Slidong patio door install help!!!!!!!!!

Old 02-09-06, 05:55 AM
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Question Slidong patio door install help!!!!!!!!!

I am replacing my windows and doors in my home this month, and the budget won't foot the bill for the expensive patio door install. So I have decided to do it my self. I am pretty handy when it comes to this sort of thing, but have never actually done one. I am unsure how to install and make sure it is completely sealed from the outside elements. I have a concrete foundation, and a standard door opening. Can someone run through the steps of installing this door, I believe it already has brick molding attatched so lining it up won't be bad, but if you could help me with securing it and sealing it all up tight that would be greatly appreciated.

Matt (Bettendorf, IA)
Old 02-09-06, 08:40 AM
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Hi Matt.

The first thing you would want to do is verify that your rough opening is the right size. Ideally, your opening should be 1/2" taller than the door is, and 1" wider than the door is. So if your patio door measures 72x80, your rough opening should be somewhere close to 73x80 1/2. If your opening is too wide or too tall, you should add some framing to make it the correct size. If the opening would be 82" tall, for example, you'd add a 2x4 to the top... if it was 81" tall, you could add 1/2" plywood. If the opening is too wide, let's say it's 74" wide, you'd be better off adding 1/2" plywood to each side, rather than add 1" all on one side- make sense?

You should also verify the wall thickness, and compare it to the patio door- the distance from the nailing fin or brickmould to the interior side of the door. It will help you visualize where the door will actually be sitting once it's installed. Occasionally you might have to cut the carpet or the flooring so that your patio door will fit right up against it once it's installed. But most of the time you don't need to cut any flooring at all, provided you are replacing an existing door with a similar one.

If your door has a nailing fin, you would measure the width of the door including the nailing fin. Let's say that it's 75x81 1/2. That means you need to have at least that much room between your brick... or siding... or whatever you have on top of your sheathing. Your door will be installed against the sheathing, so anything that would prevent the nailing fin from going back against the sheathing would need to be removed. (It's ideal if you can remove enough siding all the way around the door so that you can paper and flash the opening properly, but that's not always possible.)

Once you are sure the opening is ready and the door is going to fit, then you can start thinking about installation. You want to be sure the subfloor is level. A 6' level is best to check this- if you don't have one, cut a straight 2x4 straightedge that is almost as wide as the rough opening, and set your short 4' level on that. Shim up the 2x4 straightedge until it's level. Those shims represent the distance the door needs to be shimmed up. Sometimes you will just need a shim on one end. Occasionally, you'll need shims every 16" until the shims taper down to nothing. Or sometimes the ends are fine and the middle is sagged down. Every once in a while you won't need any shims at all, but very rarely. Flat shims are best- rip them on a table saw. Tapered shims would not make the door sit flat because they would be 1/4" on one side and 1/8" on the other. You can put 2 tapered shims together to make a flat shim if you flip them end for end when you put them together. I prefer to cut my own shims for use under doors.

Once the rough opening is level, you might consider installing a peel and stick membrane as a sill pan flashing. The idea is that the bottom of the door will get exposed to water eventually, and when it does, the sill pan flashing will protect the wood from water damage. For more on this, just search the internet for "pan flashing" and/or "Grace". Many people skip this step, but its really an issue of quality over convenience.

At any rate, you'll apply several beads of sealant under the door and around the perimeter of the rough opening, then set the door in place and tack it with one screw. Theoretically, if the bottom of the door is level, and the sides are plumb, the door as a whole should be square. But the only real way to find out is to measure your diagonals (top right to bottom left, and bottom right to top left). Those measurements should be equal. If your panels aren't installed, do that now. Slide the operating sash close to the door frame until you can see 1/8" of light along the latch side. If it's straight, you're good. If it's wider at the top than it is on the bottom, or vice versa, then it's likely that the door is out of square. You would need to jack the top or bottom left or right to square it up. (It could also be the roller adjustment, but usually it's the frame initially.) Once you like where it's at, shim the door to the rough opening approximately 6" away from each corner, then screw or nail the 4 corners of the nailing fin and install scres through the frame if needed. You would then measure across the middle portions of the door to ensure they are not spread or pinched. The door should measure the same across the top, middle and bottom in order to be straight. You should add additional shims to the middle of the door as needed to keep it straight and solid. You don't want the frame bouncing as you bring the door closed- shims will firm that up. Once you have it shimmed to the rough opening and like where it's at, then you can install the remainder of screws / nails in the nailing fin and frame.

Finally, you'd want to flash the exterior of the door with flashing tape, such as the Grace Vycor I was mentioning earlier. Again, many people skip this step, but flashing the exterior to prevent water infiltration is something that's going to make that door last longer and be trouble-free.

If the interior of the door does not come out flush with the interior surface (drywall, paneling, etc) then you probably need to make an extension jamb- basically just 3 pc of trim that are the right dimension to cover up any part of the rough opening that is exposed. Then you'd apply the casing. And don't forget to insulate the door before you trim it. Fiberglass strips are the old standby. If you decide to use an expanding foam, use it very sparingly at first, because it can be dangerous to use around doors and windows due to overexpansion. I wouldn't recommend using urethane foam with vinyl doors and windows at all. Dap latex door & window foam is a better choice since there is no danger of overexpanding with it.

Sorry this is so long, but you're question doesn't have a simple short answer. I guess the most direct answer would have been "follow the manufacturer's instructions."
Old 02-16-06, 10:44 AM
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Great answer , thanks.

You cleared up, lots of bit I was unsure of. And explained the steps better than any instructions I have seen to date.


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