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Glass Front Doors | An Overly-Detailed Guide

Glass Front Doors | An Overly-Detailed Guide

Glass front doors are one of the best ways to keep your front door in good shape and let a little light into your home without the cost of installing a new window. Read on to learn all about this popular improvement.

Why Have a Glass Front Door?

Gorgeous glass front door that looks onto a modern Seattle-style home

Artazum/Shutterstock

A glass front door is a great way to give your house a crisp, clean, modern facelift with minimal changes. However, there are a lot of concerns that go along with incorporating this feature into your home, including safety and privacy issues.

So, is a glass front door worth it? If you like the look of a glass front door, we say go for it!

There are tons of ways to alleviate security concerns. Plus, it’s an instant curb-appeal update for your home that can add value and class. Keep reading to learn more about:

  • How to incorporate a glass front door to maximize the style of your home
  • How to mitigate safety and privacy concerns regarding glass doors
  • And what to expect when picking out and installing a glass front door

The Long Answer: Incorporating a Glass Front Door

Glass front doors come in many shapes, sizes, and styles, so you don’t have to worry about finding one that fits your taste. You’ll commonly see front doors with glass inserts or glass window panels flanking them on many modern-built homes.

Because many recent design trends try to maximize incoming light and openness inside the home, making the front door another place where light can get in helps the home feel less enclosed. Glass front doors serve a similar purpose when viewed from the outside.

They feed a sort of modern, clean perception of your home’s exterior and can be a great way to update your curb appeal. If this is the sort of feel you’re after for your front door, you have lots of options!

1. Traditional-Style Glass Front Doors

Glass and wood front door idea with a big porch framing the door

David Papazian/Shutterstock

As mentioned before, this style of glass front door is pretty common but still raises a home’s curb appeal. These doors typically are solid except for the inserted glass panels and sometimes the glass windows to either side, called sidelights, for symmetry.

Even within this style, though, there is a lot of variation that you can take advantage of. Some traditional-style glass front doors have smaller glass panel inserts, while some are made up mostly of glass with only a bit of wood or other material to function as a frame of sorts.

With these kinds of doors, in particular, you’ll often see beveled, etched, or frosted glass instead of plain, clear glass. The reasons for this include decoration and some functional aspects, which we’ll dive deeper into later.

2. Modern-Style Glass Front Doors

Modern style glass front door

Jason Finn/Shutterstock

Whether it hearkens back to a more mod era or seems more futuristic, modern design style is here to stay. It can make a bold and stylish statement incorporated into the exterior of your home by way of a glass front door.

Although this style of glass front door won’t be harmonious on every home, some architecture styles not only pull it off beautifully but are complemented and completed by a modern-style glass front door. 

These doors are unique and out-of-the-box. They can be oversized with unique hardware, overly geometric construction, or stunning minimalism. 

Many of these front doors are more glass than anything else, and they often shine with asymmetric detailing, such as one flanking glass window instead of the usual balanced two that you see in traditional styles.

3. Double Glass Front Doors

Double French glass front door idea

David Papazian/Shutterstock

If you want to make a grand statement, double glass doors are a no-brainer. Whether you want to go traditional or modern, you can amp up the original impact of one glass door with a French door approach.

While there are lots of factors to consider in this decision, such as space, functionality, and price, it’s a great way to up the value of your home and the curb appeal. Another thing to consider here is the Go Big or Go Home factor.

Double glass doors are usually both oversized and grand; the typical French door style that you may see used for a back door or a patio door just won’t have the same overall feel on the front of a home.

4. Different Shaped Glass Front Doors

Curved glass front door idea

David Papazian/Shutterstock

A great way to blend traditional and modern styles for something eclectic and utterly unique is to go with a glass front door that abandons the conventional rectangular shape.

Arched front doors are becoming quite popular and can work with various architecture and design styles.

You can also achieve a similar effect by choosing a rectangular door but installing a semi-circular panel above the door as a transom window to add more glass and achieve a unique look without totally committing to something outside your design comfort zone.

Understanding the Types of Glass

When entertaining the idea of a glass front door, the type of glass you use will significantly impact your day-to-day life.

Like with door styles, there are many glass types to choose from, and all of them offer different pros and cons. Here are some of the most popular types of glass to use in front doors.

1. Clear Glass

Like the kind used for windows, clear glass is popular for front doors. However, exterior door glass must be thick and made with laminated or tempered glass, which gives added security. 

