How to Choose Front Door Glass Inserts

Step 2 of 5 in the process – How to Choose a Front Door in 5 Steps.

Entry Door Glass Inserts with caming


Not every entry door needs decorative glass inserts. In fact, there are many elegant and stylish front door systems that use very little glass at all. However, if you believe, as many homeowners do, that “glass adds class” then you’ll be delighted to know about the myriad options available at Today’s Entry Doors.

Image Gallery: Fiberglass Entry Doors with Glass

Door Glass Inserts: Style or Performance?

Integrating glass into your entry door system is kind of a left brain/right brain proposition. On the left and more analytical side, are considerations, such as safety, privacy, energy efficiency and light diffusion. On the right and more creative side, are design and aesthetics, including insert size, shape, texture, and color.  The perfect combination of the two (your goal) results in a glass insert configuration that’s secure and practical and an imaginative expression of your own unique personality.

Glass Insert Performance

Safety & Security

With front door glass inserts, there’s a subtle distinction between safety and security. Safety generally refers to reducing the chance for injury should the insert be broken or shattered, and security usually relates to protecting a home’s occupants against severe weather and attempts at forced entry. In this section, we’ll touch briefly on both.

Using a glass panel in the top third of the door, which has been popular in the Craftsman or bungalow style of homes, is a more security-conscious choice. The panel’s position in the top of the door makes it more difficult for a potential burglar to gain access to the door hardware.

Triple-layer Glass for safetyIf you have kids in the house, safety is a prerequisite for any front door glass inserts. Not all states are the same but California requires that doors with this feature use either tempered glass or impact resistant glass.

Tempered glass is four times tougher than regular glass, so that when broken, it crumbles into small blunt chunks to reduce the risk of injury. Impact resistant glass is similar to your car’s front windshield. When shattered, fragments stick to the tough inter-layer sandwiched safely between two outer panels.

Decorative glass has three layers of glass, also known as Triple-layer Glass Inserts. The decorative panel is sealed between two pieces of tempered safety glass. All of the glass inserts that we use are triple glazed, which not only protects the caming, but is also more thermally efficient than just a single pane.

Privacy & Privacy Rating

Bringing natural light inside your home is a great reason to choose front door glass inserts. However, to be completely satisfied with your inserts, you’ll want to strike the right balance between light diffusion and privacy.  In our 25-plus years of experience, we’ve found that textured glass provides the best combination.  Contact a Today’s Entry Door design consultant to learn more about textured glass.

Another thing you need to know about glass inserts is the one-through-ten “privacy rating,” which helps you choose between inserts that let all the light in (clear glass with a rating of 1) and those that totally obscure visibility (opaque glass with a rating of 10). Many people choose glass with the mid-range rating of 5 (diffused), where objects on the other side of the glass are detectable but are virtually indistinguishable. The caveat is that ratings are subjective and may vary between manufacturers. But if you have questions, we’re always available to help.

Energy Efficiency

Energy Star LogoAfter decades of advertising many homeowners are aware of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) voluntary ENERGY STAR program. The initiative is intended to help manufacturers produce–and consumers buy–products that reduce energy use and help support the environment. ENERGY STAR-qualified glass inserts help regulate how much of the sun’s heat enters your home and how much of the controlled air temperature inside escapes.  They can also reduce the need for air conditioning.

Keep Fabric from Fading

Sometimes exposing drapes, furniture and carpet to sunlight can’t be helped.  However, you can reduce the potential for sun damage with a special option called a “low-E” or “low emissivity” coating. This is just a techie way of saying that the coating filters out the harmful rays and lets the good ones in.

All these options are available from Today’s Entry Doors. So if you want front door glass inserts, we’ll explain the features, benefits, and differences between our different world-class manufacturers’ products.

Glass Inserts for Design

Sure, choosing your door style and hardware is a blast!. Everybody likes that part. But if you’re like most homeowners your creativity will really be on display when choosing beautiful glass inserts as your crowning decorative touch.

Clear Glass

Clear glass inserts maximize the amount of natural light that enters your home. Clear glass has a privacy rating of 1. These inserts feature two glass panels with a space between them, which is filled with air or gas to increase insulation.

Decorative Glass

Avonlea Baroque GlassDecorative glass inserts are gaining popularity with today’s homeowners, mainly because they help enhance a home’s curb appeal and overall perceived value.  The term “decorative” refers to textured glass, stained glass, beveled glass and a process called “caming” (explained below)  to create a range of stunning designs and patterns that are functional yet, aesthetically unique. As mentioned above, that this type of insert has three distinct layers: one decorative panel and two pieces of tempered safety glass in between which is it layered.

Here’s a quick overview of the decorative glass options available at Today’s Entry Doors:

Textured Glass

Textured glass is characterized by a distinct pattern that is impressed on the surface of the insert.
In terms of opacity, most textured glass falls in the middle between clear and obscure.  Textured glass comes in a wide range of designs and finishes, including tempered (toughened), laminated and single or double glazed.

Baroque Glass

You’ll recognize Baroque style glass by its swirling bold patterns and vivid color contrasts. Based on an antique “Reamy”, hand-blown process, this dynamically artistic glass adds a unique and memorable look to other decorative glass styles.

Stained Glass

“Stained” glass is actually just vibrantly colored glass that is used to decorate windows and doors. This method has been popular throughout history, especially in churches, cathedrals and other structures of religious or social significance. Contemporary decorative glass designs owe much to traditional stained glass treatments.

Beveled Glass

This thick glass with an angled periphery comes in many different sizes and shapes, the most common of which are square, round, oval and diamond.  How bevels are situated and angled in the design produces a prismatic effect that results in eye-catching color refractions. Master designers combine  beveled glass with textured and colored glass to create a range of visually stunning effects.

Caming

Caming refers to the process of fusing individual glass pieces together using a special metal bonding material. Patina and polished zinc caming are the most popular while others include bright brass, polished zinc and black nickel. We would be happy to explain this fascinating option in more detail.

We do provide more options and customization than your typical depot style store.

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