While replacing windows with doors in your home might be expensive, if your wood frame home has a large window, it can be replaced by a modern and energy efficient door to provide the insulation needed to lower your overall electric or utilities bill. Many older sliding windows are ineffective at keeping out the radiant heating and cooling that occurs through large windows. By replacing a window with a door, not only can you help save energy and the environment, you also get a new entrance to your home. Did someone say deck barbecue party?
While many frame homes are built differently, a basic truth exists for large window openings in framing. Additional reinforcing is required around windows and that translates into less insulation and a lower R-value for the opening. In many older window installations, you also find unsealed windowsills, gaps between studs and a general lack of insulation.
To combat this effect, replacing a window with a door makes perfect sense; especially when that door is a high-efficiency, energy saving model. A steel reinforced fiberglass frame provides one of the best energy savings bang-for-your-buck, while still providing the strength and durability of composite products.
Triple-pane glass panel inserts also provide the door with the visibility that the previous window had, while maintaining the energy-efficiency that you need when replacing a window with a door for energy savings. Whether a sliding glass door, French doors or a single swing with a window insert is installed, an EnergyStar rated triple-pane glass filled with krypton gas and coated with a low-E glaze are superb at stopping unwanted heat or cold from entering or escaping your home.
One of the simplest ways to install a door in an old window opening is to simply cut straight down on either side of the existing opening. Any extra framing can be added as needed to provide the support for the door. Remember, any opening over 4′ must have two studs and two jacks on either side of a 2×12 header. Larger spans require more. Low-expansion foam insulation can be added between studs for added R-value and increased energy-efficiency.
When setting the door in place, always test fit the door opening first. If you’ve got a ½” gap around each side and the top of the opening, your in business. Remove the door and caulk the threshold to prevent water from entering the home. Reinsert the door, shim as needed and secure with woodscrews as per manufacturers specifications.
Use low-expansion foam to seal the gaps between the door and framing members. Standard insulation can be used between studs as well. Enclose with wall coverings of your choice and enjoy your energy savings for years to come.