A patio panel insert allows you to keep from drilling into your home’s walls or doors. A great solution for renters, you will never have to get up to let your pet outside. These inserts allow you to use your slider normally. Once installed, you the insert attaches to your frame, leaving room for you to walk through. Your insert will take up some walking space, be sure to check the size chart to check panel width. This is helpful so you can gauge whether it is going to take just enough space or not. Lastly, most inserts cannot mate with your existing slider lock, so additional mechanisms will come with purchase.
Below are the most important things to consider about patio panels. We have gathered information from the most common questions and talked to pet door experts.
Here is your official checklist!
✔Take Necessary Measurements
You will need to measure your pet and track height. It may seem a little strange, but measuring pet dimensions is very important too. We have a guide to on how to properly measure your pet. We recommend checking their height from feet to shoulder. It is not advised to go by weight or breed, since a beagle and poodle can be the same weight and different sizes. Our pet door experts suggest the top of the flap be at least an inch above your pet’s shoulder. This height includes the step-over, which is how high the bottom of the pet door is raised from the ground.Check out our measuring guide for a video and more information.
For almost all patio inserts, you will need to measure the track height from top to bottom. This is the space your slider slides on. Top to bottom refers to the deepest parts on the top, to the deepest parts on the bottom. If you are looking into the Hale Omni Panel, please note that panel does require a different measuring technique.
This is great in the event you mis-measured. It does happen. A common occurrence is your measurement being very close to (or even a little below) the bottom of the adjustment range of the pet door you need. This may raise an issue because the insert needs to be a little shorter to get up and over the bottom rail. If it’s already close to it’s shortest adjustment range, it may not be able to get short enough to actually install. The opposite problem is when your measurement is at or a little above the top of the adjustment range. We recommend a discussion with our customer service department in both these cases. We are glad to note the Thermo Panel IIIe has an ‘anti whoops‘ feature that addresses both these problems.
✔Consider Step Over
A ‘step-over’ is the distance between the ground and the bottom of the flap. The higher it is, the bigger the hurdle your cat or dog will have to get over. This is one the most key components to consider for a number of reasons. If your step-over is too high, your pet may struggle getting through their door. If too low, they may end up scraping their back when they enter and exit. It is hard to determine what height works when your dog is a puppy. We recommend getting a panel with an adjustable step-over range so they can move through easily at every point in their growing life.
As we mentioned earlier, this should be considered when looking at flap sizes. Patio panels will all have minimum a step-over while some can be customized. Check out our exclusive guide for all the detailed information.
✔Check Your Frame
This includes checking the color and frame material. Most inserts are made out of aluminum. If you have a vinyl framed slider, please take note that our aluminum inserts can still work. There is more standardization in the newer vinyl framed panel doors. These inserts are limited in flap and track sizes. The manufacturer of the only vinyl framed inserts is Ideal Pet. Please check our site for their products. If you needed a different color than we offer, your insert can be painted over. If you are going to paint over it, we recommend a white color since that is easiest to cover up.
Advantages of vinyl inserts:
- The insert will mate with most sliding patio locks
- You will not have to worry about whether the rail of your track is a problem or not
- Having the same material in your insert and frame will give it a natural look
Last Minute Considerations…
Worried about bugs flying in between the screen and patio pet door? Check out the Bug Warden, it can solve a problem you may not have considered.
Do we not have your track size? If this is the case, you may need a custom panel height. The Hale and Thermo Panel 3e can be made to fit just about any height. The Fast Fit can be made to fit heights above 80 inches.
Wondering how to lock the pet door? Each pet door comes with its own security cover to restrict access through the flap.
Need an electronic solution for your sliding glass? We have a few products to consider. Most will require your pet to wear a collar key to signal the flap to unlock. We have a microchip option for small dogs or cats. These are the best solutions to keeping unwanted critters from entering your home!
Deciding on single or dual pane? Dual pane glass insulates much better than single pane and, as well, attenuates noise much better. If you’re going to live with the pet door for a long time or if you’re planning 4 season use, it might be worth getting dual pane. If you live in a temperate area, single pane may be just fine. You can tell what type of glass you have by placing a finger on both sides of the glass. If they look like they’re touching, you have single pane; If they stop about 1/2″ apart, you have dual pane.
In the event that you have any additional questions, or need clarification, please contact us and we would be glad to help!