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There are several pet doors on the market that install directly through the screen and rely upon the screen itself for support on all four sides. These come in a variety of sizes and are most suitable for smaller and less active pets like cats though some may be sized for large dogs.
For larger or more active pets we recommend something more sturdy. Choose a brand that allows the pet door frame to be fastened to the screen frame with sheet metal screws down one side and across the bottom. Then the screen is re-splined to a special groove in the other two sides.
Important note regarding the snap-in style: We've gotten some complaints from people with heavy wire screening that they can't install them because the screen is too stiff to force into the groove provided by the pet door. If you have that type of screening, we'd suggest getting the “Sturdy Mount” types. Also, we worry about the very, very light fiberglass screening. It may not be strong enough to support the snap-in types even with gentle use.
Q: What is the most secure pet door for screens?
|Hale Pet Door for Screens||Pride Pet Door|
Q: I have a very active Labrador, what screen dog door should I get?
A: For very active and larger pets in general, we always recommend that you purchase the dog screen doors that are attached to the frame of the screen because this is the sturdiest and most stable option for screen doors. The Hale Security Pet Door Screen Mount is a great example of a good screen door that is sturdy.
|The Hale Security Pet Door Screen Mount|
Q: What are the different types of through-screen installations?
A: There are two approaches to installing a pet door through a screen:
Some pet doors are designed to clamp onto the screen itself. These are very simple to install requiring only a sharp knife, a flat surface (like the kitchen floor) and a hammer. Also they are quite inexpensive.
Others are designed to fasten with sheet metal screws onto the screen framing in a lower corner. These require more expertise to install (you might even want to have a screen shop do this for you) and cost significantly more. However, they are also much sturdier and come in a wider variety of sizes.
Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of installing a pet door in a screen?
Cost. Particularly the clamp-on styles are very inexpensive and easily installed or removed. All you would have to replace is the screen if you decide not to have the pet door anymore.
If you have nowhere else to put your pet door then it's nice to know that you can use a pet door through the screen of a window, door or porch.
A door through the screen allows you to still use the screen for ventilation in the spring and summer without allowing bugs in.
Obviously, you let the weather in with the pet. This might not matter for a screened-in porch, but it could be very undesirable for household living in colder climates.
If you lock the pet in or out you may find that the pet scratches the screen in frustration trying to use the pet door.
With the clamp-on style the pet door, it is not nearly as supportive as the frame mount style. With a calmer pet it should be fine. However, an active dog may take the pet door out into the back yard as he goes through, even though the pet door may be large enough for the dog as the door is not as secure with only the support of the screen. Screen doors are great, economic options for pet owners, but you just need to be sure that the door you’re buying is suitable for your pet! And as with anything, you are usually “paying for what you get” as far as durability goes.
Q: I'm getting the sturdy type that fastens to the screen framing. Does the thickness of the screen framing matter?
A: Yes it does. This type of pet door expects the screen frame to be no thicker than 1/2". If thinner then ⅜”, the screen frame might not be strong enough to support a larger dog door. If it is thicker than 1/2", then the pet door frame must be modified. With the Hale we indicate the manufacturer will do this for you in the description for the specific pet door, or you may do-it-yourself with a table saw and metal-cutting blade if you choose to go with the Pride Pet Door and Screen Adaptor.
Q: How do I choose which I need?
A: Screen installations like the Gateway and PetSafe models tend to work best with cats and small mellow dogs. With the Hale and Pride screen mounts you attach them to the frame on two sides, making them much more durable. The large range of flap sizes makes much easier to comfortably fit your dog or cat.
Q: Will the screen in the pet door match my screen?
A: For the clamp types like the PetSafe, Gateway, or RCR Easy Screen they actually use your existing material so no need to worry about it matching. The more sturdy models like the Hale and Pozzy Pet have flaps like a typical dog door, Pozzy Pet’s flap is rigid and Hale’s flap is a clear flexible vinyl material.
Q: Does the type of screen that I have matter?
A: If you intend to use the type that fastens to the screen framing then the screen material type doesn't matter. However, if you have light-weight fiberglass screen, then the clamp-on type may not have enough support and installing a pet door might cause the material to rip. With the heavier type of screen the one issue with the clamp on style is that they use pins that go through the screen and into the frame on the other side. We have found that in situations where the screen material is more heavy duty, that pre-starting the holes in the screen ensures that the pins go all the way through, which helps keep the two sides of the frame snapped together.
Q: What is the spline?
A: The spline is the black rubber tube shaped material that surrounds the edges of the screen and holds the screen material in the frame.
Q: What if my screen is already torn out by my pet?
A: The clamp-on type is unlikely to work because you won't have screen to clamp onto on two sides. You'll need to replace the damaged screen, and then install the pet door. If you're planning to get a dog door that fastens to the screen frame itself then, as long as the pet door frame is larger than the torn out portion you'll very likely to be able to do the install with the screen "as is". This, of course, implies that you have the skill to re-spline the screen to the pet door--a job that isn't particularly easy. You might need to make a trip to the screen shop just to make sure you get a good result.
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