My home has an old exterior door that used to be the front entrance. An addition has made it obsolete and we never use it anymore. I want to convert it into a window. How can I do this in a way that looks nice?

My home has 30 year old vinyl siding on it, so finding an exact match was a no-go.

A Google search only yielded me the opposite scenario, window-to-door. Ideas with pictures would be awesome.

  • Please could you give us a picutre, some dimensions and what the wall is made of and the desired window you want to put in. It is a serious DIY job in any scenario.. so be prepared..
    – Piotr Kula
    Oct 19, 2012 at 15:35
  • @ppumkin - sorry no picture. Door is four feet up at the top of some concrete steps which I am going to take out. Door is a standard 30" w/ 1" trim on the outside.
    – mrtsherman
    Oct 19, 2012 at 19:26

1 Answer 1


You need to reframe this opening with a bottom plate, window sill, and cripples.

enter image description here

  1. Remove the existing door and trim all the way back to the header, jack studs, and subfloor.

  2. Install a new bottom plate on the subfloor with a foam weather stripping between to prevent drafts.

  3. Install cripple studs at 16" intervals that continue the stud spacing outside of your window framing. Locate a few studs to either side of the window frame with a stud finder and install the cripples at a continuation of this spacing. You also want one on each end of the sill, screwed into the jack studs. For now, only install the two cripples on each side.

  4. Install the sill on the cripples and screw it to each cripple and into the jack studs. Install the other cripple studs, ensuring that they are plumb and that any bowing is the same direction, preferably bowing out.

  5. Install an exterior sheathing over the new framing. This should be nailed about every 10" or so, more on the edges, and you can get away with smaller nails (I believe we only use 8 penny nails for this).

  6. Install a house wrap moisture barrier (e.g. Tyvek) and use a house wrap tape to seal it to the existing barrier.

  7. Install a rubber seal around the bottom of the window opening. It should overlap on top of the house wrap and extend up each side slightly.

  8. Install the new window. This should be sized for your rough opening, and you should have cut your cripples for the height of this window with an allowance for shimming the window and installing trim. Make sure the window is level and plumb. A new-install window will be screwed into the outside of the house while renovation windows are screwed into the side. I'd go for the new-install style if you have the space after removing the old door frame and trim.

  9. Install a rubber seal around the sides and top of the window starting the sides and then the top plate. You cut the top corners of the house wrap at 45 degree angles. The sides are installed top of the house wrap, but go underneath the cuts in the top corners. The seal goes under the vapor barrier at the top. This ensures that any water behind the siding runs way rather than into the house. Use house wrap tape to seal the cuts and top of the house wrap.

  10. Caulk any cracks or joints. Place insulation into the wall under the window, with a vapor barrier facing inside your home.

  11. Install drywall, mud and tape the seams. It's best if you avoid joints in the corners of the window, which you can do by cutting back the drywall to the next stud on each side.

  12. Install trim and siding on the outside. Caulk the edges and paint. Advice on what type of siding will go best falls into decorating advice (off-topic per the faq).

  13. Install a trim box around the window opening, loosely fill any spaces with insulation, and then install trim between the window box and drywall. Caulk and fill any nail holes.

  14. Sand and paint.

  • Thanks BMitch for the very detailed answer. I'm afraid I did not ask my question clearly though. I was really wondering how to decorate the outside. The lower half of the "door" can't be matched to the vinyl siding, but I don't want some ugly, funny looking hack in there. Anything decorative I can do to the outside to pretty it up?
    – mrtsherman
    Oct 19, 2012 at 19:14
  • Actually, rereading my question I see that the title of my post was way off. I have accepted your answer as it actually answers the question I asked, even if it isn't the one I thought I was asking =)
    – mrtsherman
    Oct 19, 2012 at 19:25
  • @mrtsherman Per our faq, decorating advice is off topic because it's subjective. There's no good answer to the decorating question, you either replace all the siding on that wall, put in some mismatched siding, or put in a patch that is completely different.
    – BMitch
    Oct 19, 2012 at 19:26

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