailer; giving them a gentle tap with a hammer in the corner to tighten the mitres. Ensure the pin nailer angle is strong enough to shoot over glass. Always wear eye protection when using pin nailers.
Insert the nails in the same holes holding the pin nailer at a 30-degree angle. Attach four nails per trim piece in the center. Reinstall the door, if needed.