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Question DetailsAsked on 3/29/2016

I want to replace just the front door and not the sidelights. do I need to replace everything?

The door is not broken or warped. there is no damage or dray rot about the door. I want to replace only the door with a different door that has a leaded glass window at the top. I do not want to replace the sidelights. The door is original to the house that was built in 1979. I am being told that more than likely I would need to replace the door and sidelights which could cost over $2000. The door I want is $250,

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1 Answer


IF the existing doorframe is square - not tilted due to house settlement, then it should be no problem to get a door to fit in the existing frame - even reuse the existing hardware if you want. Simple with wood doors that can be cut down to fit the opening, fiberglass or steel you would have to special order in the exact size needed from a Door company, who could also do the install for you.

Otherwise - if the doorframe needs replacement too (due to rot or you want matching door and frame or whatever), then the entire door unit could be replaced PROVIDED that the sidelights are tagalongs, not integral to the door framing. If there is a vertical joint the whole height of the framing between the sidelights and the doorframe, or the doorframe is separate from the sidelight (under trim probably) is most likely a tagalong - a separate unit fastened to the doorframe, and can generally be separated and left in place while new doorframe and door is put in. Vendor would have to remove the trim around the inside to be sure possibly. If the post between the door and the sidelight is one piece, with no gap, then is likely an integral unit which might or might not be separable if wood, probably not reasonably so if fiberglass or metal.

Since you know the door you want, measure its dimensions and the dimensions of the existing door (assuming it fits OK) - if you can buy new door same size, you are good to install. If smaller, door frame may be shimmable with some work to narrow the gap up to 1/2" or so reasonably. If oversize, you can usually trim down as much as about 1-2" in each direction without a problem - not easily so with metal or fiberglass. Vinyl sometimes yes, sometimes no.

If not a fit, I would find out what the vendor charges for a special order to fit your existing opening - best to have the vendor who is going to install it do the measuring so if it does not fit there is no argument about who's fault it is. Even if the special order is $100 more or so, better than replacing the whole thing.

Another option - if you like your existing door - is have a glass unit installed into it - likely closer to $400-500 installed than the $350-450 for a stock door that fits, but still better than over $2000. Most door places with a millwork shop, and most millwork and door/window supply places can do this and install the door too.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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