Choose the style of door that fits your house. Several patio door options
are available. Swinging patio doors open like conventional doors, but
feature large glass panes for a view of the outside. They may be installed
as single, double or triple doors, depending on the size of your door
opening, but double door units are most prevalent. Characteristically,
preassembled double door units come with one fixed and one operational
door. They are commonly available in wood or steel models.
(sliding) patio doors are space-saving alternatives to swinging
doors. Unlike swinging doors, which require that objects be set well away
from the doorway, sliding doors require no room to swing. Sliding patio
doors usually have one door that is fixed and another that slides. They
often have aluminum frames, although they may be vinyl steel or wood.
The least expensive patio doors are usually of the sliding aluminum type.
type of door may be characterized as having "right-hand" or
"left-hand" operation, as viewed from outside, so you must know
which side you would like to operate. Purchase your patio doors with the
door panels already installed in preassembled frames. This will greatly
simplify your project.
your rough opening
If you are installing a patio door in an existing opening, determine your
door's rough opening dimensions before purchasing your new door. In some
cases it may be necessary to order a unit based upon the size of the rough
access the studs
and measure for the rough opening, carefully remove the casing from the
inside of the existing door opening. Take the measurement from the inside
surface of the studs. Measure horizontally across both the top and bottom
of the rough opening, as well as vertically on each side. You may find
that the rough opening is not square. When determining what size door
you will need, use the smaller of each of your vertical and horizontal
measurements. For example, if the left vertical measurement is 83"
and the right vertical measurement is 82 3/4", use 82 3/4" for
the vertical measurement when determining your rough opening size.
This is the hard part. Not because it is physically hard, but because
for many people there is something nagging that insists you would have
to be nuts to knock a hole in the side of your perfectly good house. Many
people hire a contractor for precisely this reason-contractors do not
seem to be bothered by the idea. But then again, it is not their house.
If you are planning to install a patio door in a
wall where no opening exists, you have some work to do. Select
your door placement carefully. Look for clues that may indicate if there
are obstructions in the wall that could cause you problems later. For
example, if a vent pipe extends through the roof immediately above the
wall area where you want to place the door, you may find after removing
the inside wall that the vent passes through your proposed doorway.
After you have determined your door placement and are satisfied that you
are unlikely to run into problems within the wall, purchase a door of
the type and size you want. The instructions will include information
about framing the door, including measurement information concerning the
appropriate rough opening size.
This job is going to be messy, so prepare a work space in the area where
you plan to install the door. Give yourself plenty of room to work.
Remove the inside wall in the area where you want to install the door.
You may want to remove the entire wall or you may want to remove just
enough of it to allow you to frame the rough opening. A hammer works great
for removing drywall. Just knock a hole in it and break it away in pieces.
To get a clean break in a straight line, score the line first with a utility
If you plan on removing just part of the wall, locate the studs one bay
out from the area where you intend to put the door. Carefully remove the
drywall back to these studs and trim it even with the edges of the studs.
Later, when you repair the wall around the door, you will nail new studs
inside of the existing ones to give you a surface on which to nail or
screw the new drywall.
Remove any insulation. This will give you a view of the back of
the exterior wall. If any electrical wires cross through the doorway,
they will have to be rerouted to run outside the perimeter of the doorway.
This is not difficult, it is just a matter of extending the wire so you
have adequate length. Use the appropriate size and type of wiring for
the circuit and splice white to white, black to black and copper to copper
colored wire. Just be sure the power is off to the circuit before working
with the wires. Also, be aware that codes require that any splices which
are made in home electrical wires must be contained in approved electrical
boxes. Use wirenuts to make all connections.
Frame the rough opening per the manufacturer's instructions for
your door. Then, using a circular saw, hammer and chisels, remove the
exterior wall from the framed area. Framing the rough opening before removing
the exterior siding will delay opening the hole until the last minute.
That way, if something comes up and you have to wait until the next day
to continue, you do not have an open hole in the side of your house.
You can remove the exterior siding and sheathing
by using a circular saw with the blade set deep enough to cut through
the sheathing. For areas you can not reach with the circular saw, such
as near the floor, use a handsaw or chisel.
Install the door
Test fit the patio door in the rough opening. From inside, make any required
adjustments and shim as necessary so the door frame is plumb and square.
Mark around the perimeter of the door frame brickmoulding. If you have
vinyl siding, it will be necessary to add a small amount of extra space
outside the line of the brickmold to accommodate the piece of channel
trim that will be installed between the brickmold and the siding.
Remove the door and carefully cut along the line using a circular saw
with the blade set just deep enough to cut through the siding. It may
be necessary to use a chisel in the corners and near the ground. Removing
the siding in this area will allow the door to sit in a recess against
the sheathing and framing. The siding will butt against the side of the
Cut a piece of drip edge to the width of the rough opening. Using silicone
caulk, insert the drip edge along the top of the rough opening, between
the siding and the existing building paper.
Cut 8" to 10" wide strips of building paper. Insert the paper
between the siding and the existing building paper on the outside wall.
Wrap the edges around into the rough opening and staple the building paper
in place against the framing studs.
Apply silicone caulk around the edges of the rough opening where the siding
meets the building paper. Also apply several liberal beads along the bottom
of the opening where the threshold will sit.
Install the door in the rough opening. Shim the door from inside as necessary
to allow the door and frame to sit square and plumb. If there are gaps
under the threshold, add additional shims under the door every 6"
or so for support. Make sure that you install shims under any screw holes
through which the threshold will be attached to the floor to avoid having
the screws pull the threshold out of shape. Make the shims snug, but don't
force them in place. Forcing the shims could distort the frame and cause
a bow along the threshold.
Install shims around the edges and top of the door frame. Space them approximately
every 12". If you are installing a swing style door, use additional
shims to support the strikeplate area of the door frame. Make sure everything
is level and plumb.
Ensuring that the brickmold is flat against the framing lumber from outside,
drive 10d finishing nails through the brickmold into the framing every
12" or so and in the corners. Countersink the heads to facilitate
applying the finish later.
From inside of the house, drive 10d finishing nails outward through the
shims and into the framing. Again, countersink the nail heads.
Screw the threshold to the floor. Trim the shims with a handsaw.
Finish it off
Wearing appropriate protective clothing and equipment, insert insulation
loosely into any gaps between the door frame and the rough opening. Do
not stuff the insulation tightly into the cracks. This reduces the effectiveness
of the insulation and may distort the door frame. Also install insulation
in the area behind which you will be replacing the interior wall.
Install sill nosing under the outside threshold.
Caulk completely around the exterior door casing. Use a premium quality,
paintable silicone caulk.
all nail holes and finish the door and frame as soon as possible after
it is installed.
Repair and finish the interior wall.
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