How to Add Windows to Existing Garage Doors

Tired of your garage feeling like a dim, dingy cave? If so, it’s time to let some sunshine in!

We’re here to tell you how to add windows to existing garage doors, in detail. Installing these is a great way to turn this often-neglected space into a brighter, more inviting area. Not only will it bring in natural light, but it will also improve ventilation and bridge the gap between a garage and a home.

Don’t worry, adding windows to a door doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right approach and instruments, you can easily DIY this and reap the perks of a brighter, more functional garage. Let’s get into it!

Fixed GlassLet in light but don't openImproves light, maintains privacy and security, classic look
AwningOpen outward from the bottomProvides light, ventilation, suitable for storage or workspace
SlidingSlide horizontally on a trackMost versatile, opens up space, creates bright and airy feel
VentilatedHave built-in vents or louversProvides airflow, ideal for humid areas or storing moisture-sensitive items

Can you put a window to your garage door?

The answer to that is yes, of course you can. Forget the dark and dusty stereotype! Windows can bathe your garage in natural light, instantly making a more welcoming and appealing atmosphere. Beyond aesthetics, they can enhance practicality. They boost ventilation, bringing fresh air and decreasing moisture build-up. Plus, strategically placed windows present a view of the garage interior, potentially deterring unwanted activity.

Generally, with enough supplies and effort, you can actually make it a little DIY project for yourself. But before embarking on the project, it’s crucial to assess your garage door’s structural integrity and whether it can accommodate the additional weight of the windows. If you have any doubts, it’s always best to consult a pro to ensure the project is done safely and correctly

If you are not comfortable installing windows in your garage door yourself, you can always hire a professional to do it for you.

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Are windows in a garage a good idea?

Adding windows to your garage door offers a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Natural Light Enhancement: Strategically positioned windows flood the garage with natural light, enhancing functionality and fostering a welcoming ambiance. Reduce your carbon footprint, one kilowatt at a time, with natural lighting.
  • Improved Ventilation: They can provide much-needed ventilation, especially during hot or humid weather. This can help prevent moisture buildup and the growth of mold or mildew.
  • Enhanced Security: They can make potential intruders think twice before targeting your garage.
  • Increased Curb Appeal: Strategic utilization of lighting and maintenance within the garage space can foster a cohesive aesthetic harmonizing with the broader architectural language of the property.

Considerations When Adding Windows

Before starting on, it’s vital to evaluate several aspects:

  • Door Structure: Assess the structural integrity of your door to ensure it can safely support the added weight of the windows.
  • Placement: Choose the location of the windows carefully, considering both aesthetic appeal and functionality. Avoid placing them in areas that would obstruct access to vehicles or equipment.
  • Weatherproofing: Ensure they are sealed to deter water infiltration and potential damage to your garage door.

Can you put a window in a garage without planning permission?

The need for planning permission for garage renovations varies across the US, depending on local zoning ordinances and building codes. In general, simple window replacements or additions to the front face of your garage may not require formal approval. However, modifications to the side or rear walls or those that significantly alter the appearance of your garage may necessitate permission.

To ensure compliance with local regulations, it’s crucial to consult with your local planning department or zoning office. They can provide specific guidance tailored to your property and the proposed window installation.

Understanding Exemptions and Exceptions

Always check with local authorities, but there are some situations where you might not need planning permission. These exceptions usually apply to:

  1. Small-Scale Alterations: Windows that are relatively small in size (typically less than 24 sq ft) may not require formal approval, especially if they are installed on the front face of the garage.
  2. Harmonious Integration: Windows that subtly fit your architectural style are less likely to be viewed as a major change, potentially bypassing the need for permission.
  3. Minimal Impact on Neighbors: Windows that prioritize privacy and do not significantly impact the privacy of neighboring properties may not require formal approval.
  4. Compliance with Building Codes: As long as the proposed window installation adheres to all applicable building codes and safety standards, permission may not be necessary.

Consulting with Neighbors for a Harmonious Addition

While it may not always be mandatory, it’s always a good practice to maintain open communication with your neighbors, especially if the window installation involves modifications to the side or rear walls of your garage. This courtesy can prevent any potential conflicts and ensure a harmonious addition that complements your neighborhood’s aesthetics.

Check also: 11 Best Garage Door Brands

Types of garage door window frames

Garage door windows come in a dazzling array of styles and materials, fitting any taste and budget. Some of the most common ones include:

Fixed Glass Windows:

These let the daylight pour in without compromising safety or privacy, ideal for garages used for hobbies or preserving a classic aesthetic.

