How Do You Install a Pet Door?

Pet DoorPet doors are essential for owners of pets that go inside and outside regularly. However, having one installed can be very expensive. There are many kits and supplies for installing them oneself; however, one needs to know exactly what steps to take to install one successfully. Here is a step-by-step guide to installing a pet door.

Buy the Correct Size Pet Door

Pet doors come in a variety of sizes. It is important to get the one that is just the perfect size for your pet. Because they allow heat and cold exchange with the outdoors, you should not simply buy a larger size than you need. According to Lowes, the pet door should be two inches wider than your pet. The height should be at least the length of your pet’s chest from its legs to the top of its shoulders plus two inches. It is okay if it is a bit wider or taller than this, but if it is smaller your pet will not be able to fit through it.

Collect Necessary Materials

Installing a pet door will go smoother when you ensure that you have the necessary materials ahead of time and keep them in arm’s reach. You will need a hammer, a jigsaw, a drill with bits, pliers, a screwdriver, a tape measure, a pencil, scissors, a level, caulk, and the dog door that you wish to install.

Measure Your Pet

The next step is to measure your dog so you can place the pet door at the correct height. With a pencil, mark their shoulder height on the door. Using a level and a ruler, draw a vertical and straight line through this. The upper boundary of your pet door will be two inches above this line.

Mark the Future Pet Door’s Boundaries

First, remove your door from its hinges and lay it flat on the floor or another surface. Pet doors come with a template. Then, carefully trace the template so its upper edge is two inches above your pet’s shoulder and the bottom edge at least three inches from the bottom of the door. It is important not to make the pet door too low, as the thin piece of wood may crack or break. The vertical boundaries should be centered on the door. When the template has been traces, take it off and make an X at each corner.

Cut the Pet Door’s Opening

Insert a half inch drill bit into the drill. Drill a hole through the door on each of the four X’s that you have marked. This hole should not be outside the template outline. Then, use a jigsaw to cut out the rest of the template outline. The blade should fit easily in each of the holes that you have made.

Check the Fit

Place the frame of the pet door inside your hole. It should fit snugly. If it does not, then make the opening slightly larger. Enlarge the opening in small increments so it does not become too big.

Insert the Door

Once the frame fits well, place the interior and exterior frame section in the foor with the flap in the middle. If these fit snugly in the door, place screws in the holes and tighten them. If the frames placed together are too thick, remove break off levels from the exterior portion of the frame. These are pieces that are easily snapped off with pliers so that the pet door is the correct thickness. Remove one break off level at a time until the fit is perfect, and then screw both sections of the frame into place. Screw the screws in until tight-fitting, but do not over-tighten them. This may damage the wood of your door and lead to cracking or splintering.

Caulk the Door

To prevent more temperature exchange than necessary, you may want to caulk your pet door. To do this, simply add a thin layer just under or around the lip of the pet door on both the indoor and outdoor sides. Once this is complete, you can put the door back on its hinges. When the caulk has dried, the pet door is ready to be used.

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While installing a pet door may seem complicated, it is actually a very simple and short process. If you measure carefully, the pet door should fit perfectly in your door and be the right size for your pet. Begin teaching your pet to use the door immediately and enjoy a lifetime of successful use.