Key Points on Sliding Door Pet Doors | What You Need to Know
Here are the key points to consider in purchasing a sliding glass pet door:
1. Measure the height of your sliding glass door track
Unfortunately, there is no 'standard' size patio door. Using a ruler, measure inside the track, very top to the very bottom. Always compare your track height to the adjustment ranges shown for the various pet doors. Endura Flap® offers custom heights for odd-sized sliders and windows. Most others don't.
If you are looking at a Hale panel, then you would measure from down inside the bottom track then all the way up to the top track, stopping short of going inside the top track.
2. Determine how wide the flap needs to be
Open your sliding glass door just wide enough for your pet to come through comfortably. Allow room for growth as needed. There's your minimum width. Don't buy a flap that isn't at least that wide.
3. Determine the flap height and step-over dimensions you need
Ideally, the top of the flap will be at least as tall as the top of the pet at his 'withers' (top of his shoulders). That way, he doesn't have to crouch to use the pet door. The 'step-over' dimension is the height of the bottom of the flap above the base of the pet door. That's how much he has to step over.
So, flap height plus step-over is the height of the top of the flap.
Generally, the lower the step-over, the better. Especially when your pet is older or arthritic, so you might prefer a flap 17" tall with a 3" step-over to one with a 15" height and 5" step-over. Both reach 20" at the top, but the taller flap yields a lower step-over and will be easier for older pets.
More flap and less step-over can also be helpful if you've got a small pet that needs to share with a larger one.
A pet door that incorporates a user adjustable step-over makes it simpler and offers more flexibility for the future. These are only available with Endura Flap® pet panels.
4. Check the color of your framing
Most brands are available in white, satin (aluminum color) or bronze (very dark brown). You can paint any of these to get a different color if you wish (the easiest to repaint is the white). Check with your local paint shop for primer and paint recommendations.
5. See if you have dual-pane glass
You probably do and, unless you're in a very temperate climate area, you'll want to choose a pet door that has dual-pane glass as well. You can tell by placing a finger on both sides of your glass. If they look like they're touching, you have a single pane. If they stop about .5" apart, you have dual pane.
6. If you want dual-pane glass, how about Low "E" also?
This coating on the inside of dual pane glass units performs much better than the regular glass in insulating your home. Many of our sliding glass door dog door panels have this Low-E coating.
7. Are you looking for high wind resistance (need higher magnet strength on the flap) or are you planning to share a larger flap between a big dog and a smaller dog or cat (may need less resistance especially at the bottom of the flap)?
An Endura Flap will give you enormous insulation for extreme wind resistance. The Endura Flap® Thermo Panel 3e is a pet door for sliding glass doors with this incredible insulation.
8. See if you've got vinyl frames
Most patio doors built before 2010 are aluminum sliding glass doors. Nowadays, you can get vinyl plastic frames for sliders. There is more standardization in the newer vinyl doors. For example, Endura Flap®'s vinyl sliding glass dog door and the Ideal VIP 150 are manufactured exclusively for these doors.