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Amanda Harvey
Amanda
Harvey

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How to Install a Patio Door: Step by Step

Last modified: 2019/02/08 | Approximate reading time 5 mins

Sliding glass or patio doors are a dream. They allow a beautiful view of the outside world and simple access to your backyard, lawn or patio. Sliding glass doors can transform even the darkest, dingiest or gloomiest of spaces, but how difficult is the installation process itself? If you have some light experience under your belt in the world of renovation projects, we’re confident you can get this job finished in a day or a weekend.

There are many different types of sliding glass doors on the market, so make sure to do a little bit of research in order to choose the right doors for your home. Once you’ve narrowed down your choice, you can begin the installation. Read on for a little bit of patio door info as well as the step-by-step process to install them!

Here’s how to install patio doors

Patio door

A little bit about the patio door

As we mentioned in our introduction, a patio door installation shouldn’t be completed by someone who hasn’t taken on a renovation before. There are many moving parts in this project and therefore, careful attention to detail is necessary. All sliding glass doors operate in a relatively similar fashion, with one door that slides open to offer access to the outside and the other door remaining static. The moving door functions by way of a track that is installed at the bottom of the frame or in the jamb area. In most cases, the frame of your door will be made of wood or fibreglass.

We briefly discussed the fact that there are several sliding door models on the market. The most popular patio door is a full paned door that offers a complete view of outside. There are plenty of contemporary models on the market that offer a different take on the classic, including some patterned panes or even different styles such as French doors. Another point of consideration is whether or not you want a screen door to accompany the glass, as this is an excellent way to let air in without the fear of finding bugs nestled around your house.

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When you finally settle on a model, there are a few other considerations to take before buying. First, be sure you’ve gathered accurate measurements of the current door so that the one you bring home fits the first time. If there's no existing door and simply an opening, do the same and take careful measurements. In most cases, a sliding door kit will include a frame and this will need to be built alongside the door installation.

If you’re feeling hesitant about the process, it’s best to ask a friend for help with this project. This is further important due to the fact that the glass doors will be extremely heavy and will require a helping hand when it comes to placing it correctly. Now, we’ll go over the steps involved in this process.

Gather materials and get started!

Now that you’ve chosen a make, model and carefully measured the existing door or hole in the wall, it’s time to get started. The next step will be to gather the materials and tools necessary for this job. The tools required are as follows:

  • Screwdriver (4-in-1);
  • Hammer;
  • Nail gun;
  • Level;
  • Clamps;
  • Drill and driver;
  • Miter saw;
  • Reciprocating saw;
  • Table saw;
  • Tape measure;
  • Utility knife;
  • Pry bar.

Once you’ve gathered all your tools and have your door kit home, you’re ready for the install. Begin by finishing any exposed wood before starting the installation. This will save you time in the end, as it’ll be much more difficult to finish once the door is in place. An important note is that there may be a small gap between your door and the exterior trim, but don't worry. If you have an old door in place and there is trim fastened to the frame, remove this.

However, if there is no trim and instead the siding comes directly to the frame, you may have to remove the siding and restore it following the installation of the door itself otherwise there may be leaks present. If your interior or exterior walls are made of stucco or brick, there’s a chance that you’ll need to rely on caulk to properly seal the door in place. A final note before getting started is to make sure you begin this project bright and early so that your chances of finishing before it’s dark out are better.

Remove old door and frame

patio door

If you’re removing an old patio door, take the panels down one at a time as it’s likely to be heavy. Pry away any pieces of trim necessary and remove the sliding and panel. This can be done by unscrewing the strip of wood at the top which is commonly referred to as the inside head stop. Tilt the panel and remove the bottom rollers from the track, then lift the panel straight into the air and pull it free when in the clear.
Removing the static panel is often more difficult, as it could be quite tight in its place. If you find an angle bracket at the top and bottom of the door, this will need to be removed. After this, the panel should slide towards the latch and be free to be removed. If it’s stuck in place and depending on how stuck it is, use a utility knife or saw to cut away paint or caulk.

Apply flashing

Next, apply flashing by beginning at the bottom of the door frame. The frame where your sliding door is going should already be level, but do a double check before starting. Now, brush away any debris or dirt that has accumulated in order to have a clean flashing install. Apply the flashing directly under the doorsill and up the sides about 2 inches and fold it around the door frame opening.

Most flashing has a side that’s able to adhere to the underlying surface. If your slider isn’t protected at the top of the door frame, flashing should be placed there as well.  Do not nail flashing in place! Even if it doesn’t adhere, slip it in as tightly as possible.

Install your new patio door!

patio door

For this step, you’ll definitely need a little bit of help. Grab a friend or loved one and set your new patio door into the opening. Have one person stand outside while the other works from the inside. Make sure the door is level and plumb by carefully checking all four sides. Now, tap the shims into place moving every 6-inches. Be certain that you avoid driving the shims in too tightly, as the jambs will bend. Once the door is correctly in place, test to see if it slides smoothly.

Now, from the outside of your home, drive screws through the flange and into the frame of your home. From the inside, drive finishing nails through jambs into the framing, trying to get a nail next to every shim. If necessary, install interior moulding next to an existing wall if there are any visible gaps present. Lastly, you’ll need to seal the door in place. This can be done with caulk that is suitable for the outdoors. This is especially important to avoid rainwater finding its way inside.

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