Adding Front Door Sidelights

March 30, 2015

A great way to improve the curb appeal of your home is adding front door sidelights. The additional windows on either side of the front entry door will also let more light into your home and illuminate your foyer. There are many choices for the glass itself including decorative glass, Low-E glass, and obscure glass.

Virtually all front doors that have sidelights are sold as a single integral unit. They are fabricated this way at the factory including a threshold that is in one solid piece spanning the entire width of the assembly. The common, one-piece threshold

ensures that all three components are in a straight line. The continuous threshold also prevents possible leaks between the components.

When adding front door sidelights, you may want to take it one step further and add a Transom Window that sits just above the front door and sidelights. This can be a simple rectangle shape or a custom arched shape. A transom window will fill your foyer with natural light. Dress up the Transom Window and Sidelights with an optional grille and patterns.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Adding Front Door Sidelights

  • Determine the Size: Before you start ripping out the existing front door, you need to make sure you have enough space for the new door assembly. Measure the foyer width and height then head to your local window & door supplier to place your order. Make sure you allow several inches on either side as well as above the door for any additional structural framing that may be required.
  • Obtain a Building Permit: When adding front door sidelights you will be making major modifications to the framework around the door. In many cases this will require a building permit from your local county office.
  • Remove the Existing Door: Remove all of the trim around the existing door. Remove any screws that are holding the door in place. Cut out the caulking and remove any shims.
  • Prepare the New Opening: Measure the height and width of the new opening according to the door manufacturers recommendations. Cut back the existing framework beyond these dimensions to allow for the new header and header supports or jack studs. Allow for an additional 1-1/2” on both sides of the opening for the 2 x4 header support. The overall height of the opening must be extended to allow for the new header. This may be a pair of 2 x 6’s or 2 x 8’s depending on the overall span. Check your local building codes to be certain.
  • Set the New Door With the aid of a helper, place the new door into the new framed opening. Use a carpenters’ level to make sure everything is plumb and level before fastening in place. Install wood shims around the perimeter as you do so.
  • Final Steps: To complete your project of adding front door sidelights refer to the article glass entry door installation tips.

Contact Us:

If adding front door sidelights seems like it may be more than you can handle give us a call. If you are searching for a professional contractor you can trust, to help you with your installation in Illinois: contact One Source Renovation, LLC at or give us a call at (815)-634-8922.