Replace glass in front door

How to Replace a Pane of Glass in a Door

Door glass is held in place with molding.Door glass is held in place with molding.

Door glass is held in place by wood molding. The pane typically is not glued in, but may have a light bead of caulk or silicone around the perimeter to cushion the glass slightly. This type of installation is straightforward, making it easy to replace the glass if it is cracked or broken, or if you just need a change of pace. You can replace the glass in almost any door in about an hour with the use of hand tools.

Insert the tip of a nail into the bottom cylinder of the door hinges. Tap straight up on the end of the nail with a hammer to drive the pin up and out of the hinges. Grab the door with both hands and pull it loose from the jamb. Place it flat across two sawhorses. This interior side of the door should be facing up.

Insert the tip of a putty knife between the molding and the side of the door. There will be molding around the perimeter of the glass. Insert the tip of the knife behind any one of the pieces of molding and pry it out.

Insert the tip of a chisel into the opening that you created with the putty knife. Pry hard enough to loosen the brads holding the molding to the side of the door. Twist the putty knife until the molding pops completely off the door. Remove the molding on all four sides of the glass.

Pull all the nails from the molding and door with diagonal pliers. Place the pieces of molding in order so that you can put them back on in the same order.

Insert the tip of the putty knife behind the glass, pry it up and remove it from the door with your fingers. If there is a small amount of sticky material on the opposite side, lift the glass slowly until the glass pulls free.

Scrape the inside of the opening with the putty knife. Scrape off any residual caulk, debris or putty from the area where the glass was.

Run a small bead of clear silicone caulk around the perimeter where the old glass was. Place the new glass into the opening. Press the glass with your fingers to flatten the silicone slightly.

Place the molding back on the door in the same order that you removed it. Hold the molding down tight against the glass. Use a pin nailer to shoot 1-inch pin nails through the molding pieces at a 30-degree angle. The pin nails should angle directly over the edge of the glass and penetrate into the sides of the opening in the door. Install all four pieces of molding in the same manner. Shoot four pin nails evenly spaced through each piece.

Putty the nail holes using a color-matched putty crayon. Place the door back on the hinges and install the pins.

Things You Will Need

  • Nail
  • Hammer
  • Putty knife
  • Chisel
  • Diagonal pliers
  • Silicone caulk
  • Pin nailer
  • 1-inch pin nails
  • Putty crayon
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