Awning Windows:

They bring in sunshine and fresh air simultaneously, making them ideal for storage-laden garages or creating a breezy workspace.

Sliding Windows:

They are more than just a practical addition; they can transform it into a bright, airy workspace or even an extension of your living space. Here’s why you should consider them:

Ventilated Windows:

These incorporate vents or louvers that allow for airflow without affecting security. They are ideal for areas with high humidity or where ventilation is essential. Also, it’s a nice option for places that are used for storing items that are sensitive to moisture, such as antiques or musical instruments.

How much does it cost to add windows to your garage door?

The answer, unfortunately, is that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. A singular price tag for garage window installation is elusive, as a diverse array of factors collectively influence the final expense.

Factors Affecting the Cost

Here are some of the main factors to think of:

  • Type: It will have a significant impact on the overall cost. Fixed ones are the least expensive option, while awning, sliding, and skylight holes are more expensive.
  • Size: Larger ones will cost more than smaller windows. The larger it is, the more glass and framing you’ll need, which will increase the overall cost of the project.
  • Material: Vinyl windows are typically the most affordable option, while wood windows are the most expensive.
  • Labor Costs: Labor costs can vary depending on the complexity of the installation and the experience of the installer.

Have a look at: Garage Door Replacement Costs (7 Examples)

Average Costs

As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $1K per window for fixed windows, $300 to $2K for awning ones, $500 to $3K for sliding ones, and $1K to $5K for skylight windows.

DIY or Professional Installation

For the seasoned DIYer, installing garage door windows can be a satisfying project if you possess the necessary skills and meticulous preparation. But you may still consider enlisting a professional. Their expertise can navigate the complexities and ensure a flawless, secure installation.

For a pro installation, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $1,5K per piece.

Return on Investment

Investing in garage door windows can yield a positive return, as their aesthetic and functional benefits contribute to increased property valuation. According to a recent study by Remodeling magazine, the average return on investment for adding windows is 73.2%. Not bad, isn’t it?

How to add a window to a garage door

In case you’ve decided to do it manually, here’s a little guide on what you’ll need to do.

Step 1: Secure the Garage Door Panel. Use locking pliers to fasten the panel to the tracks, preventing it from moving during the installation process.

Step 2: Measure and Mark the Window Openings. Mark the desired locations for the windows on the selected garage door panel using a pencil and measuring tape. Ensure the markings are level and aligned with the panel’s framework.

Step 3: Cut the Window Openings. Using a saw, carefully cut out the marked openings on the garage door panel. Take your time and make sure the cuts are precise and smooth.

Step 4: Attach the Window Frames. Apply a generous amount of caulk around the edges of each frame. Carefully slide the frames into the corresponding openings, ensuring they fit snugly and are aligned with the panel’s framework. Secure them using screws, ensuring they are level and firmly attached.

Step 5: Install the Inner Panes. Carefully slide the inner panes into their respective slots within the frames. Secure them using the provided clips or screws.

Step 6: Apply Sealant and Clean Up. This will prevent water infiltration and enhance the overall weatherproofing of your garage door. Use rags to wipe off any excess sealant.

Step 7: Reattach the Panel and Rebalance the Door. Once the sealant has dried completely, carefully reattach the garage door panel to the tracks, using the same locking pliers. Rebalance the door by adjusting the spring tension accordingly.

Tips for a Successful Installation

  • Use a high-quality saw to make precise and clean cuts.
  • Wear safety glasses and gloves to protect yourself from debris and sharp edges.
  • Work in a well-lit area to ensure accurate measurements and cuts.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for your specific window type.

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Can you buy windows for a garage door?

The good news is that you absolutely can purchase windows specifically designed for garage doors. These are crafted with durability, security, and functionality in mind, ensuring a seamless integration into your garage’s structure. And there are several aspects to think of here:

  • Size and Placement: Pick ones that fit the scale of your garage and avoid obstructing access to vehicles or equipment. Consider placing them strategically to optimize natural light and ventilation.
  • Privacy: If it is a concern, opt for frosted or tinted glass, or windows with louvers or vents to maintain privacy. Ensure that all of them are properly secured to prevent unauthorized entry.
  • Maintenance and Durability: Select those made from materials that can withstand the elements, such as durable vinyl or aluminum frames and tempered or laminated glass. Consider low-maintenance options that require minimal cleaning.
  • Safety: Look for pieces with safety features such as impact-resistant glass or safety locks to protect against accidental breakage or forced entry.

Where to Buy Garage Door Windows

Numerous retailers offer windows specifically designed for garage doors. Home improvement stores, such as Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Menards, often have a wide selection of windows to pick from. You can also find windows from specialty window companies and online retailers.

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