A quick guide on how to install a pet door

Give your pet more freedom with a pet flap!

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Do you have furry friends at home? One way to let your dearest ones easily go in and out of the house is by installing a pet door. These come in a variety of sizes and can be placed in different doors, be it a patio pet door or even a pet door for french doors!

Before you start putting up pet flaps around your home, learn the ins and outs of how to install a pet door. 

What do I need to install a pet door?

Before you place the pet door, prepare the following tools and materials:

  • A pet door kit

  • Hammer

  • Saw

  • Drill

  • Screwdriver

  • Sandpaper or file

  • Pencil

  • Safety glasses and a dust mask

  • Pliers or shears

  • Measuring tape

  • Saw horse

Pet door installation tips and completion time

When choosing a pet door, consider the price, sizes, and number of your pets. For example, if you have two pets of different sizes, it's best to go with a door that suits the bigger pet but is easy enough to come through for the smaller one. This applies even if you're installing a pet flap in exterior walls.

Also, consider the climate that you live in. This will be a crucial factor when deciding the material of the pet door you're getting. Depending on where you live, you'll need to pick a pet door that can withstand rain or snow, and extreme temperatures. The installation can take an hour to two hours, on average.  

Also read: A guide to installing a cat door for your feline friends

Step-by-step guide to pet door installation

Step 1: Measure your pet

measuring dog height

Pet doors come in different sizes and price points. Measuring your pet will help you find the right-sized door, so they can easily come in and out of your home.

To measure your furry friend, take a measuring tape and calculate its height and width. Give a 2-inch allowance for the measurements to allow for mobility. If you have more than two furry friends of different sizes, base the pet flap size on the tallest or largest pet. 

Step 2: Remove the door

removing the door hinges

Removing the door where you intend to install the pet door will be easier because you'll get to install the pet door as precisely as possible. It'll also save your back by allowing you to work on the pet door in a comfortable position.

Using a hammer and screwdriver, remove the hinge pins from your door. Lay the door across two sawhorses, with the interior side facing up. 

Step 3: Mark where the pet door goes

owner marking where the pet door will go

Use your pet's measurements to draw and measure the template. Place the template in your desired position on the door. Ensure that the template is level, with the lowest cutting mark at least three inches above the bottom edge of the door. If your pet door kit doesn't come with a template, you can use the pet door frame as a guide to mark outside the frame. 

Once you're good with the placement, tape the template and draw around the frame. You can leave marks where you intend to drill holes in. 

Step 4: Start drilling

drilling a hole in a door for pet door

Use a drill to puncture a hole at each of the corners of the template marking. If the pet door is to be installed on a steel door, use a drill bit specifically used for metal.

When handling tools like drills and saws, make sure to put on proper safety gear! 

Step 5: Cut out and smooth the edges sanding the edges

Insert the blade of the saw into one of the drilled corners. Then, carefully cut along the template or mark between each corner. Check if you have a compatible blade for the material you're cutting. For instance, if the pet door is to be installed on a steel door, use a metal cutting blade. Finally, use sandpaper or a file to smooth out any rough edges on the hole. 

Step 6: Test the pet door

dog peeking out of new pet door

Insert the interior frame of the pet door to check the fit. Test the fit by opening and closing the door and inspecting if the screws are tight. You can also have your furry friend go in and out of the door to see if the height is right for them. Then, make any adjustments as needed.

Step 7: Secure it in place

a dog looking out a pet door

Once you're happy with the adjustments, you can start mounting in the pet door and do the following steps:

  • Remove the interior frame and drill the holes for the mounting hardware following the manufacturer's recommended bit size. 

  • Make sure the hardware lines up with both sides of the frame by drilling holes perpendicular to the door.

  • After this, you can replace the interior frame. Depending on the door thickness, you may need to trim the core frames with pliers or cutters for a snug fit. 

  • Hold the frame pieces together and place the fasteners. 

  • For an airtight seal, use a weather-proof sealant to caulk around the exterior frame.

If you're not 100% confident about DIY-ing this project, don't hesitate to get in touch with a handyman to do the task. 

Let your furry friends wander!

Installing a pet door allows your pets to conveniently go in and out of your house. With this, you don't have to act as a doorman/woman for them. Plus, it's a practical escape route in case of emergency. 

Have no time to install the pet door yourself and would instead leave it to the pros? Book an experienced installer through Airtasker for your pet door installation needs!

Find pet door installers, fast

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Frequently asked questions

Installing a pet door is a fairly easy DIY project. While the installation will vary by door style and brand, you’ll generally use the same tools. 

Yes, you can! It’s a good first-time project for a beginner DIY-er because most of the tools are already ones you have, and it’s an easy project to do. 

The cost of installing a pet door will vary depending on the location and materials. Installing a pet door onto a wooden door starts at $48 if you do it yourself. Pet door installations can go between $100 to $1,500, depending on the material of the walls. 

You can install an interior pet door by following our step-by-step guide! It covers the basics of pet door installation, from sizing your pets down to placing the frame. 

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