Nothing beats the look of love that a pet can give you after a tough day of work. Your dog jumps, yips and wags its tail to greet you and your cat strokes, rubs and purrs its way into your heart. While all of that love is tough to beat, it’s awfully hard to remember their affection when they wake you up at 2 am to go outside and use the bathroom. By installing a pet door into your home, you can easily prevent the constant whining, mewling and barking that comes with a trip outdoors. Use this guide to pet door installation and you’ll be on your way to giving your pet the freedom they deserve and the peace of mind in knowing they won’t be waking you up just to go outside.
Choosing a Door
A pet door can easily be installed in an exterior door or screen enclosure with ease. If you plan on cutting the hole into the exterior of your home, you’ll probably need to hire a professional builder to cut the hole for you. Cutting into the exterior of your home can be dangerous and shouldn’t be attempted by someone without the right experience, tools and insurance!
Measuring the Hole
With that said cutting a hole in your door is still a challenge but can easily be done using this guide. Before you start cutting any holes, you’ll need the pet door to gauge the holes width and length properly. Be sure you cut the hole to the manufacturer’s specifications, or you could end up having to buy a new door! Basically, you’ll need to cut the opening in the center of the door (left to right) and at least six inches (or more) up from the bottom of the door panel.
Laying out the Cut
Pull the door off of the hinges and place face down on a set of sturdy sawhorses covered with an old towel to prevent scratches on the door. Lay out both sides of the door using a light pencil mark. Use a ½” wood drill bit on wood doors and a metal drill bit on metal and fiberglass doors and make a hole halfway through the corner of your pet door opening. Flip the door over and push the drill bit through the other side and finish the hole.
Making the Cut
Now you can use a metal blade installed into a jigsaw to cut the hole out of the door on your fiberglass or metal door. Plunge the blade so that it only cuts the outer layer of the door and doesn’t go all the way through to the other side. You’ll make a very ragged hole if you cut all the way through the door. Flip the door over and finish the cut.
For all wood doors, you’ll need to cut the door halfway through one side using a circular saw, then flip the door over and finish the cut using a wood blade on the jigsaw. Taping the edge of the cut using masking tape can also help to prevent splintering the door cut.
Installing the Pet Door
In most cases, the pet door will come with a weatherproofing strip that prevents the pet door from leaking. You may want to back this up using a silicone-based caulk before you assemble the two pet door halves together. Have a helper hold one side of the pet door square and level while you install the other half from the inside. Be sure to keep all the screws on the interior of the house when assembling the pet door and you should have no problems at all!
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