GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted

Community and Q&A

We were looking to replace our front door which has 2 flanking sidelights

Soundview75 | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

The door appears original to the house which was built in late 1890s (all glass is single-pane and the door has no weatherstripping). Needless to say, it’s very drafty (we use rope caulk to seal gaps and plastic to cover windows in winter).

We’ve had 3 estimates for the work, all ranging between $3,000-$5,000 bucks. All contractors cite unknown condition of framing, subfloor, etc.

At that cost I question ROI, efficiency-wise, and whether that money could be better spent on other efficiency upgrades. As an alternative, could the door’s components be upgraded rather than replacing the whole unit; can sidelights and door be replaced independent of the entire frame?

Or, is the most economical and efficient option a good storm door that covers sidelights as well? Any and all suggestions would be appreciated!

Thanks.

GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.

Replies

  1. charlie_sullivan | | #1

    Looks like your question got cut off--try posting the remainder of it as an "answer" below ...

  2. Soundview75 | | #2

    ... rope caulk to seal gaps and plastic to cover windows in winter). We've had 3 estimates for the work, all ranging between $3000-$5000 bucks. All contractors cite unknown condition of framing, subfloor, etc. At that cost I question ROI, efficiency-wise, and whether that money could be better spent on other efficiency upgrades. As an alternative, could the door's components be upgraded rather than replacing the whole unit; can sidelights and door be replaced independent of the entire frame? Or, is the most economical and efficient option a good storm door that covers sidelights as well? Any and all suggestions would be appreciated!

  3. LucyF | | #3

    Christina,
    Would you post a picture? That would help. Also do you want to keep the door for aesthetic reasons?

    And in terms of ROI what is the condition of the rest of the house in terms of insulation and air sealing?

  4. Soundview75 | | #4

    I'm indifferent about door; it can go or stay. I just had home air sealed, increased attic insulation, and spray foamed sills. Home energy audit also recommended I replace windows, door, and add dense pack to walls. Just trying to figure out best bang for buck

  5. gusfhb | | #5

    If it measures a standard width[hah] a new unit starts around a grand, maybe 1500 for an insulated with sidelights etc. If you want to get all euro [better than U .3 or so] the price will go up, but I would think a standard 60 inch or whatever fits unit would be a big improvement

  6. Soundview75 | | #6

    Ain't nuthin' standard about this house :) But you're right that whatever fits would be an improvement. I just question ROI of new door vs. dense pack. Thanks!

  7. LucyF | | #7

    Christian,
    I'm sorry I read your name wrong. You're probably going to do both things at some point. Is there any insulation in your walls now? I don't know that I would dense pack the walls before replacing windows just because someone can do significant air sealing during the window replacement which might be helpful before blowing in the cellulose. Not sure about from a construction sequence standpoint. Maybe a true expert can weigh in on that.

    But if you are just weighing door replacement vs. dense pack, I clearly think dense pack would be more beneficial.

  8. Soundview75 | | #8

    Not much in way of insulation in walls. As far as window replacement, we were going to go with inserts to avoid getting into siding and interior trim.

    Adding insulation to walls sounds like where we'd get best bang for buck. Thanks, all!

  9. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #9

    Christian,
    If the cost of the work is unaffordable, here is an alternative:

    1. Call up a local storm window shop and have them make custom exterior storm panels for the sidelights. These won't cost much.

    2. Install a high quality weatherstripping kit on the door.

  10. DIYJester | | #10

    Christian, the cost of the European doors with lots of glass tends to be quite high. I had a 72x80 french door quoted at over $4200 (not installed) with no blinds etc. You'd need to save $100 a year on energy costs for a door like this to break even after 43 years. I think that is quite a stretch for the ROI.

  11. user-3549882 | | #11

    Christian,

    You're not the only one wanting a more energy efficient front door. For more information: GBA Q & A, "Seeking an Affordable Energy-Efficient Exterior Door", dated 24 Jan, 2013. If you're a DIY type, you can surely improve the energy performance of the door and the side panes. The tough part is making an old door look like a new one and perform like a new one.

Log in or create an account to post an answer.

Community

Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |