Cutting A Hole In A Sliding Glass Door—Is It Possible?

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Sliding glass doors are a great addition to any home. They allow for greater traffic flow, are easy to operate, and offer increased durability. However, what should you do if you need to cut a hole through the sliding glass door?

The glass used in sliding glass doors is often tempered, making it impossible to cut without shattering. If you need to drill a hole through the sliding door, you’ll have to drill the frame instead of the glass. Consider hiring a pro to ensure the best results and avoid damage to the door.

A sliding patio door allows ample natural sunlight into the house because of its large glass panes. It also helps save door-swinging space in compact rooms. Sliding door designs are pet friendly and compatible with pet doors of different sizes for added convenience.

What Type of Glass is Sliding Doors Made from?

Empty sliding glass front door at the airport

Like other building features that use glass, such as windows, doors, and skylights, sliding doors can be made with various types of glass. The most popular include tempered glass, reflective glass, double pane, and solar-controlled glass doors.

Tempered Glass

Also known as safety glass, tempered glass is the most common glass material used in sliding doors. Tempered glass shatters into tiny bits when it breaks, unlike large shards of conventional glass that could cause serious injuries.

Reflective Glass

A unique coating on reflective glass reflects the sun’s rays away, reducing the amount of light that may enter a home. You can maintain the living room at a comfortable temperature while also reducing energy costs by installing double or triple-glazed glass on your sliding door.

Solar-Controlled Glass

Solar-controlled glass patio doors enhance energy efficiency and create comfortable living environments in extreme temperatures. In addition, the solar glass’s ability to reflect the sun’s rays reduces solar heat gain.

That means you can keep the indoor temperature comfortable without straining your HVAC system. In addition, the solar-controlled glass reduces heat loss in the winter, so you can keep your house warm while taking in the breathtaking scenery outside.

Home interiors benefit significantly from the addition of natural light and glass furnishings. Sliding glass doors are a great way to modernize your home while saving space and reducing noise.

But ensure to pick out the best material for your sliding glass doors. You should choose a versatile material that doesn’t require much upkeep and can be shaped in various ways.

Can You Cut into a Sliding Door Without Shattering it?

No. Most sliding doors for homes are made from tempered glass or toughened glass. This means if we try to cut through the sliding door, it will shatter into many pieces.

Tempered or toughened glass is a reinforced safety glass that offers increased durability and strength. The tempering process includes chemical and thermal treatments on the glass during manufacturing.

Tempering results in internal stress distribution so that when the glass gets struck by a heavy object, it crumbles off in chunks rather than shattering into sharp and jagged splinters. As a result, the granules are small and less sharp, reducing the risk of injury.

Can You Drill into a Glass Door?

Repairman in the office

Tempered glass is compressed on the outside and compacted in the middle to avoid severe injuries when it breaks. However, you cannot drill a hole in tempered glass.

Attempting to drill tempered glass would cause the glass to shatter as soon as the drill bit comes into contact with it. If you need a hole in your tempered glass, the manufacturer must do the drilling before the tempering process.

Standard Glass

Drilling a hole into untempered glass or mirrors is simple, but you must use a carbide bit (on Amazon) manufactured specifically for glass and tiles. These drill bits are available at most home centers that sell drilling accessories and ceramic tile tools.

  • Since glass is extremely smooth, the bit may want to wander as you begin drilling. Tape a small piece of dense cardboard to the glass to give the bit a foothold and a better grip.
  • Start drilling at a very low revolutions per minute (rpm) setting to create a dimple in the glass, then remove the cardboard and continue drilling at around 400 rpm. If drilling on a horizontal surface, consider pouring oil on the area.
  • Because pressing too hard will break the glass, ensure the glass is firmly supported on the backside and use very light pressure when drilling.

Note: The bit will create a clean hole on the side it enters in but often chips the edges on the other side.

Should You Do it Yourself or Hire a Pro?

Although hiring a pro is costlier than doing it yourself, drilling or cutting glass is often risky and requires much skill and attention. So it would be best to hire a professional for the project for added safety.

The drilling process can produce glass dust, which is very dangerous. Take ample safety measures to keep glass dust off your skin and ensure you don’t breathe it in.

Safety Tips to Keep in Mind

If you decide to do it yourself, remember that drilling or working with glass is hazardous. Ensure to wear protective equipment at all times, including:

The constant flow of water will help wash away the dust for added safety.

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