Your Guide To Adding Garage Door Windows Yourself

R&S Erection of Vallejo, Inc.

your guide to adding windows to an existing garage door

Are you tired of the monotonous aesthetic of a plain garage door style? In the design phases for a garage door facelift or renovation?

The Benefits Of Garage Door Windows

Rather than replacing the entire door, windows are an easy modification that enhances the door’s look as well as its function. Adding windows to your existing garage door no only affect the doors exterior appearance, well-installed garage door windows:

  • Add natural light that saves energy and utility spending during daytime hours
  • Make it easier to utilize the garage for hobbies, social gatherings, or as a game room
  • Enhances garage conversions such as in-law units, an additional rental opportunity or a man cave – making creating a more indoor/outdoor environment

Install Garage Door Windows Correctly

Your professional-level window installation is key to ensuring the windows achieve your overall goals, without compromising garage door safety, function, or security.

Step One: Decide which window style is best for your needs and architectural design

Ultimately, the installed garage door windows should complement your architectural design while also addressing your needs – lighting, upscale aesthetic, etc. There are several styles or designs to choose from. Your professional garage door installer can show you various examples and discuss the pros/cons of each to ensure the windows you select are the best ones for the job.

However, you also need to make sure the windows are customized to address certain functional features:

While installing garage door windows into an existing garage door can be a DIY project, we still recommend consulting with a professional garage door company to ensure you address all of the major bullet points associated with the job.

Step Two: Install a new lift system

If you’re installing new windows into a garage door that currently lacks windows, you’re inevitably going to need a new lift system. The large majority of today’s garage doors are intentionally designed to be light and easy to lift/close. Most spring systems are designed with only about a 5% variance in weight restrictions, so it doesn’t take much extra weight to create an imbalance. Ideally, garage doors are balanced such that they weight about eight- to ten pounds.

Glass is heavy and the additional weight associated with a string of window panels and that requires a substantial lift system to ensure the door opens/closes smoothly and can accommodate built-in safety features. The last thing you want is for the automatic door opener safety system to fail when it comes in contact with a family member or pet who gets in the way of its function.

Step Three: Decide on the right placement

Deciding which panel to remove for your window installation typically depends on the reason you’re adding window panels. Most garage doors have four panels, and we count them from the ground to the top. When the garage door is in the closed position, Panel 1 touches the ground/floor, while Panel 4 is the one at the top of the door.

  • Optimizing daylight: The higher up the windows, the more light can get in. If daylighting is your main purpose, install windows in Panel 4 – at the very top of the garage.
  • Optimizing privacy and security. Similarly, if someone will be living or staying in the garage conversion, or you don’t want passersby to see everything stored in the garage, Panel 4 or Panel3 is the best choice – depending on the slope of the driveway and visibility into the garage.
  • Creating a more indoor/outdoor feel. If you’re planning to use the garage as an office, your hobby spot, or a place to hang out with family and friends, you may prefer to place the panels in Panel 3, where insiders benefit from natural light, but also have a better view of the outside world.

Step Four: Purchasing and installing the garage door windows

Here’s a general outline of the steps involved when adding garage door windows.


  • Measuring tape
  • Blue or colored masking tape
  • Pencil
  • Jigsaw
  • Screwdriver
  • Waterproof caulk
  • A Rag

Measure the panel. Take accurate measurements of the panel where the windows will be installed. The windows must fit exactly – and can never exceed these measurements.

Mark the opening of the window. The back of the window goes inside the garage, while the front attaches directly to the garage door panel. Therefore, the opening you’ll cut out of the panel has to be big enough for the back of the window to fit. Measure the back and then draw its dimensions on the panel using a pencil. Remember the contractor’s golden rule: Measure twice, cut once. Use colorful masking tape to highlight the cut marks and use the inside line as a guide.

Use a jigsaw to make the cut: Use your jigsaw to follow the inside of the masking tape guide and make the cut. Be extra cautious. If you cut the hole too big for the window, you will have wasted the effort and will have to make unfortunate adjustments (new windows or new panel…)

Caulk the window edges. Weatherproof caulk is essential to sealing your garage door from the elements, preventing water infiltration and keeping the garage more airtight during the cooler months. Run the caulk around the edges of the window before installing it into your freshly cut hole. Carefully place and secure the window in the hole and use your rag to wipe away excess caulk around the edges.

Attach the window back(s). Most window backs are screwed to the front, but not necessarily. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions and attach the back of the window securely.

Let Us Help You

Congratulations! You’ve just completed the installation of your new garage door windows. Does something look a little off? Is your garage door not opening/closing well now that the windows are in place? Not sure you want to tackle this project on your own? Give us a call here at R&S in Vallejo, (707) 644-5537, and we’ll send a professional door installer over to give you a hand.