Depending on your view, sliding glass doors can add a lot of value to your home. Of course, you don’t have to have an ocean view to get enjoyment from sliding glass patio doors. For one thing, they let in light and fresh air and can help keep your home energy efficient. They can also add style to a room. Many people are familiar with the single pane style of sliding glass patio doors, but if you haven’t shopped for them in a while, you may be surprised at how many options are available nowadays. You can get them designed to look like French doors, for example. Another common option is to get a set with a screen door, so you can let in a soothing breeze without inviting in every insect in the county.
Installing sliding glass patio doors is certainly not a task for home improvement newbies and it’s not something you should do on your own unless you’re pretty strong—the doors are heavy and the last thing you want to do is shatter your new sliding glass. However, if you’re an experienced DIYer and you have help, it’s a task that you can definitely accomplish. Read on to find out how to install sliding glass patio doors.
Measure Your Existing Door Opening
As with any door installation, the first step is to measure. In this case, you’ll measure the size of the door opening. Start by measuring the width of the opening across the top, the middle, and the bottom. The smallest measurement will be the one you use. Then repeat the task with the height. Measure on the left side of the door opening, the center, and then the right. As with the width, you will use the smallest measurement of the three for your height.
You can then use your measurements to pick out your new sliding glass patio doors.
Remove The Old Door
You wouldn’t attempt to remove a garage door in one piece because that would be nearly impossible. Garage doors are very heavy. While sliding glass patio doors are not as heavy as garage doors, you remove them in much the same manner—in pieces. With the sliding glass patio door, you’ll start with the sliding piece. At the top of the door frame is the inside head stop, the piece of wood that holds the panel in place there. Unscrew the inside head stop and then all you have to do to remove the panel is tilt it. You can then just lift it out of the track at the bottom and pull it out from the frame.
The non-moving piece isn’t as easy to remove, but it’s not that much of a challenge. Unscrew the angle bracket at the top of the stationary panel and also unscrew the bottom bracket, if applicable. (Not all stationary doors will have a bottom bracket.) You should then be able to slide the stationary panel to the latch and lift it out. If it’s feeling stuck, it may be painted or caulked in place. Simply cut it free from the paint or caulk and try again.
Check Your Levels
After you have removed the old door, check to make sure the rough door opening is level. If it isn’t, you can use shims to correct the difference, then use caulk to fill in any gaps.
Install The Flashing
Flexible flashing will help keep water from coming in. Put it right underneath the doorseal and then 2” up each side. It’s okay if you have to use more than one overlapping row to cover the area completely.
If it rains a lot where you live, it’s also a good idea to install a sill pan. With a sill pan, you just lay it in place and secure it together with PVC cement. Whether you install one or not, you will then apply flashing to the sides, folding it around the door frame.
Install The New Frame And Check Your New Door In The Frame
Put together your new frame according to the manufacturer’s instructions and then test it in the door opening. When you’re sure it fits, then caulk the threshold as the instructions indicate and place the frame in the door opening. Screw it into place. If necessary, square the frame with shims.
If you’re using door fins, make sure they’re tight against the door sheathing. If you’re not using fins, the fin groove should be flush with the outside of the sheathing.
Install The New Stationary Panel
Tip the stationary panel into the frame, making sure it’s firmly in the frame, then attach it with the necessary bracket(s). Make final adjustments to the door frame if necessary. If your door manufacturer’s instructions indicates that weather-stripping or other trim should be installed now, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Install The Sliding Panel
As with the stationary panel, tip the sliding panel into the frame and make sure it’s firmly pushed into place. Attach the inside head stop to the top of the frame.
Slide open the panel and adjust the roller screw so that there is a consistent gap between the sliding panel and the jamb and the door slides smoothly.
Install the door hardware according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Add The Trim, Insulation, And Extension Jambs, If Necessary
If your wall is thicker than the standard depth, you will add extension jambs to make up the difference. Shim the jambs for the top first, then add the extension jambs for the side. After you shim the top piece, nail it into place. Then repeat with the side extension jambs.
Add fiberglass insulation around the door. It should be loose near the drywall and denser against the sheathing. Then add the interior trim. There should be 1/8” between the trims and any extension jambs.
Install The Filler Strips, If Necessary
If your new sliding glass patio doors are smaller than your old door, you can cut wood to close the gap. With an 1/8” gap on either side, the wood should sit between the siding and the frame. Use silicone caulk to fill the gaps.
Install A Support Block
Your door manufacturer may supply an aluminum strip for this purpose, but if not, you can cut a support block yourself. Using any treated wood, cut it into a ¾” to 1”-thick piece. Then nail it into place underneath the lip of the threshold.
Now you know how to install sliding glass patio doors. Installing sliding glass patio doors by yourself is tricky, but it can save you a lot of money if you’re experienced enough to do it. It’s also handy if you’ve noticed that your old door has gotten drafty or if you just want to update your home’s style.