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How to do a Door-to-Window Conversion

Got a door that gets little usage? Why not turn it into a window?

Materials and Tools:

Before: Behind the bookshelves, this office has a door that opens to the outside, but there's no longer a porch or landing on the exterior.

1 sheet 1/2" a/c plywood
16 feet of wood trim
6 8-foot 2x4's
1 sheet 1/2" drywall
1 roll R13 insulation
builder’s shims
paint and painting supplies
power miter saw
reciprocating saw
drywall tools
level
measuring tape
pencil
safety glasses

Steps:

Replacing the essentially non-functional exterior door with a window will make the home more secure and will enhance the look of the room by letting in more natural light. Following are the basic steps in the project:

1. Remove the old door, and carefully remove all interior and exterior trim. We worked from the top down to avoid disturbing the existing header.

2. The threshold was removed, but the original door sill was also left in place since it caps the floor joists underneath. Removing it would necessitate additional work on the exterior to keep the area watertight.

3. With the door and trim removed, measure down and mark each side of the opening for the window sill plate.

4. Cut and install jack studs to hold the sill in place. We installed the support studs 16 inches on-center.

5. With frame and support for the window built, install 1/2" plywood on the outside and place insulation in the area between the panels.

6. Install drywall on the inside.

Note: We weren't able to match the house’s original siding exactly so, on the exterior, we opted to put a decorative panel beneath the window.

7. Stain the window. Allow the stain to cure fully, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once the stain has dried, set the window in place, shimming it plumb and level.

8. Once the window is plumb and level in the frame, secure it in place with nails.

9. With the window installed, stain the interior molding. Paint the interior wall and the exterior panel to complete the project.

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