How to Install a Sliding Patio Door

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON HAZELTON:
You know, one of the things that I really like about my sliding door here is that I can sit in the kitchen, read the paper and take in the view at the same time. However at night, I get the feeling sometimes that we're the ones that are the view.

That we're actually on stage in here and people walking by on the outside, can look right in and see what's going on. So, my wife and I have decided we've really gotta do something to give us some privacy. Now we thought about putting up a shade or mini blind, but you know, I've got two children and two dogs and I thought that they would probably take their toll on them, plus every time I want to go in or out, I've gotta raise and lower them. So what I've decided to do instead, is to replace these doors with ones that have the window treatments actually inside the glass.

In order to prevent damage to the surrounding wall, I'm using the utility knife to cut through the paint and caulk around the edges of the door casing. Then, I drive a putty knife into the scene and pull the casing away, just enough to insert a pry bar -- then work the molding free.

By taking off this strip at the top of the frame, I can remove the sliding door. Anything I can take out of the frame now means less weight to handle when it comes time for removal. On the outside, I remove the screen and cut through the caulk at the edges of the exterior trim. Well, I have an interesting problem or maybe I should say challenge right here. I want to remove this piece of wood trim, but I can't get a pry bar behind it. It's kind of sitting behind the siding or shingles on this and the door frame over here.

So what I want to do is locate the nails, the face nails right here, and to do that, I'm not gonna use this but I'm gonna use this. It's actually a magnet. I'll put it here on the casing, the trim, move it around and uh, here we go. So I know that right behind this is where that nail is and that's where I'll start my digging.

This terrific tool called a tiger's paw has sharp tines that burrow into the wood and grip the shaft of a nail. When the opposite end of the tool is pushed downward, the buried nail is pulled to the surface. Then it can be removed with a flat bar or hammer.

With the nails out of the way, the wood trim pries off easily. I find a few nails through this plastic fin, which the tiger's paw makes short work of. Sliding doors are installed in different ways. The trick is to find all the screws and nails, securing it to the framing.

In my case, the frame is attached on the left side and along the top. I pull off the sill support just to be sure there aren't any screws through the bottom. Next, I take out the fixed door panel and sure enough, there are more screws down the right side of the frame.

With everything removed, I try to tap the frame free. Well try is the operative word here.
[MUSIC]
After a lot of hammering, I finally discover one final screw hidden up inside the latch plate. Finally, the frame gives up its grip. Well, the old door is out.  Now your door might come out differently. Couple of things to keep in mind. Be patient and look for any hidden fasteners, screws or nails, because even one of them can keep the frame from coming out easily.

Now I have to do a few things to prepare this rough opening for the new door, and the first one is to make sure that the sill down here is level and that the sides are plumb. Good. And -- excellent.

After measuring the opening, I find that it's just a bit too large for the new door, so I nail on strips of plywood to reduce it to the correct size. The next step in preparing the opening is making it absolutely water tight. This foil tape has a butyl rubber adhesive backing.

I press the tape firmly in place, making sure to run it at least six inches up the jamb. At the corners, I make two small cuts -- then fold the tape over the edges. I put down a second strip on the threshold, then apply it along the entire opening, again making sure to wrap the corners.

I put back the sill support I removed earlier and nail it in place. On top of the foil tape, I put down three beads of silicone that will form a weathertight seal at the bottom of the door sill.
Well, I'd say it's time to put this door in. Now, important thing is, I want to put the bottom of the door in first and then tilt it up, so that I don't disturb these beads of caulk down here. Now even though the sliding panel has been removed, this door is heavy.

So I've asked my friend Jeff to give me a hand lifting it into place. Driving a couple of roofing nails through the fin, holds the door in position temporarily. Inside, I check the sill for level and the jambs for plumb. Then begin shimming the door to hold it securely in place.

Next, I run two screws through the latch side of the frame, through the shims and into solid wood. Then go back outside to put the rest of the nails in the metal fin. Before I put screws through the sill, I fill the holes with silicone to make certain there will be no leaks around the fasteners. Finally, I drive in screws at the top. Now that door is not going anywhere.

Outside, I place one final layer of butyl backed aluminum tape on top of a nailing fin. Then, Jeff and I lift the sliding door onto the bottom track. Next, I install the exterior wood trim, first on the top -- then on the sides.

I've cut it narrow enough to leave an expansion gap between the trim and the frame. Into that gap, I first foam backer rod, then fill the remaining space with silicone sealant. If the wood trim expands during humid weather, the backer rod and sealant will compress, preventing the expanding wood from deforming the door frame. Back inside, I trim the shims and begin filling the space around the frame with low expansion insulating foam. It's important not to use high expansion foam that could distort the frame and cause the door to bind.

Well, day has turned into evening, but before I stop, I want to install the interior door casing. Tomorrow, it's all about the decorative touches. First thing in the morning, I grab the door hardware out of the van and put it on.

To install the window treatments, I just open the interior glass panel and snap them in place. I've got my choice of mini blinds, shades, or grilles. Now, from the outside, what I like about these doors is that they're aluminum clad and that means no painting.

And on the inside, I just love the fact that the window treatments are between the glass. No cords, they're virtually dust free and because the grilles themselves are also inside, they're a cinch to clean. Now if you look through both of these doors, you won't see a screen and that's because it's right inside here.

It rolls out when I want it and rolls back when I don't. And of course when it comes to energy efficiency, these windows are state of the art. Two pieces of glass with argon gas in between for insulation value and the glass itself has a low E coding on it that will filter out ultraviolet light and prevent fading on draperies, carpets and fabrics.

But you know what I like best about these? I got exactly what I wanted. I can sit here and enjoy my view when I want to, but if I want my privacy, all I've got to do is -- that.

Upgrade Your Old Patio Door with Great New Privacy Features

Sliding patio doors are a common, but a number of new features and benefits are available. Privacy features including upgraded lock hardware, tinted glass, and between the glass shades and blinds are just the beginning. No matter what features you are looking for for your home, Ron shows the basic steps required to remove your old door from the opening, and then securely install the new unit so that it is weather tight, looks great, and lasts for years.

Remove the Existing Interior Trim
Step 1

Remove the Existing Interior Trim

Before the existing patio door unit can be removed, the trim that surrounds it must be removed. Use a utility knife to cut through the caulk and paint. If you just pull the trim away without cutting it first, it may cause the wall board to tear. The trim can be worked loose with a stiff putty knife, and then pull away with a pry bar.

Begin to disassemble the door
Step 2

Begin to disassemble the door

The door unit is very heavy, so you will want to remove as much of it as is possible before hand. Take off any stops or pieces of trim that may hold the sliding panel into place so that it can be removed. Once this is done, you can go outside and begin to remove the exterior trim, just as you did inside. Take care to cut through the paint and caulk here just like you did on the interior pieces to prevent damage to the rest of the house.

Potential Exterior Difficulties
Step 3

Potential Exterior Difficulties

When removing the exterior trim, it can often be difficult to get a pry bar behind the wood in order to pull it away from the house. If this is the case, use a magnet to locate the nail heads that are hiding under the filler and paint, and then use a tool called a tiger's paw to remove them.

Remove the Remaining Fasteners in the Old Patio Door
Step 4

Remove the Remaining Fasteners in the Old Patio Door

Remove the screws and nails that hold the old door unit in place. These are often driven through the jamb, and can be tricky to find. You may have to look under door track or behind strike plates. Once you are sure all of the screws and nails have been removed, use a hammer to tap the old unit out of the opening. Be sure to push in towards the outside of the house.

Prepare the Rough Opening to Receive the New Patio Door
Step 5

Prepare the Rough Opening to Receive the New Patio Door

Once the old door has been removed, you will need to make sure that the opening is properly prepared to receive the new one. Use a level to check that the sill is level, and that the sides of the opening are plumb. If you find that the opening is to big, use strips of plywood to reduce the opening's size.

Ensure that the Opening is Water Tight
Step 6

Ensure that the Opening is Water Tight

Before you install the new sliding patio door, you will need to make sure that the rough opening is protected from moisture. Use foil backed tape along the sill, running the tape about 6 inches up the side jamb as well. Carefully cut the corners and wrap the tape back, as if you were wrapping a present. Use a second strip of tape on the threshold, and then seal the entire opening, sides and header included. Once the foil tape has been sealed down, reapply the sill molding that you removed to get the old unit out.

Set the New Door into Place
Step 7

Set the New Door into Place

Before you install the new patio door unit, run three beads of silicone sealant along the sill. Set the door unit into place, bottom first, so that you do not smear the caulk. Once the bottom is firmly seated, tip the unit up into position. Most units come with an aluminum nailing flange that will need to be folded into an open position.

Secure the New Door
Step 8

Secure the New Door

Use roofing nails to nail through the aluminum fin and into the frame studs that make up the rough opening. Just drive one or two nails partially in to begin with, as you may need to make adjustments. Once these have been driven in, check the unit for plumb and level. After you are confident with those measurements, install shims to hold the proper spacing between the studs and the door frame and begin to screw the door into place. Drive screws through the side jambs, beginning on the latch side. Once that is secure, move back outside and finish nailing roofing nails through all of the holes in the nailing flange.

Finish Screwing the Door into the Opening
Step 9

Finish Screwing the Door into the Opening

Now that the door has been secured through the latch side jamb and the nailing flange, you can finish the rest of the installation. Put a dab of silicone in any hole that goes through the sill before you drive a screw in it. This will help keep the unit water tight. Lastly, screw in the top, and then set the active door panel into the frame.

Install the Exterior Trim
Step 10

Install the Exterior Trim

When you attach the exterior trim, you will need to leave a small gap to allow the wood to shrink and expand seasonally. In order to seal the small gap, use foam backer rod, as this will allow the wood to shrink and expand naturally. Stuff the backer rod into the gap, and then cover it with a bead of silicone sealant.

Install the Interior Trim
Step 11

Install the Interior Trim

Begin by trimming any excess off of the shims that were applied in Step 8. Fill the gaps around the outside of the frame with a low expansion spray insulating foam. Be sure to use low expansion foam, as the high expansion version can cause the door jambs to bow and make the doors difficult to open and latch correctly. Once the gaps are filled, install the interior door casings.

Install the Finishing Touches
Step 12

Install the Finishing Touches

Now that the door is structurally complete, you can install the locking mechanism per the manufacturer’s instructions, as well as any shades, blinds or grills that may have come with the door.