Pet Doors for Walls FAQs
What are the advantages of installing a pet door in a wall?
- You may have no other convenient locations for your pet door in which case it's handy to know that the wall is an option.
- A pet door in a wall can always accommodate a double flap version of the pet door you want if that is available. The double flap version will always insulate, seal and stand up to wind better than a single flap version of the same brand.
- If you want to remove the pet door at some future date (say you sell the house and the buyer doesn't want the pet door) and you've installed the pet door in a door, then you'll be buying a new door which can be expensive. On the other hand, depending upon the type of construction, a pet door in a wall may be removed and the wall patched inexpensively.
What are the disadvantages of installing a pet door in a wall?
- Installation through a wall can be dangerous! If you cut into electrical conduit or pipe you can be injured or even killed. We recommend a licensed contractor for this type of installation.
- If the siding is practically anything other than stucco, it can be difficult or impossible to remove the pet door and patch the wall so that it looks "like new". Brick siding, rock siding, wood or shingle siding and vinyl siding all present problems when removing a pet door from a wall.
- The same consideration is true for the inside wall. Drywall is easy to patch but wood paneling may not be.
- If the wall is thicker than about 8" (not very common but it happens) the selection of "self-framing" pet doors diminishes greatly. If the wall is thicker than 16" there are no "self-framing" options except for a few cat-sized pet doors.
- Since wall studs are usually 16" on center, a pet door requiring a "rough cut" wider than 14 1/2" will probably not fit between your existing studs. There are ways to solve this problem but, again, only a licensed contractor should attempt them.
What does it mean to "frame out" a wall?
- A wall installation pet door must always include a tunnel through the wall. The primary purpose of this tunnel is to ensure that water cannot penetrate to the interior of the wall--a leak into a wall if not quickly caught and repaired would have very serious and expensive consequences. As a secondary issue, the tunnel provides the pet with stable footing.
- There are two ways to accomplish this tunnel. The first and easiest is to purchase a "self-framing" wall mount pet door. This type of pet door will be provided with its own tunnel which is typically adjusted by cutting to fit the depth of the wall.
- The second way is to frame the wall yourself (or have your contractor do it) typically using lumber to build a wood tunnel through the wall. In either case the tunnel is carefully caulked to ensure water-tightness and any wood used is sealed. Here's an example of a "framed out" wall done with wood framing.
- While framing yourself is probably going to involve more work and expense, it does have the advantage of allowing you to use virtually any pet door for your wall installation. That advantage is largely offset by the fact that there is a very good selection of "self-framing" wall through pet doors to choose from.