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6 Reasons to Install a New Entry Door with Sidelights

Monday June 22nd, 2020
No matter the season, an exterior front door with sidelights creates a beautiful connection to the outdoors, bringing the benefits of light and design to an entry and foyer. Whether your front entry door is a traditional wood door with wrought iron, a double door made of bold and modern steel, or an elegant display of French panes, a transom window and matching glass sidelight will completely transform the face of your home.

6 Reasons to Install a New Entry Door with Sidelights 

  1. Natural Lighting
  2. Benefits of Tempered Glass
  3. Connection to Nature
  4. Curb Appeal
  5. See Approaching Guests and Visitors
  6. Customization
An entrance door graced with a single sidelight window or a set of sidelights will make an impact on your home's exterior curb appeal, value, and functionality. The impact of this simple renovation stretches beyond what the eye can see. That's why many homeowners and landlords are choosing to upgrade properties with a sidelight-framed door, such as a solid wood front door with sidelights or a steel entry door with sidelights.
Below is a brief overview of the many reasons to consider sidelights and transoms for your front entry door.

1. Natural Lighting

Natural lighting can brighten up a house and make cramped quarters seem more spacious. Studies have shown that natural sunlight can even improve your mood. Installing a front entry door with sidelights is an effective choice for bringing natural light into an entryway. Adding one or two sidelights along with a transom will dramatically transform a dim foyer into an inviting space that welcomes all who step foot in your home.

With many options of styles and sizes, you can control how much or how little natural light you wish to enter through. Additionally, sidelight shutters are available for purchase should a homeowner want to cover the sidelights with plantation shutters or the transom with sunburst shutters.

2. Benefits of Tempered Glass

Sidelights and transoms are usually crafted using tempered glass, though some artisan approaches can include the use of decorative glass, such as stained glass or beveled glass. The thought of installing glass around a front door might raise suspicion about longevity, resistance, and security—but the truth is that this type of glass holds up to time, weather, and wear.

Tempered glass is tougher than regular glass. It is heat resistant and maintains the temperature of a foyer or entry. Additionally, this glass is tough—it won’t scratch or break easily even when applying force. And with the many patterns of tempered glass available, installing sidelights on an exterior door adds unique design value to a home without relying on more delicate options, like stained or beveled glass.

3. Connection to Nature

An entry door with sidelights provides residents with a view of the natural beauty that thrives right outside the doorway. A view of green leaves and brilliantly colored flowers can brighten up both a home and the emotions and thoughts of all who live within. This can be especially important for someone who works from home or whose house has smaller square footage.

4. Curb Appeal 

Sidelights add insurmountable curb appeal to the front of a home, whether you’re looking to renovate your space for your own enjoyment or boost sales in your next move. These tall window panes add texture and color variation to break up long drags of siding on either side of a door. Similar to shutters, a sidelight also artfully frames entry doors, drawing the eye to the standout craftsmanship of the door panel. Sidelights look particularly stunning when they frame a double door crafted from a bold wood, like mahogany or cherry.

5. See Approaching Guests and Visitors

Instead of reaching on tiptoes to peek through a peephole and grasp a distorted view of visitors or deliverymen, sidelights allow homeowners a full view of all who approach their doorstep or ring the bell. Seeing guests through these panes is a much friendlier way to welcome guests and a practical way to avoid unwanted visitors.

6. Customization

Sidelights and transoms are easily customized and can be purchased along with a new door or added to an existing entry door. Like custom entry doors, the shape, size, pane design, and the choice of color and texture of wood can all be personalized. Side lights can be purchased as a single unit, installed in multiples, or accompanied by a transom. All of these choices transcend classic and contemporary styles, finding their place in modern and traditional homes alike.

How to Measure a Front Door with Sidelights

Front doors are typically 36 inches wide but can be purchased in 2-inch intervals in either direction. Similarly, sidelights are generally built in 2-inch increments, with 12 and 14 inches as the standard. No matter which size you choose, the general rule is to add another 3 inches for the trim when determining your rough opening measurement.

