Glass swinging door in a bungalow?

artemis78May 25, 2010

We're about to start a kitchen remodel, and I happened to find a great door for our space at our local salvage yard. However, we have two doors to replace: our patio door, which is currently a 12-lite glass wooden door that leaks like crazy, and our swinging door, which was cut down by a previous owner to clear kitchen flooring that we're taking out.

The new door is a 9-lite Craftsman-style door, full glass. The glass is tempered but not double-paned, which was what we'd originally planned to get for the exterior door. The door itself is fir. Our door jambs are all exactly the same size, so it would fit either doorway. No holes are drilled in it at all right now. (It's a new, never installed door.)

So, my question....clearly we could use it for the exterior door, but would it work equally well for the swinging door? I'd love to have glass there in order to see through, but just can't tell how safe/smart that is. It will be open 90% of the time, and is only closed on rare occasions when we are closing the kitchen space off, so I also like the idea of having a door that will be less imposing in the space. Will tempered glass be enough to make this work, and can you drill a standard door to be a swinging door? (We have all of the hardware on the current door, so we're in good shape there.) Has anyone seen a swinging door that's full glass? (I know there are some with little windows, but this guy is floor-to-ceiling glass.)

FWIW, the house is a 1915 California bungalow and the current doors in both spaces are original to the house.

Would love thoughts on whether this would work and which space this door is a better candidate for---thanks!

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Can? You can have anything you want. Should? That's a whole other question.

It sounds like an awesome idea.

Things that would worry me:

1. What are you naturally going to be pushing against. Obviously you will mean to be pushing against the frame around the glass, but is this natural or something you will have to be thinking about when you swing the door open.

2. Do you have kids, of any age.

3. How is the door being stopped when it accidently gets pushed open hard.

4. Is it just tempered glass or is is tempered safety glass.

As far as drilling the door, the swinging action is produced by the double hinge assembly so this should pose no problem at all.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 10:02PM
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Thanks! Let's see:

1) I think it would be okay for this---we plan to have a push plate on one side and handle on the other, and the frame around the glass is 5.5" wide so there's some good space there.

2) Not yet, but we will likely have young children around it (which is actually one of the reasons for wanting the glass, though I know it's also a concern---we decided not to open the kitchen to the dining room, but would like visibility between them).

3) The current door hinge stops the door itself, so it "clicks" into place when you push it open---I think it would do this no matter how hard you pushed it. There is a wall behind it, though, so we could potentially put a stop there as well. Post-renovation we will only open it into the kitchen (vs. into the dining room). We rarely if ever use it as a true swinging door (coming through and letting it close behind you)---it's typically either open or shut (when it's shut, it's either to contain kitchen smells and steam/smoke or to contain a dog)

4) I *think* it is tempered safety glass---the salvage yard wasn't sure, however. The door is new, though, and safety glass would be common for a glass door, from the people we've talked to about getting one made. Still, it would be an unknown!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 11:41PM
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I think if you look closely enough at the glass, somewhere on it should be etched the kind of tempered glass it is. Down in some corner.

If post renomvation, you will only open it INTO THE KITCHEN, and not be a swinger, then I'm assuming you will always pull it back and leave it while you are carrying hot pots thru to the dining room?

And if the time comes when you do have toddlers around who could bang baseball bats and such at it, you can always put a protective sheet of Lexan on either side to keep a tragic event from occuring.

I'm a great believer in interior glass doors. I've used single french doors on our study, on two bedrooms (with curtains also) and now on a small bathroom--with the glass frosted.

I'd buy the door, whether it goes in the swinging spot, or some other place. If the fir is not exposed to the weather, like it gets no really high temps and late evening sun, it would last as an exterior door. But make sure it is double glazed and preferable low=e glass. Save that door for a future use on an interior space if you don't use it in the current two places. It sounds lovely.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 12:05AM
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Thanks---I did go ahead and buy it (had to decide by the end of today!) so we'll see where it winds up....but I'm liking the swinging door option a lot right now. I'll update when we decide!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 12:47AM
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I'd much rather have a swinging door with glass so I could see what's on the other side before pushing it. So, thumbs up there!

As an exterior option, I like doors with glass lights, but then there's always the security concern: it's easy to enter the house by smashing a pane, and then operating the locks by sticking your hand through. All of my exterior doors have this liability. So far so good (last year's burglar decided the window was easier), but it's another consideration. We are thinking about putting in deadbolts with holiday keys to partially combat this problem. But then there's the issue of keyed deadbolts being against fire code--for good reason. So I've sort of done nothing so far.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 7:42AM
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Thanks---yes, our current back door is also a full glass door, and we actually put a double deadbolt on it when we moved in. Our city allows it, but many don't---and I have to say that I'm seriously contemplating just putting a standard lock on the new door. For starters, seems like a burglar isn't going to discover you have a double deadbolt until after the glass is broken anyway, at which point they're pretty committed to coming in. We also have two big windows next to it, which would be just as easy as far as getting anything of size out (the other argument for a double deadbolt being that the burglar then can't open the door to leave with things), and more importantly, most of what we have of value in the house is small and pocket-sized anyway.

More of an issue for us, though, is that we are frequently hunting for the key if it hasn't been put back on the hook, which is irritating (and could potentially be unsafe in a fire, though it's less of an issue for our home because all of our windows are large and open directly onto the ground, so it's pretty simple to open and crawl out of one).

So if you're happy with your current lock, I say don't worry about the double deadbolt...not a clear winner on that front, I think.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 12:13PM
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