Home Town's Double Window Reno Is Adaptable For Many Spaces

Allowing natural light to flow into your home helps create a bright, illuminated space. Getting good natural light in a room has plenty of benefits both for the aesthetic of your space as well as for your own health. That's why it's hard to completely get rid of a window, even if it's not necessarily working in the space. Luckily, Erin and Ben Napier have a solution that is more functional but still allows for natural light to flow into the home.

The two decide to swap the bulky windows for a double French door that leads out onto the deck. "The entire space that these windows are occupying is coming out," Erin Napier says in the 6th episode of season 6 of HGTV's "Home Town." "We're filling that with double doors." The new doors lead from the dining room out to the new "party porch." The large deck on the side of the house creates a stunning space for entertaining and using French doors to access it connects the interior and exterior of the home.

Plus, you're not giving up any light by removing a window. "We aren't just putting in some rinky-dink, normal French doors," Napier continues. "These are huge." This renovation swap is also a good choice financially because you don't have to cut into the wall to make a new door hole. After removing the windows and the portion of the wall beneath it, you can install the door right in the hole left behind.

Cost to convert a window to a door

The cost of materials, labor, and installation are factors for the final cost of a window-to-door conversion. On average, the prices can range from $500 to $3,800. However, this is just the cost of a standard replacement. The window Erin and Ben Napier removed from their clients' house was already wide, so adding double French doors didn't require any more construction. However, if you have a single window and want to replace it with double- or triple-wide doors, you'll have to widen the opening, which will be an extra expense. Similarly, opting for a custom door design or luxury material can also make the initial figure increase.

One of the major factors of the cost is what kind of patio door you choose for your home. The Napiers opted for double French doors, which can cost between $600 to $5,800, depending on the materials and design of the doors. Sliding glass doors is another common option, which can cost between $1,300 to $6,000. Other factors that can impact the cost of the door itself are the material and amount of glass. For example, solid wood can cost more than fiberglass, while metal varieties, such as steel, aluminum, and wrought iron, tend to be the most expensive options.

Replacing the exterior material also factors into the price. Siding can cost about $10 per square foot, while brick runs between $2 and $6 per square foot. However, this project won't require a ton of exterior materials.

Converting a window to a door

Erin and Ben Napier showed it's possible to convert a window into a door with relative ease. They were able to replace the old large window with a door of the same size. Their project didn't seem to have run into issues with plumbing or electrical systems or structural challenges. These can make a relatively easy project a little more complicated.

This also means converting a window to a door isn't a DIY project. You'll want to hire a contractor or door installation expert to ensure the conversion is possible before removing anything. Depending on the location of the window, there is still a chance of having to deal with plumbing and electrical. Because of that, you may need to hire professionals to move these systems out of the way of the new door. It's best not to attempt electrical projects without a professional.

You'll also need to take into consideration whether the wall in question is load-bearing when turning a window into a door. This is especially true if you're swapping a smaller window for a larger door. There is a good chance the header will need reinforcing for the load to accommodate the larger opening. In older homes, the header may need to be replaced. Also, structural change like this often requires a permit. 

Effects on the interior and exterior

Windows are visible on both the interior and exterior of a home. So, of course, a window-to-door conversion will affect both as well. Erin and Ben Napier replaced the window with a door of a similar size, but that won't be the case for all conversions. Depending on the size of the hole left behind and the size of the new door, you may have to fill in or create more space. If the door you add is smaller than the original window, you'll have to add insulation inside the wall and drywall to the interior of the home. It can also mean having to match siding or brick. Brick can be particularly challenging to find an exact match. However, it's most important to try to match size, as color can be changed by staining the brick to match the existing facade.

The original window being smaller than the new door creates a more involved project. You'll have to cut a larger hole into the wall and exterior facade to accommodate the door size. By removing wall portions, you're more likely to run into electrical and plumbing systems. You may also have to replace the header to readjust the load. Removing the wall and exterior facade may also require the skill of a trained professional. So, going larger can result in a more costly project but a final product that brings in tons of natural light and easy access outside. Well-worth it for many people.