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Guide to Door Lite and Side Lite Inserts

Guide to Door Lite and Side Lite Inserts

The surround insert in a door panel or side lite is a full 3-piece component, consisting of exterior moulding, interior moulding (both of which make up the lite frame, or rim) and glass sandwich. Over the course of time, usually due to heat absorption, many plastic lite frames crack and need to be replaced.

There are 2 options:
  1. The entire surround component, glass and frame, can be replaced.
  2. The glass frame can be replaced and original glass retained for reuse.

There are 4 requirements:

When replacing a surround, 4 measurements must be noted to order the correct replacement:
  1. Tip-to-Tip: Basic width and height of outside edge of plastic frame
  2. Glass Size: Basic height and width of glass within surround (not just visible glass); call size
  3. Glass Thickness: Thickness of inslated glass unit (glass sandwich)
    • Typically either 1/2" or 1"
    • If only replacing frame but not glass, you need to purchase a frame requiring the same glass size and thickness or the surround will not fit in the cut-out properly.

Glass thickness insert side lite

  1. Cut-Out Size: Basic height and width of cut-out in door or side lite for surround
    • Typically between 1" and 1-1/4" bigger than glass size

Measurements of Surrounds


This article deals with Therma-Tru brand lites. We can sell these as full components with glass included or just the door lite frame -- no glass. Our stock currently consists of five standard; lite frames are white composite and glass is 1/2" thick and clear without embellishment. Frames are paintable, although we advise against painting frames dark colors, as dark colors can cause frame to absorb more heat and crack over time.

Standard sizes (call sizes) that we stock are listed below; all are in inches:

  • 8 x 36
  • 7 x 64
  • 20 x 36
  • 22 x 36
  • 20 x 64
  • 22 x 64

*Note: Other sizes, frames and embellishments are available for special order upon request. All leaded glass surrounds come with glass thickness of 1"

For detailed installation instructions, see Replacing Glass Surrounds.
For video on removing Therma-Tru sidelites and door lites, see How to Remove Therma-Tru Door Lite and Sidelite Inserts

Click below to download your own printable guide from All About Doors & Windows to guide you in your door lite adventure.

Guide to Door Lite and Side Lite Inserts

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