Install a Pet Door in a Garage Door

Lead Image for Install a Pet Door in a Garage Door
  • 5-8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 200-600
What You'll Need
Pet Door
Tape measure
Carpenters square
Drill & bit

Adding a pet door to an existing garage door is a relatively simple project. Pet doors are a wonderful convenience. Free access to the warmth and safety of the garage means greater independence for pet and owner alike. In a crowded garage, however, finding space in an exterior door or along a wall may be tricky. A pet door installed on the garage door itself may be the only viable solution. All that is needed are a few common tools.

Step 1 Placement

Determine where to locate the pet door. Consider the construction of the garage door. Avoid areas where the pet door would interfere with supports or braces. A sectional garage door will not accommodate a pet door taller than the lowest section. Also, consider the height of the pet. Ideally, the top of the pet door should be located approximately two inches above the shoulder of the tallest pet to use it. Do not try to place the pet door even with the bottom of the garage door. The bottom of the pet door should be at least two inches above the bottom of the garage door.

Step 2 Measure

Measure where the top of the pet door opening will be. Mark the spot with a pencil. Use the square to draw perpendicular lines horizontally and vertically, marking the upper corner for the pet door. Use the level to ensure the lines are accurately drawn.

Step 3 Outline

Measure and mark the opening needed. Most pet doors come with a security panel the same size as the opening. This can be used as a template to ensure accurate measurement. Verify the measurements by holding the frame of the pet door against the outline. Double-check and see that the lines are level. The pet door will not open and close well if it is not level. That can make it difficult for the pet to use and drafty in the garage as well.

Step 4 Cornering

Drill a hole just inside each corner. A ¼-inch bit should be adequate. This will form nicely rounded corners.

Step 5 Cutting

Cut the outline of the opening. Use the holes drilled as the starting point for cutting the opening with the jigsaw. Be sure to use a blade that is appropriate for the type and thickness of the material of the garage door. Sand any rough edges.

Step 6 Assembly

Line up the frame of the pet door with the opening. Mark the location of the screw holes. The edges exposed in cutting the opening for the pet door should be completely covered by the frame. If any raw edges will remain exposed, seal them with weatherproof paint or sealant before continuing. Apply a bead of caulk around the edge of the opening, avoiding the places where screws will be used. Screw the frame into place. Test the door to ensure it opens and closes appropriately. Apply caulk around the edges of the frame, wiping away any excess.