Dog Doors for 'People' DoorsRead More Below
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Pet Doors to Install in 'People' Doors
The versatile 'door mount' is what most people think of as a pet door: Cut a hole in the back door and screw it on. They are all designed to easily install in a flat surfaced, solid core door. Hollow core doors, including metal doors, are no problem if you make sure you've chosen a 'self-framing' dog door or cat door. If you've got something different, you might find some help on our installation problems page.
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There are quite a few considerations including how well the pet door seals, insulation value, appropriate size for the pet, wind resistance and specific features to name a few. We've presented a great deal of detailed information to help you with this selection process.
Some of these doors are self-framing which is an important feature. If you get a self-framing pet door, be sure to confirm that your door thickness is within the adjustment range.
All of these pet doors come with a locking cover, or other method of locking the door shut, unless otherwise noted.
A special note on doors specifically for cats: Most of the pet doors presented here come in various sizes, for example small, medium, large and X-large. The small size is generally a fine choice for a cat. However, there is a whole class of pet doors commonly referred to as 'cat flaps' which are specifically for cats. These are found in this section but also separately in our Just for Cats section where it's easier to choose just among that group.
Q: Will a pet door installed in my door allow my pet to go in AND out?
A: Yes, all the doors will allow your pets to enter and exit. However, there are certain door models that will give you control over your pet's ability to go inside only or outside only. These are generally going to be smaller cat doors with the 4-way locking feature or in the larger electronic doors such as the High Tech Power Pet and PetSafe Passport doors.
Q: Do you have doors with aluminum frames?
A: Yes, Patio Pacific, PetSafe Freedom, Pride, Hale, Gun Dog House door, Carlson, Mason Company Pickwick and Plexidor offer aluminum frames. Click here to see a nice comparison chart of all of these products in one table.
Q- Does it matter if my door is hollow core rather than solid core?
A - It used to matter a lot. In the old days pet doors consisted of a frame and flap assembly for one side of the door and sometimes, but not always, a decorative trim frame for the other side.
These worked fine in a solid core wood door (though you did need to seal the exposed wood if you didn't want rot). If you wanted to install one of these in a hollow core door, you had to "frame out" the door first so that the weather didn't get inside the door between the two pet door frames. Of course, the lumber yard didn't have any wood that would fit inside the sides of the hole that you cut so you needed a table saw to fit the frame pieces. It was a huge hassle.
Then Pet Eze Company developed a pet door where the outside frame wrapped through the hole in the door to meet with the inside frame. All you had to do was caulk the seam between the two and you were done. No framing or sealing needed!
Today nearly every pet door on the market is self-framing though not all and you should remember to check especially if your door is hollow-core.
The main reason a self framing door is nice is because it makes the appearance of the overall door much nicer, as it covers up the mistakes you might have made along the way. The self framing door gives it a full, professional look at the end of the job. It also makes it easy to seal everything in, keeping the moisture out of the inside of the frame and preventing damage to the pet door or the door itself.
Q: What exactly does it mean to be "self-framing"?
A: A self-framing door means that the pet door has a flange that will go into the cut out in order to cover it up so that you don’t have any of the people doors core exposed. This is one thing that makes installing through a hollow core or foam core door much cleaner. Below is an example of a self framing door installed:
Q: Can I install a pet door into a garage door?
A: Yes, a dog door can be installed in a garage door, but it is probably hollow and may be thinner than an ordinary door so we recommend going with one that is self-framing as described above. Although, there are a few issues that arise such as how the flap may hang when the garage door is open as well as the overall safety of your pet in an area where cars may be coming and going. As a result, we don't particularly recommend this option, but a few products that would work include the Endura Flap pet doors as they have significantly more magnet strength to keep the flap in place when the door is raised and doors with rigid flaps like the Cat-Mate 221 or Dog Mate as it won’t change shape or warp if it hangs for prolonged periods of time.
Q: Can I install a doggy door in a door that has panels or an irregular surface?
A: Pet doors are designed to install on a flat surface, but you can install a dog door in these types of doors. The best way to do this is to straddle the recessed area of one of the panels so that the doggy door sits on the flat area in the middle, on the side, and below the recessed panel. The doggy door frame will cross the recessed area on the top, so you will be left with a gap. The easiest way to fill this gap is to get battens or shims from a local hardware store, and cut them to fit into the gap between the door and the recessed panel. When that gap is mostly filled in, caulk the remaining areas to seal the doggy door to the surface of the people door. It’s best to use a pet door with a flexible flap whenever there’s a chance that the surface isn’t perfectly flat. The reason is, rigid flaps can easily bind in their frames if there is any mis-alignment, whereas flexible flaps are more forgiving. Here is a link to some solutions to common installation problems on our site.
Here are a few pictures to give you a better idea of where to place your doggy dog in this situation, or check them out on our website for more detailed information:
Q: I have Bernese Mountain Dogs and Great Danes, is there a pet door specifically for Extra Large Breeds?
A: The Extra Large version of the Endura Flap is a viable option, at 12"w x 23"h. Also Hale makes a Giant size at 15-1/2"w x 27-1/2"h as well as custom dimension dog doors if you have very specific needs. There are more economical options, although they tend to be less durable, like the Ideal Super Large Ruff Weather or the PetSafe Freedom. Ultimately, we suggest that you measure them and choose the brand that would be the most suitable. You can find out how to measure your pet accordingly here.
