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Beautiful Divided Lites & Grilles for Front Doors

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

If you want a bright and welcoming entry, and decorative glass isn’t really your style, there is still a great wide world of front door possibilities for you. Consider including lites with clear Low-E or obscured privacy glass as part of your door design! Whatever sort of home you have in mind, you will find a simple yet still completely fitting lite solution that elevates your façade.

Therma-Tru Classic-Craft American Style Collection

Based on the Craftsman aesthetic, this Classic-Craft® American Style Collection™ entry has a row of three simulated divided lites (SDLs) across the top section. Learn more about this door, and see the other lite pattern options, here.

True Divided Lites

Back in the day, divided lites were a necessity. Only small panes of glass could be produced, so craftsmen would put multiple together with wood muntins to create spans large enough for windows and doors. As you can imagine, with the increased amount of perimeter between the lites compared to that of a larger single pane, and with all the junctions between glass and wood, true divided lites lack when it comes to efficiency. That’s why you won’t see them offered much anymore.

Even if authentic multi-lite doors have fallen out of favor, their look has not! You’ll find ways to achieve the style you want with more affordable and efficient products now.

Therma-Tru Smooth-Star

This Smooth-Star® door has a sleek, modern-yet-classic look. It contributes plenty of light to the room with a 2 x 3 grid of SDLs in a ¾ opening, and the Chinchilla glass helps obscure the view inside. Check out different privacy glass options to see what suits your style!

Simulated Divided Lites

When you shop for divided lites these days, you’ll most often come across simulated divided lites, or SDLs. These come in a variety of shapes and grid patterns like true divided lites, but instead of having multiple pieces of glass, the whole opening is fitted with one. The grids are applied on both sides of the glass to create the appearance of panes held in place with muntins. This process is much simpler and less expensive to produce with modern technology.

You have your choice of fixed or removable grilles. If you opt for fixed, the grids will be adhered to both sides of the glass. Removable grilles are only removable on the inside—the exterior grid is still adhered to prevent loss/damage from the elements—so you can more easily clean the entire glass panel rather than doing it lite by lite. In either case, you can paint or stain the grilles to suit your style.

Therma-Tru Smooth-Star

This Smooth-Star® door has grilles between glass (GBGs) for its divided lites. That means the interior and exterior glass surfaces are smooth and easy to clean! This particular look with black grilles is favored for modern farmhouses, one of the most popular styles these days.

Grilles Between Glass

If you want the illusion of divided lites but aren’t tied to the more authentic look of SDLs with their visible dimension, you might consider grilles between glass, or GBGs. This option places the grid between the panes of glass rather than on the interior- and exterior-facing surfaces. From afar, you get the desired effect, but both sides will be completely smooth and simple to clean. Because the grilles are sealed between the glass, you have to choose what color you want when you order, along with whether you want the grid to have flat or contoured grilles.

Even if you’re sure you want SDLs, you might still want to add GBGs. All glass used on today’s homes is at least double-paned to meet efficiency standards; having the two layers with an air gap in the middle slows heat transfer. That also means, up close, you can see the gap between the SDL grids. By adding GBGs, a shadow will fill that space and the SDLs will look even more authentic.

Therma-Tru Fiber-Classic Oak Collection

Yes, these are SDLs, too! This pattern with thick, flat dividers is available on the Fiber-Classic® Oak Collection™, among others. There are plenty of bold divided lite designs perfect for helping modern and contemporary architecture stand out.

Unconventional Divided Lites

Perhaps you aren’t looking for a plain grid pattern? Well, SDLs come in a wider variety than you may think! As long as the entire door lite is one piece of glass, any pattern bestowed on it by adding panels will produce SDLs. These lites are a lot bolder in terms of style, because the would-be muntins are a lot thicker than what you’d have with a standard grid. The patterns are also more diverse—everything from simple bars across the width of the door, to X- and Z-brace options, to eclectic asymmetrical designs that bring SDLs into modern spheres they didn’t inhabit in the past. Any of these would be a great way to add a unique pop to your façade!

Whatever sort of door you’re looking for, check out what Therma-Tru® has to offer! They have collections of woodgrain and smooth paintable doors with divided lites of all kinds. Whether you want a small or full-door lite, you can add privacy glass to many of the options to obscure the view inside and diffuse the light coming in. Connect with a local dealer to see what they can do for you!