Pros

  • Offers lots of incoming light
  • Contributes to openness
  • Especially good for rural areas for enjoying the view

Cons

  • For any added privacy or blurring, window clings are necessary
  • Gets dirty more easily (e.g., fingerprints) and must be cleaned more often
  • Doesn’t add any extra design appeal; makes a more neutral statement

2. Frosted Glass

Frosted or etched glass has been a favorite for a long time because of its built-in privacy and more secure feeling.

Pros

  • Blurs view from the outside in 
  • Stays cleaner for longer; doesn’t show fingerprints as much as clear glass
  • Still lets in a reasonable amount of light

Cons

  • Can sometimes look dated
  • Obscures views from inside out as well as outside in 

3. Glass With Iron Insets

There’s just something stately about a glass door with iron insets in a decorative arrangement or pattern. It’s like stained glass without the actual stained glass and with all of the elevated and classy vibes.

And if you’re not big on iron inserts, you can still achieve the same feeling without them by choosing decorative glass set in similar patterns but without the addition of metal parameters.

Pros

  • Multiple types of glass can be used to fit your desired privacy level
  • Multiple patterns and styles of insets are available 

Cons

  • Won’t match every architectural style
  • Depending on the pattern, it may look outdated

4. Sandblasted Glass

In this glass-frosting method, the glass is blasted with sand, creating a very fine and even effect through abrasion.

Pros

  • Offers one of the highest privacy levels
  • Sandblasting can be done in particular patterns or all-over
  • Easy to keep clean

Cons

  • Can still feel somewhat closed in compared to clear glass
  • Can look outdated depending on the style or the surface area covered

Things to Consider

Modern glass front door idea as viewed from the entryway

Artazum/Shutterstock

When it comes down to it, one of the most important factors when making such a crucial choice for your home is safety. Although glass front doors can still provide a satisfying range of privacy depending on the type you choose, can they also be safe?

Safety

It’s a given that glass is inherently not as secure as wood or another solid material. Even with the added safety features built into glass front doors to make up for this, you’re still making a trade when it comes to letting that extra light in.

However, as mentioned before, front-door glass is regulated and reinforced to meet thickness and safety requirements. Tempered or laminated glass is harder to break than regular old glass.

Although your glass door could be a potential point of illegal entry, the glass will hold up better than you think it will. There are also several extra added measures you can take to bolster your glass front door’s security.

Making sure to add a deadbolt and employing glass-breakage sensors can help you feel safer, and a home security system can pull it all together for maximum security.

Efficiency

Another factor worth mentioning is the efficiency of a glass front door. Glass windows are some of the most active culprits of increased heating and cooling bills year-round. 

Thankfully, many modern-made glass doors are built with this potential fault in mind. Double-pane glass is far more energy-efficient and is used commonly in front doors.

It can also help to seek out glass front doors that utilize energy-efficient glass coating to minimize emissions and ones that employ gasses between the glass layers that can help insulate the door better.

Frequently Asked Questions

Very unique glass front door idea in a villa-style home

Dariusz Jarzabek/Shutterstock

Now that you’re expanding your horizons about glass front doors and your curiosity is flowing, here are some more important things you might want to know before you start shopping around for your new front door.

How much does a glass front door cost?

Because of all the different options to choose from, there’s likely a glass door to fit every budget. The average cost for a glass door is in the range of $200 to $2500. If you want to add side window panels or install double doors, that will also impact the price.

Are front doors with glass safe?

While there are different security factors to consider with glass doors, it’s important to remember that you probably have glass installed in many places in your house already. Making sure to take safety steps is key to home security, no matter what style of front door you choose.

Which glass is best for doors?

Thick, tempered glass with added energy-efficiency features is a smart choice for anyone wanting to install a glass front door. Different types of glazing are available for privacy, depending on your desired effect from within and from the exterior of your home.

Can I change the glass in my front door?

If one of your glass panels breaks, or if you simply want a change of pace, you can replace the glass panels separately without replacing your entire front door.

Often, you can find the resources to do this at a local home improvement store, and some businesses specialize in these sorts of repairs and replacements.

How do I add privacy to my glass front door?

While glazing or glass clings are the most obvious choices, you can add privacy to your glass front door in many other ways. Installing curtains or blinds is another excellent way to control privacy less permanently.

So, Should You Get a Glass Front Door?

As you can see, glass front doors are a great way to let in more natural light, open up your living space, and give your curb appeal a modern facelift.

If installed properly, a glass front door can be both a beautiful and a safe, secure home feature that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

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