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Glass-block doors made easy

Acrylic-block door inserts can be retrofitted into existing doors

• Manufactured by Hy-Lite
• 800-655-9087; www.hy-lite.com
• Cost of insert for 32-in.-wide interior door: $523

Glass-panel doors are a great way to bring light into closets, hallways, or bathrooms. But these luminous doors are heavy and expensive, and they typically need to be installed in a reinforced frame. Hy-Lite has an easier take on the same concept: lightweight acrylic-block inserts that can be retrofitted into existing doors.

Designed to be user friendly, the two-piece insert arrives assembled and includes a paper template (which you place over the door to mark the cutlines) and thorough instructions with color photos. Once the opening is cut, screw the unit in place through pilot holes in the aluminum frame. The fasteners are then concealed with an included strip of vinyl trim.

Block inserts are available to fit both interior and exterior doors, frame-and-panel or flat, hollow core or solid. Acrylic blocks are light enough for the door to operate easily, and it can be installed in the existing jamb without additional reinforcement. Because the inserts are made from 6-in. by 6-in. blocks, not all sizes are possible. But you can use Hy-Lite’s online design tool to plug in the dimensions of your door and then choose from a list of compatible insert options.

If you tweak the design, you’ll see the changes in price before you enter your credit-card information and have the insert shipped to your door. Try that at a lumberyard or home center.

Top photo by: Krysta S. Doerfler; bottom photo Courtesy of Hy-Lite
From Fine Homebuilding195 (Houses) , pp. 34