The height of a front door usually stands at 80 inches, with an additional 1-2 inches for the jamb, adding up to a total of 82 inches in height for the rough opening. Your sidelight should match the total height of your door and jamb.

How to Install a Front Door with Sidelights

Below is a brief description of the installation process when installing a front door with sidelights. This process works best when installing a wood front door with sidelights. A door other than a traditional paneled wood entry door, such as fiberglass, steel, a double entry door, or a Dutch door will require different measurements and tools. Additionally, replacing prehung entry doors with sidelights versus unassembled doors with sidelights will require a different order of operations. It’s always best to review online directions or consult a professional for your specific type of door before beginning the installation process.
  1. Measure your existing door and sidelight to make sure you purchase the correct replacement size and calculate the actual cost of the project. 
  2. Remove the storm door, if present. 
  3. Remove the doorbell and any hardware, such as handles and locks.
  4. From the inside of the home, remove the trim using a utility knife, hammer, and pry bar, focusing on applying pressure on the door side of both to protect the drywall
  5. In an upwards motion, hammer out your hinges to remove your front door. 
  6. Remove the sidelight using a circular saw to cut through the jamb and expose the sidelight. Remove the jamb using a hammer and pry bar. 
  7. Use a power screwdriver to remove all screws holding the sidelight in place. 
  8. Remove the sidelight.
  9. If you’ve ordered a prehung door, pull out the original header as you’ll be installing a new one. 
  10. Line up new sidelight with rough door opening, making sure it is level and plumb.
  11. Mark and make pilot drill holes and then drill sidelight into jamb
  12. Attach doors with hinges.
  13. Replace trim. 
  14. Reinstall hardware and doorbell. 
For an in-depth look into replacing a front entry door, be sure to read our article, How to Install a Front Door. Though this article focuses on front doors in general, a lot of the direction and advice can be applied to front door sidelights.

Stunning Sidelights for your Home 

Rustica sidelights and transoms are hand-crafted with anti-warping materials. All options can be customized to customer preference without sacrificing the integrity of materials and quality of design. Prices vary according to design, as well as dimensions. Additionally, these sidelights can be added to a variety of doors, like glass doors, fiberglass entry doors, patio doors, steel doors, or traditional wood doors,

Rocky Point Sidelight

The Rocky Point Sidelight is crafted from two small upper panes of glass with long, solid paneled wood below. This option creates a touch of natural light without sacrificing privacy. This sidelight looks best placed next to a solid wood front door.

Hudson Sidelight

The Hudson Sidelight features five panes of glass per sidelight. One benefit of a multi-pane structure is that it offers better insulation in comparison to a single pane of glass. Like a French door, multi-pane windows and sidelights are fitted using insulating gas to prevent heat transfer, maintaining a consistent indoor temperature. This window perfectly highlights mid-century modern design style. Pairing a single panel door with one sidelight will create the combination of linear lines and offset symmetry that this design era is famous for.

Alpine Sidelight

Rustica’s seven-pane Alpine Sidelight features narrow panels that insulate a home’s interior better than standard glass inserts. These multi-paned sidelights would look fantastic framing a modern, solid door or boldly painted black front door, juxtaposing light and darkness for an unforgettable statement.

Lakehouse Sidelight

Crafted with three glass panes and a short paneled bottom made of solid wood, the Lakehouse Sidelight lets light flood into an entryway while maintaining a traditional design.

Hampton Sidelight

The Hampton Sidelight invites the maximum amount of light into your home’s entryway. Featuring a single, framed panel of glass, this sidelight is minimalist in design, perfecting a contemporary feel.

Sidelights and Transoms

Exterior entry doors with sidelights aren’t the only doors that can benefit from glass pane framing. An interior door can also feature sidelights and transoms for a stunning look that begins with front door design and extends to any area of the home. Including these sidelights throughout a floor plan will shepherd light to even the dimmest office space or dining area. Installing a Rustica craftsman style or modern front door with sidelights are great examples of the artistry that can be incorporated in any part of the home or office.
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