Sometimes accidents happen, and things get broken. It’s often hard to plan for these situations, but you can almost always do something about it after the fact.
Many people don’t realise that breaking the glass of your sliding glass door is not a huge problem. This is because it is possible to only replace the broken glass if you need to instead of removing the sliding patio door itself.
Here we will detail exactly how to remove and replace the glass panel in your sliding glass door. This will save you from having to replace your patio door outright.
Installing New Glass on a Sliding Glass Door
The most commonly used method to install a piece of glass into a patio door frame is called the “wrap-around” method. With this approach to installing a piece of glass into the door frame, the frame comes apart entirely.
Can you replace the glass yourself?
Glazing beads are trim pieces that frame glass panes and keep them in place. They can be made of wood, vinyl, or rubber, and they stay together with pressure or some extra silicone sealant.
If your aluminium sliding door glass is set within a solid metal, wood, or vinyl frame and does not have a glazing bead, it’s advisable to call in professional installers. This is because these glass patio doors require extensive disassembly to get to the glass.
The frame is typically screwed or clipped together at the four corners of the patio door. Once the screws or clips are removed, the frame breaks apart into four pieces, and, obviously, at this point, the glass is out of the frame.
This type of frame may have a gasket that wraps around the edges, or it might be sealed using a sealant or some gasket strip.
To ensure that a replacement piece of glass fits your door frame perfectly, take apart the existing frame, measure the dimensions and thickness of the original glass, and order an exact replacement.
If you’re unsure of how to go about this, then you can check out our guide on how to measure a sliding patio door.
It’s a good idea to get any cracks or chips on your glass sliding door glass fixed quickly because they can become bigger and require a complete glass door frame replacement.
What you’ll need
Before you get into the thick of your DIY project, you’ll need some tools to get the job done. Here are the tools that we recommend using:
- Pry bar
- Rubber mallet
- Work gloves
- Work shoes
- Putty Knife
You’ll also need some supplies to be able to replace the glass, such as:
- New glass pane
- Silicone caulk
Step 1: Inspect
Take a good look at how your patio door has been designed before you do anything else. It might be possible to remove the glass panel without you needing to remove the sliding door from the frame.
Once you’ve made your decision about whether you’re going to need to remove the door or not, you can find the interior glazing bead. This will likely be facing toward the inside of your home. You should be able to see a seam in between the glazing bead and sash.
Before you start removing anything, you should take some pictures to document how your door’s glazing bead strips fit into your frame. This is because you may need to replace these strips in the same order when replacing your glass.
Step 2: Remove glazing beads on the bottom and side of your door
The best place to start is with the side glazing beads. Put your putty knife in the seam lying between the glazing bead and sash. You can then softly knock the blade of the knife with your rubber mallet, as this will remove the bead from the rest of the trim.
Continue making your way along the bead until you can peel it away using your hands. You can follow this same process with the bottom bead as well. You may also need to use your pry bar to remove the silicone caulking underneath the bead.
If your glass door features wooden glazing beam trim, a screwdriver can be used to take out the screws. If it has staples, then you can pry them out by hand or using your pry bar.
Step 3: Top glazing bead
It’s best to save the top glazing bead for last, as the glass panel could fall out and either injure you or shoot broken glass everywhere. If someone else is at home, you should ask them to hold this panel in place for you.
Step 4: Remove the glass panel
The glass from your sliding doors should now be sitting loose in the door frame. Your protective equipment will be especially important now, but you should make sure to keep it on throughout the process.
If your glass is not broken, and you just want to replace it, then you can remove the whole panel. However, if your glass is broken, you should carefully remove the glass shards and dispose of them properly.
Step 5: Check on the door frame
Once you have removed the glass panel or pieces of glass from your frame, you should make your frame is in good shape. If you notice any severe damage that could affect how your sliding door panel works, then you should contact a professional.
They will be able to advise you whether you will need a new patio door or not. If your frame is not damaged, you should use a vacuum cleaner to remove any debris from the entire frame. This will help you when fitting your new glass pane.
Step 6: Consult your instruction manual
Before you install your new glass panel, you should consult your instruction manual. If you have lost it, you can try and search for your specific make and model to see if you can find one online.
You will need your instructions, as some glass panels will fit easily and can then be secured with glazing beads. But, some glass panels, especially those used on the sliding panel, will need extra adhesive to fit snugly.
After this, you should place a line of silicone caulk on the glass edges before you fit it. Some glass patio doors will need extra caulk to be placed on the inside of the glazing beads.
Step 7: Fit your new glass
This step will require some additional help, as you will need to pick up your new glass panel. You and your helper should line the glass up with the door frame and press it into place.
You should then keep the glass in place while the caulk cures for a bit. Caulk can take up to 24 hours to cure properly, so use your door carefully until then.
Step 8: Install new glazing beads
Before this step, you should look at the photos you took of your glazing beads. You should reinstall them in reverse order to the way you removed them.
While many glazing beads will pop back in place, you may need to use screws and a screwdriver to tighten the wooden trim in your door frame.
DIY vs Professional Glass Replacement
While some people prefer to do things themselves, replacing the glass of patio doors can be a difficult task. If you don’t install your glass properly, you could end up with much worse insulation and some leaks when the weather gets wet.
The glass in your sliding panel may even fall out and smash if it is not secured properly with glazing beads. Therefore, even if you don’t get a professional to install your glass for you, you should contact one to make sure that you did the job properly.
The Benefits Of Replacing Just The Glass
Patio doors can be expensive, so you shouldn’t buy a new door unless you really need to. Glass panels, on the other hand, are much cheaper, so they won’t cost that much to replace.
You can, therefore, save yourself quite a lot of money by purchasing a new glass panel. If you want to save even more money, you can install it yourself using the guide above.
Get a different type of glass
If your home isn’t well insulated, and you’d like to stay warm this winter, then you can replace your glass with a different type of glass.
If your door frame is thick enough, you may be able to install a double-glazed glass panel. This will keep your home much warmer and save you money on your heating costs.
Unfortunately, not all patio doors will be thick enough, so you may need to purchase a new door if you want double glazing.
Can you take the glass out of a sliding glass door?
Yes, removing the glass from patio doors is possible, but if you aren’t well-versed in DIY, you should leave it to a professional.
Otherwise, you could end up smashing glass everywhere and hurting yourself.
How much does it cost to replace patio door glass?
Replacing only the glass in patio doors is generally quite cheap, as it should only cost you around £170.
Replacing whole patio doors, on the other hand, is a lot more expensive and could cost you anywhere between £400 and £1500.
How long do patio doors last?
Patio doors can last for up to 30 years if they are looked after and well-maintained. This maintenance may require you to remove the door and clean the door patio door tracks to keep your door opening and closing smoothly.