How Do You Install Patio Sliding Doors?

Patio Sliding DoorMany do-it-yourself homeowners want to know, how do you install sliding patio doors? Luckily, the process is relatively easy, and most people will be able to install patio doors themselves, without the help of a professional.

Remove Old Patio Door

According to Ron Hazelton, before you can begin installing your new sliding patio door, you must remove the old door and prep the area, so it’s ready for your new door. First, you need to remove the existing trim. Using a putty knife, jimmy the knife between the trim and the wall. Do not tear the trim off; tearing the trim might damage the walls. Once you have worked the trim away from the wall, you can carefully pry it off.

Once the interior trim has been pried off, you need to remove the exterior trim. Remove the exterior trim the exact same way you removed the interior trim—carefully, while cutting through the paint and caulk to keep the walls safe.

Prepare Doorway for New Patio Door

Before removing the old door, you should remove all fasteners and small pieces that can be easily disassembled. The door is very heavy, so doing this will save you time and difficulty later in the installation process. After removing all screws and nails, gently tap the door from its frame. Tap the old door from the frame with a hammer, tapping toward the outside of the house. Once the door is free from the frame, make sure the frame is prepped for the new door. All frames should be level and plumb, and the new door should fit flush in the frame. If the frame is too small for the frame, use plywood to make the frame smaller.

Create a watertight barrier for the new patio door by installing foil-backed tape along the sill and six inches up the jamb. After you run the tape along the frame, cut it and fold it back. Install an additional strip of tape on the threshold. Now you can replace the molding.

Align New Door to Opening

Aligning the new door to the opening will ensure it is the right fit. Apply a few drops of silicon sealant along the sill. Lift the door into the frame, setting the bottom first, so you don’t smear the sealant. Align the top of the door in the frame. You might have a door that has an aluminum nailing flange. Open these flaps up.

Nail New Door in Opening

Nail the new door into the frame with roofing nails. If your door has a metal flange, nail right through the flange and into the frame. Start with a few nails, hammered in only part way. Check the door to make sure the door is flush and fits the frame correctly. You may need to readjust the door to make sure the fit is correct. Once you’re confident of the fit, finish hammering the nails into the frame.  Only nail the interior at this point.

Screw Patio Door to Opening

Use shims to ensure the proper fit and spacing. Starting on the latch side, screw nails into the side jambs. Nail the exterior metal flanges to the frame, the same way you nailed the interior ones. Apply a dab of silicon to the holes in the sill. Install screws through the dabs of silicone to secure the door to the sill. Install screws in the top of the door too.

Re-Install Trim

Replace the original trim, starting with the exterior trim this time. Leaving a small gap between the frame and the trim for seasonal shrinking and expanding, begin to nail in the trim. Stuff a foam backing rod into the gap you have allowed for seasonal shrinking and expanding. Seal the foam backing into the gap with silicone.

To install the interior trim, you’ll need spray a low-expansion spray in the gaps on the frame’s exterior. High-expansion spray could bow the doorjambs, making the sliding glass door difficult to slide open or closed. Once you have finished spraying the gaps, you can go ahead and nail the trim back into place.

The door should now be almost fully installed. The only thing left is to install the door’s lock and add any finishing decorative touches, such as blinds, shades or grills.

Related Resource: Different Types of Front Doors

Installing a sliding patio door is very easy, and most do-it-yourself homeowners will have no problems installing one without the help of a professional.