What To Do With Old Sliding Glass Doors? (Here's What You Can Do)

Jennifer Eggerton
by Jennifer Eggerton

Replacing sliding glass doors gives your patio area an updated look. You can install French doors, slide and stack doors, and top-hung doors. The end result looks great, but now you have some old sliding glass doors laying around.

Sell or salvage your old sliding glass doors. Recycle them, or donate them to a local non-profit. Use them for a greenhouse, or make solar energy panels for your home. Use old sliding glass doors as shower doors, closet doors, armoires, and table tops. Build a sunroom, or make a cold frame for plants in the winter.

Before you add your sliding glass doors to the local landfill, taker some time to consider other options for what to do with old sliding glass doors.

Do You Need a Window and Door Contractor?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

What Are Sliding Glass Doors Made Of?

Sliding glass doors have simple designs that are made from some very usable materials. The frames are steel, wood, stainless steel, or aluminum. Some sliding glass doors have frames made from PVC plastic. Your old sliding glass doors may also some vinyl parts. These materials can be recycled.

Tempered glass is used for sliding glass doors. Also known as safety glass, it breaks in small pieces. Unfortunately, tempered glass cannot be recycled. The glass is made with coatings and chemicals to make it break in a certain way. These additives interfere with the recycling process. The resultant glass is not very strong.

How to Sell Old Sliding Glass Doors

Online marketplaces are great for offering your old sliding glass doors for sale. People who are renovating their homes for affordable glass doors that are in good condition. You can also sell the hardware from your old sliding glass doors, such as the handles, locks, and other parts. Old sliding glass door rollers are in high demand. The small wheels easily break always need replacement.

Donate Your Old Sliding Glass Doors

Check around your local community for non-profit organizations that build and renovate homes. They may be interested in your old sliding glass doors if they are in good condition. They may also want the spare parts.

Salvage Your Old Sliding Glass Doors

Thrift shops and salvage yards are the “go-to” places for people who are looking for bargains. Check with them to see if they will take your old sliding glass doors.

8 Ways to Repurpose Your Old Sliding Glass Doors

Old sliding glass doors can be repurposed for use inside and outside your home.

1. Greenhouse

Build a greenhouse with your old sliding glass doors. The tempered glass lets in natural light for your flowers, vegetables, herbs, and other plants. Use a single sliding glass door for a smaller greenhouse, or use several sliding glass doors for a full-size greenhouse.

For the smaller version, build a wood box that is the same width and length as the sliding glass door. The height of the frame should be at level that makes it easy for you to work the garden. Line the bottom of the box with gravel, and fill it in with soil. Attach the sliding glass door to the top with hinges.

For a larger greenhouse, you’ll build the frame to be the same height as the sliding glass door. Ideally, each side of the greenhouse should be at least wide enough for two sliding glass doors. Secure the glass doors to the frame, and add a wooden roof.

2. Shower Doors

Old sliding glass doors are the perfect size for enclosing your shower. You’ll use a similar track system with one door secure in place, and the second door slides along a track with rollers. You may be able to salvage other parts from your old sliding glass door for this project.

3. Table Top

An old sliding glass door makes a perfect table for a small dining room. Have a local metal shop build a frame with legs. Secure the glass to the frame with clear epoxy glue.

4. Closet Doors

Tempered glass is good for closet doors. Use the glass for barn doors, or mount them in hinges. The design is best for rooms where you need to see what is inside without opening the door, such as in your home office or pantry.

5. Armoire

Use an old sliding glass door for the front of an armoire. Build the sides and back with wood or metal, and attach the glass with epoxy glue.

6. Solar Power

One of the most advanced DIY projects for old sliding glass doors is building your own solar panels. The tempered glass and smooth surface works well for generating solar energy from cells. You may not make enough electricity for your entire house, but you will definitely see a reduction in your utility costs.

7. Sunroom

Build a sunroom with the tempered glass from your old sliding patio doors. You’ll need to build a frame from wood or metal, and secure the tempered glass to the frame. Fill it with some cozy seating and plenty of plants.

8. Cold Frame for Plants

If you live in a colder climate, use old sliding glass doors for cold frames. The tempered glass lets the sunlight reach your plants while protecting them from frost. Section off a part of your garden with straw bales. Leave the center open for the soil and plants. Lay the old sliding glass doors on top of the straw bales. The straw insulates the cold frame, and it is very affordable. If you prefer not to use straw, a frame made from 2x4s and plywood is a good alternative.

This is a simple and easy way to grow seedlings in the winter. You only need to use soil in the bottom. If you do use another material at the base of the cold frame, make sure that there is plenty of drainage. Even the smallest amount of standing water freezes and destroys your plants.

How Do You Modernize a Sliding Glass Door?

Updating old sliding glass doors is a way to keep the doors and create a more modern aesthetic. One of the easiest ways to do this is to mimic the look of French doors. The individual panes of a French door can be achieved with muntins. These are strips of metal that you can find at a local home improvement store.

Use a dry erase marker or chalk line to draw out the pattern on the glass. Apply the muntins with a clear silicone adhesive.

How to Restore Old Sliding Glass Doors

Sometimes a little clean up and new paint helps you fall in love with your old sliding glass doors again. Paint the frame silver or black for contrast. If you want the doors to blend in with the room, use the same paint as your wall color. Add some curtains or shades to make the doors feel more like part of your décor.

Do You Need a Window and Door Contractor?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Related Questions

How much does it cost to replace a sliding glass door with French doors?

Expect to pay between $1,300 and $1500 to replace an old sliding glass door with French doors. This includes demolition to remove the sliding glass doors, installing the new French doors, and disposing of your old patio doors.

How do you fix an old sliding glass door that won’t slide?

Dirt and debris in the tracks of a sliding glass door is the most common culprit of a door that is sticking and hard to open. Use rubbing alcohol to clean the upper and lower tracks. Add a spray lubricant to the clean tracks, and move the door back-and-forth a few times.


When you take the time to see your sliding patio doors in a new way, you stop seeing an eyesore. Instead, you see some DIY projects with real potential. The tempered glass cannot be recycled, and the additives in the glass should not be in landfills. Get creative, and find new ways to use your old sliding glass doors.

Jennifer Eggerton
Jennifer Eggerton

Jennifer L. Eggerton loves being hands-on, whether it's with a home DIY project, making repairs, re-decorating a room, or keeping life organized. She enjoys helping people by sharing her knowledge, insights, and experiences, as well as her lessons learned. In addition to her work as a writer, Jennifer is a Jeep® overlander, self-published author, and nature photographer who loves being outdoors.

More by Jennifer Eggerton