Front Doors with Sidelights: Rules and Guidelines to Follow | Plastpro Inc

If you’re looking to add a touch of elegance to your front door, make sidelight installation one of the options considered during your decision-making process. The addition of sidelights can drastically alter a home’s entry doors, and set your exterior apart from that of your neighbors. But while you may desire a unique approach for your home, there are established practices that can guide your choice of sidelight, as well as your choices for installation.

What are Front Door Sidelights?

The name sidelights can be misleading. Yes, these door accents are usually narrow, vertical pieces that run along the left-hand and right-hand sides of a door. No, they don’t usually feature any lights for entry illumination. Instead, the name refers to the fact that these additions to an exterior door usually include glass—sometimes they’re made of more than 50% glass—and that allows for more natural light to enter a living space.

The amount of glass in a sidelight is up to personal preference, as well as the shape, size and materials that make up the sidelight. The glass inside a sidelight can also be customized, allowing for more or less light, privacy, or ornate detail. 

You may also find sidelights being referred to as sidelites or, in the case of fiberglass door maker Plastpro, doorlites. Decorative glass like doorlites can bring an element of beauty and sophistication to your front entry door through a variety of textured backdrops and classic styles.

Why Include Sidelights in Your Front Door?

When added alongside exterior doors, sidelights can drastically bump up your home’s curb appeal. Additionally, if you have a door with built-in glass features, sidelights can create a look that expands on those features and acts as an extension of the door itself. The result can be a grand display of glass and other building materials brought together for the purpose of enhancing both a home’s appearance and a visitor’s experience. 

If a door doesn’t have any glass features, sidelights can be utilized for a high-quality entryway presentation that’s welcoming for both the everyday inhabitants of a home, as well as their visitors. An entryway with sidelights would also be more welcoming to natural light, allowing it into a home to provide added visibility. That visibility often goes both ways, too—the glass features of sidelights allow those inside the home to better observe yards and porches.

Adding sidelights to your current front door is one of the fastest ways to make a change in your home’s personality.


Installing Sidelights to an Existing Door

Enjoying the benefits of sidelights doesn’t have to mean a total front door replacement. The materials, length, width, amount of glass and glass placement in a sidelight can all be customized, so your new sidelights can match the color, size, shape and glass features of your existing door—or they can incorporate new design elements to further expand the aesthetic footprint of exterior doors.

When it comes to installing sidelights that complement an existing front door, you may want to consult the party you’re using to design, manufacture or find the sidelights. If you plan to install sidelights yourself, remember that it’s safe to assume any exterior wall is a load-bearing wall, so plan accordingly. As you’ll most likely be working with glass, also remember to wear proper safety equipment.


Sidelights Best Practices

As with most home additions, sidelights come with their own set of established rules—or, at the most, strong suggestions that certainly feel like the recommended way of doing things. 

First, sidelights should be employed in pairs so the entryway remains symmetrical. This is especially true if entry doors themselves feature symmetrical panels or other design features. Adding an arch above the door can further enhance this look. However, all rules are meant to be broken and modern doors can be an exception. They often sport asymmetrical features like long, vertical glass panes adorning the left-hand or right-hand side of a door. 

Sidelights should also match a door in terms of color, materials or stain. However, if your home has a color palette that includes multiple colors that mesh well with each other, sidelights can be used to incorporate one or more of those colors around exterior doors. If it breaks rules but looks good, maybe your home has a different set of best practices. 

Homeowners seeking privacy should stick with sidelights that place their glass features at the top, minimalizing visibility into the home. Different available glass options will adjust visibility and the amount of natural light that enters the home.

Sidelights are meant to accent a door, not take it over, so be conservative with size.

Sidelights are usually wasted on interior doors, unless there’s one particular space that receives a very large amount of sunlight and you’d like it to find its way into the next room.

Sidelights, like most additions to a home, have been utilized so much that homeowners have created a set of rules for others to follow. However, given your home’s current aesthetic and your desired design preferences, those rules may exist to be broken.


Choosing the Perfect Front Door and Sidelights with Plastpro

If you’re looking for a range of options in both the sidelights and door departments—including the ability to customize a door to fit your current door frame—check out Plastpro. Additionally, Plastpro’s fiberglass doors offer a bump in security, durability and energy efficiency when compared to their traditional wooden counterparts. Find a Plastpro dealer near you to begin your journey towards a new and improved entryway!

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