What are the Different Types of Stained Glass Doors?

Susan Grindstaff
Susan Grindstaff
Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Stained glass doors are most commonly used for exterior entryways. These doors are usually constructed using wood frames with stained glass inserts. The inserts typically use different colors of cut glass that are put together with copper to form a design or scene. Some of these doors use true stained glass, while other use glass that is colored and designed to mimic stained glass. These doors are usually less expensive than true stained glass doors.

Constructing stain glass doors is usually a very time consuming process, particularly when using real stained glass. For this reason, stained glass inserts rarely cover more than the top portion of the door. The expense of stained glass doors with full inserts would be prohibitive for many homeowners, and could be considered impractical. Leaving the bottom portion of the door in wood makes sense in terms of maintenance. The bottom of the door is much more likely to become scratched or damaged, and wood is generally much easier to repair than any type of glass.

Most kinds of high end wood would be suitable for framing a stained glass door, however, choosing more durable wood generally makes for a sturdier door. Some woods often used for glass doors include teak, white oak, and mahogany. These varieties of wood are often used in shipbuilding, and they are well known for both their beauty and durability. Other woods that might work well include some types of hard pine, cherry, and birch.

Stained glass doors can usually be purchased directly from retailers, but many people prefer to have the doors custom made. They may have particular scenes in mind for the insert that are not available in ready-made doors. This type of construction is usually much more expensive than buying retail, but for some homeowners, it may be worth the added cost. With custom made doors, time is often an issue, as it may take an artist several weeks to complete the door and insert.

Sometimes stained glass doors can be framed with fiberglass or steel. This type of framing is sometimes less expensive than wood, and some consider these frames to be more durable. Typically, this type of door is available at most home improvement centers and building supply outlets. For buyers who are in the market for a custom made stained glass door, fiberglass or metal will be more difficult to purchase, as most stained glass artist prefer to work with wood framing.

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