Asked on May 30, 2015

Older front door with plastic muntins

Debbie G.
by Debbie G.
I really need help! All my exterior doors are metal doors with the plastic muntins which are grids to make it look like window pane sections. I have severe sun and heat on all of them and over the years they are all broken apart in sections. They are too expensive to replace because they come with the glass panels. The muntins are on the outside and inside both and hold the glass in. They are not repairable that I know of and I need to do something to replace them. Any ideas? Is there a way to hold in the glass and remove the muntins? Thanks for any and all help!
It is broken in several places in the long strip sides and at the corners of the panes.
This door is not the worst, but has several breaks in the muntin.
  24 answers
  • Julie Julie on May 31, 2015
    Are you SURE they help hold the glass in? I would think the framing would be. I had them on windows and simply removed them - they were not structural.
  • Barb Barb on May 31, 2015
    My first attempt would be to glue the cracks to realign the pieces. Sand off excess glue, fill any gaps with caulk, then paint. Good luck!
  • Colette Johnston Colette Johnston on May 31, 2015
    You can purchase new grilles. Find out who the manufacturer of the door is and google it. There are also companies that sell DIY muntin kits - google that also. There is a lot of info online, or you could always ask at your local hardware store (FYI your door is probably steel and the muntins/grilles will be vinyl). Below is a link with instructions on how to replace them from This Old House. Have fun!!
  • Mehartgallery Mehartgallery on May 31, 2015
    Caulk and paint!!
  • Nancy Nancy on May 31, 2015
    I have worked with historical building preservationists. Several historic buildings have aluminum windows dating back to the 1930s. Get a good two part epoxy. Talk to your local hardware for the best one to use on Aluminum siding. Be cautious with this and follow the directions to the letter. Work quickly and do only small amounts at a time. If you have ever caulked windows, use the same techniques for repairs. Paint the entire window frame with a rust proof paint. Then final coat with a good outdoor paint. This may seem like a lot of work but it really isn't. Your patient efforts will be worth it and save you a ton of money. My suggestion would be to paint the muntins and the door all the same color. Take your time, do it in steps and then stand back and admire your New Doors.
  • JoAnna Cooper JoAnna Cooper on May 31, 2015
    I'd replace old door with a new one, solid no windows. You can always put a peep hole in a new solid door. They aren't that high and for security reasons, you just can't be to careful these days.
  • Jane Jane on May 31, 2015
    I agree with JoAnna, glass is too easy to break and come on in. Way too much heat or air conditioning is going out those glass panes, get a new door.
  • Derenda Derenda on May 31, 2015
    I agree with Julie. Are you SURE they are holding the glass in? My old door had plastic grills, too but there are little round covers to hide inset screws. Usually they are painted over and become difficult to see. If you find those, simply pop off the screw covers, unscrew them and the grills can be replaced. At least, this is how my older metal door is constructed. If your home improvement store doesn't carry them, they should be able to order them for you. Lowe's used to do this, but I haven't looked for them recently.
  • Judy Capone Mantell Judy Capone Mantell on May 31, 2015
    Kingsport has a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Go over there and get yourself a nice door for peanuts! I went to the one in San Carlos CA yesterday and bought beautiful Toto toilet just like the one I had paid over $400 on sale a few weeks ago. The one yesterday was $115! Beautiful and looks new. The huge ceramic laundry sink I bought was $80. I don't need any doors, but they had some that looked like they came from mansions. This place is wonderful and they have everything, so check it out!
  • Debbie G. Debbie G. on May 31, 2015
    Thanks to everyone for the answers. The muntins are plastic and can't be bent or repaired. I would like to replace them but there are two doors and a set of patio doors like this. Moisture has gotten in between the double glass in them too. But I lost my job and have no money to replace them. I called Lowes about four yrs. ago and they were $100 each door then. I was hoping someone had had the same problems and had a fix but I will check out the Habitat store. I really appreciate all of you helping me. Thanks!
    • See 1 previous
    • Mel De Farmer Mel De Farmer on Nov 24, 2018

      I have the exact problem!! Thank you so much for posting this. I am thinking I will use crazy glue on the breaks and put primer over and then use a semi gloss. I did that with the inside grille and it turned out fine. The outside one has so many cracks.

