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Question DetailsAsked on 11/8/2014

Can an entire entry door sidelight panel be replaced without replacing the door?

The wood in the sidelight is warping. The door is still fine

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1 Answer


Sounds like you probably need to find the source of the water that is causing the warping, assuming it is not due to house load coming onto the window frame - or plan on having it properly stained and sealed or painted to prevent water damage if that is the cause, or if will happen again. Another possibility if you keep drapes over it is that condensation is forming on it in the winter and causing wood failure.

I would guess probably about 90% of the time with wood windows, the answer to your question would be yes. With vinyl or steel depends on manufacturer - some use a unitized frame design for each unit (sidelight, door) that is fastened together to make the individual units into one, others use an overall wrap-around frame that would require taking the entire door/sidelight unit out to disassemble the sidelights. If yours is vinyl or metal with wood insert trim panels they can probably be replaced without removing the sidelight unit at all - just removing the facing trim and replacing it. If a wood unit, if the outer frame is OK, then probably the inner window frame can be taken out and pieces (or the entire sidelight unit) replaced as needed - though that may quite possibly require taking the glazing unit (glass pane, or multiple panes of glass with metal glazing unit that holds them together and seals them) out, which could take your cost from the several hundred dollar labor range into the $500 range probably - possibly more if a fancy sidelight unit and the glazing unit has to be replaced either because it has been damaged or because it cannot be taken out without damaging it, which sometimes happens.

If yours is not a unitized or integral unit then replacing only a sidelight unit, if entire replacement is most economical (rather than repair) would be no problem - commonly sidelights are add-ons that are installed alongside but not actually connected to the door unit. In that case, you will typically have one or more 2x4 framing studs between the two, so instead of the door and sidelight frame sharing a matching finished post between them, you will have a narrow section of wall and siding/drywall, with possible matching trim piece between them. For instance, here is what a combined door/sidelight unit (with transom windows in this case) looks like, and taking it apart in-place without removing it all from the wall is tougher -

Here is what independent sidelights look like typically, though of course if trim is put all around all the units it can be hard to tell if the sidelights have independent frames or not without removing the trim.

While a carpenter - woodworking might be able to fix it if it is just trim facing warping, your best bet to cover all contingencies would be a window manufacturing and installation company - which might advertise as a window and door company, or as a millwork supply and door/window and installation company.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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