Renovation-Headquarters Banner


French Doors

Question: I have a set of multi-paned french doors in my house that lead from one room to another. Some of the panes are filled with glass, some with rigid plastic and some that were empty I filled with cardboard when we first moved here and just painted over them. Now we want to replace the plastic and cardboard with glass. Is this a difficult procedure? My husband seems to think it would be "fairly simple" to remove the molding on one side, which holds the panes in place, put in glass, and nail the molding back on again. But the wood has been painted several times and it's not clear where the nails are, and nailing on a door that has glass panes in it seems like it would be a really difficult job. Does anyone have experience doing this? Any tips? Is it something that is better left to a professional or is this a reasonable do-it-yourself project?

Answer: Your husband is right (surprise), it is not a difficult job. Use a razor blade knife to cut through the paint where the window glass molding meets the frame of the door. Use a small pry-bar (6 or 7 inch) or scraper to leverage the wood up and the nails should come with the molding, if they go through the molding they can be pulled out with a pair of pliers.

Measure for the glass. When installing the glass you can use the small flat triangle pieces that the picture frame people use to hold the picture in the frame. Then nail the molding into place. When nailing the molding let the head of the hammer slide on the glass, doing it in this manner prevents the hammer from hitting the glass.

If you are going to refinish the doors I would suggest you remove all the glass, plastic and cardboard, refinish the doors and then replace the glass.

Additional information on nailing molding to a glass pane.