Some considerations for homeowners buying exterior doors with sidelights are the material used, the number of sidelights, the shape of the sidelights, the finish of the glass and overall energy efficiency. Before going shopping, a customer should measure the opening into which the door assembly will be installed and consider what style of door and sidelights will best complement his home.
Manufacturers make exterior entry units with single or double doors, an optional overhead transom, and with one or two sidelights, or none at all. The size of the entryway opening determines which configurations are possible.
Doors and sidelights are available in a variety of materials. Fiberglass mimics the appearance of genuine wood, but better stands up to changes in the weather, is resistant to insect infestation and requires little maintenance. Wood gives a unique appearance due to natural variations in grain and stain color and comes in a variety of species such as pine, mahogany, oak and cherry. Steel offers superior durability and strength.
There are a number of options in the glass used in sidelights. The glass can be different shapes, designs, colors and textures. It can be clear or opaque, and may have beveled edges or leaded inserts. Some glass includes low-emissivity coatings to help filter harmful UV rays that can fade upholstery and flooring. Tempered, impact-resistant glass helps muffle sound and resists shattering.