  • Jean DeSavage Jean DeSavage on May 31, 2015
    Check on line for a local Freecycle group. You can get things for FREE. I have seen people get cars and boats through freecycle. I'm sure you could get doors from there too.
  • JoAnna Cooper JoAnna Cooper on Jun 01, 2015
    Here where I live there is a program for low income households, Inca through Dept. of Human Services that for free will send a person to find out what it takes to make your house easier and more economical to heat and cool it. They will caulk, replace windows and screens, fix doors, etc. check out what is available in your area. Don't sit on your laurels about this your safety is at stake here. You got internet, go surfing.GL
  • Debbie G. Debbie G. on Jun 01, 2015
    JoAnna, thank you for your help. There is no help here like you are talking about. The state of TN does nothing to help it's people. It's a shame. I would like to replace the doors and get rid of all the glass but have no money. There are no jobs here either. My dad built the house and he put the doors in and now I am dealing with them. Maybe there will be an answer somewhere. God bless.....
  • Margaret Margaret on Jun 01, 2015
    You can purchase those frames at Home Depot at a very reasonable price
  • Shar Shar on Jun 01, 2015
    I think Nancy of Detroit may have the best solution for your problem - or a partial solution that is. If I understand right the frame of the muntin is metal? Filling in, sanding, and painting can't be too hard - just find the right products that work on your materials. I had wooden doors with the same problem but much easier to fill in, sand, and paint. Good luck, AND keep the charming doors!
  • Debbie G. Debbie G. on Jun 01, 2015
    Thanks to everyone for the answers. The muntins have no metal at all. They are all plastic. The extreme heat front and back have dried them out and made them distort and break in places.
  • Derenda Derenda on Jun 02, 2015
    Like Judy Capone Mantell said. You might try a Habitat for Humanity store. The one near me, in Texas, has gone from selling beautiful salvage at great prices to what looks like New construction leftovers.however, they did have a small selection of used doors. I got a beautiful exterior door exactly like what I was looking for for $19.00. I do need to trim off 3/4 inch and paint it, but that is easy enough to do. Great deal. Just take the measurements of your current door with you.
  • Kim Kim on Jun 16, 2015
    My French doors are similar to this. The frames do hold the glass in however, my glass is one piece instead of individual panes. The plastic frames just make it look like there are several panes. Those frames are replaceable; I would check at Lowe's or Home Depot; I believe I have seen replacements there before. Good luck.
    • Debbie G. Debbie G. on Jun 16, 2015
      Thank you Kim. Mine is the same with one double pain of glass. Three yrs ago Lowes was $100 for each door to replace. That would run me $500 and I can't afford that. I know it would be even more today. I was hoping someone would have an idea to replace the plastic with something else and cheaper.
  • Kim Kim on Jun 17, 2015
    Oh, wow. I didn't realize they were that expensive. With all the creative people here, hopefully someone will have an idea. Good luck.
  • Melissa Miles Melissa Miles on Jun 17, 2015
    Have you tried checking with your local machine shop? They might be able to make you something fairly inexpensive out of metal. I'm checking around for the small window on my front door. Same problem and there really is no point in putting plastic back since mine faces west and gets direct sun. I'll let you know what I find out.
  • Debbie G. Debbie G. on Jun 17, 2015
    Thank you both for the help. It isn't easy to find the answers. I appreciate any info and help. All my doors are east and west and get extreme heat. The plastic can't handle it.
  • Galen W. Yoder Galen W. Yoder on Sep 19, 2016
    Wow Debbie G., To bad your in Tn, and I'm in Ore. I have several of those panels, and even have a couple of the frames without the glass panels,(the glass had seal failure and fogged up), I'm a contractor and find it hard to through these things away, so if the door is damaged I pull the glass & frames out and have given a few customers an easy, inexpensive repair to their sun/UV damaged frames--(Yes we DO have sunshine in OR.!) I've even donated to my local Habitat for Humanity Restore, so you might check there 1st, just as Derenda suggested. Around the valley here, we have several warehouse stores that specialize in re-claimed doors & building materials, I would think you might have something the same, or maybe a contractor that specializes in door & window replacement. As for the removal of the frames, on the interior side of the frames there are small plastic plugs inserted over the screw hole locations. getting those out can be a challenge but it's doable with a sharp ice-pick type tool, or drilling a small hole in the center of the plug, inserting a small nail and working it loose. Once the plugs have been remove a phillips screw driver, or tip, you can remove the screws. The frames usually have a bead of caulk to seal them to the door surface, but if you use a good Hyde 5 way painters tool you can work the frame loose without damaging the surface of the door. (Some people including painters aren't familiar with the name 5way -- basically it is a much more ridgid tool than a putty knife, the end is a scraper,1 side has a flat square edge that can be used for opening paint cans, the other side has a V shaped tip that is great for removing caulking & digging out whatever, the side that has a square edge also has a round cut-out that is used to clean paint rollers by scraping the roller cover from one end to the other and can remove a great deal of excess paint in the event you want to save a roller cover. I've even seen some that have a hex shank location in the bottom of the handle to put different types of screw tips in to make a quick screw driver out of the handle--Avery versatile tool that should be in every DYI-ers tool collection!, Hyde & Red Devil are 2 of the better brands I use personally) If your worried about the glass panels falling out and your doing the project by yourself, wrap several bands of duct tape completely around the door making sure you overlap the ends of the tape 6 or 8 inches, for holding power and for a half lite window I would think 2 locations, 6" from the top and the same from the bottom and that will probably hold it well enough while you work the scraper into the frames and loosen them for removal. The ones I've removed, the outside panel had the double stick glazing tape holding the plastic frame to the glass, so take the inside off 1st and you'll see how easy it is to replace. When installing the new /replacement panels be sure to clean up the door contact surface and the frame for the new caulking that you should apply, atleast for the exterior panel. Just as a note for anyone that would like to spend the money to dress up their door, most of these panels are a compatible size, and you can order them with Stained,or leaded glass designs, Beveled glass, Glass panels with the blinds between the glass just to name a few! Lots of luck!
    • Debbie G. Debbie G. on Sep 19, 2016
      That's my problem too. Bad design for the doors. My dad put them in when it was built in 1995 so it is time to replace them but too expensive for me. I appreciate your response and it is a shame that they are so far away. But like you said, the windows are bad also. I will pray for a door replacement angel.... Lol. Just need a magic wand. Thank you so much for answering.