Q: What if I need a specific size door that will fit in an existing hole or specific area?
A: In this situation we would recommend Hale Custom Dimension Pet Door for Doors because with a custom dimension door it makes it easier to fit an existing hole rather than making your existing hole fit a different sized pet door.
Q: What is a 4-way lock?
A: These locks allow 4 settings and are only available on the pet doors with rigid flaps.
In-Only - When the cat comes in, they cannot go back out again. One possible use would be a case where you want the cat in at night. You set the pet door for "in only" in the evening.
Out-Only - When the pet goes out, they cannot come back in again. A possible use for this setting would be a case where you want the pet out during the day. You'd set the flap on "out only" in the morning.
Locked - This setting allows no entry or exit.
Open - This setting allows the pet to go in and out freely in both directions.
Q: What are the best pet doors for extreme weather?
A: The Patio Pacific Endura Door with the double flap option is one of the highest performing for extreme weather. The Hale models in the double flap version seal well for a flexible vinyl type and are easier to open for timid or weak pets.
Q: Is installation of a dog door in a ‘people’ door easy?
A: That highly depends on the type of door, surface material and your handy skills. Please refer to the installation instructions for your specific product in order to help understand the difficulty of the installation. These can usually be found on the product page under the “Installation Instructions” tab. We also provide resources that can help locate an installer for your product.
Q: I want a crystal clear flap, which doors can I get?
A: Hale would be a good choice for more severe weather, although if you were looking for something with a little less insulating capability or are on a budget the Ideal Ruff Weather, Ideal Original or the Ideal Deluxe models could work for you.
Q: I want a double flap door that isn't $300 for my large dog, what would you suggest?
A: The Petsafe Extreme Weather or Ideal RuffWeather are good economical choices.
Q: Does it matter how thick the door is?
A: Every self-framing pet door has an adjustment range that indicates the thinnest and the thickest doors it can be installed in. If you go too thin, the pet door is loose and prevents it from fully fitting into the hole in the door, creating more room for moisture and potential damage to the door. If you go too thick, the inside and outside frames do not meet leaving your inside rough cut out exposed.. So it is important to measure the thickness of the material that the pet door will go into before hand and make sure that figure is inside the range of the pet door you are considering. Each self-framing pet door on this site shows this adjustment range in the “Details” section on each specific product page.
Note that you can always shim out the opening if the door is too thin. Clever work with a router can fix the case where the door is too thick.
Q: What pet doors can I use for my thin storm door?
A: We highly recommend the Patio Pacific Endura Flap for a storm door, as it can frame down to ½” in the single flap version. If insulation isn’t a concern or you need it to go just a bit thinner, then we recommend the PetSafe brand in the Freedom or Plastic versions. If you are interested in a rigid flap, you can take a look at the Dogmate.
Q: How thin can the material I install in be? Can I put it in the kick panel of a screen door?
A: Nearly every self-framing pet door will fit the “standard” interior door dimension (1 ⅜ “) and the “standard” exterior door dimension (1 ¾”). A few high-end exterior doors now are 2 ¼” and a few pet doors will accommodate that (such as the Endura Flap). Likewise, many pet doors will adjust to quite thin dimensions. Several cat doors start at zero!
For your screen door kick panel the ideal adjustment range would go to zero since your metal may be a little less than 1/16”. If you need to, of course, you can use thin shims around the hole you cut to get the necessary thickness. Be sure you leave enough door framing top and bottom for the strength of the door.
Q: Where can I find the size hole that I need to cut in my door for this pet door?
A: When browsing for specific pet doors, there will be a Size Chart tab that will list what we call the “rough cut out dimension” that is needed to determine the size that needs to be cut in your existing door. The one for the Endura Flap is listed below. However, we really recommend that you hold off on making any cuts in your people door as pretty much all of them will come with instructions and templates to make the installation easier.
Q: Does it matter what material my people door is made out of?
A: In most situations, as long as your door material is sturdy enough to support the installation of the pet door then it does not matter what material the door is made out of. You will also want to make sure that your door is the appropriate thickness for the pet door you are planning to install. However, one situation where it does matter is if your door is made out of metal and your pet door you are trying to install is an electronic door. In this case, you may have a problem with the functionality of your pet door. This type of situation would require a wooden frame between the door and pet door, and the special instructions for installation would help guide you through this process.
Q: Are any of these pet doors fire-rated or okay to use on my fire door?
A: No, pet doors are not fire rated, but can be installed into a fire door so long as you can cut a hole in that door. Please consult your insurance agency before installing a pet door into a fire door.
Q: Do all pet doors have the option of having double flaps?
Q: What if I want to close the door at night, how can I do that?
A: Most doggie doors (with the exception of kennel use type doors) will come with some way to close it off when not in use. The more common types are the “slide in” closing covers, such as with the Endura Flap Pet Doors. These ones will slide in from top to bottom. The electronic door option can be programmed to be opened and closed at certain times. A neat feature of the Hale is that they offer a “side load” option in case there is something above the pet door like a window sill. This way you can actually slide the cover in from the left or the right side. The Plexidor has a keyed lock in the medium, large, and XLarge sizes, and an aluminum cover that you can screw on if you are away for a longer period of time for extra security. The Carlson doors also have a knob that you turn to lock up the flap and the separate aluminum cover.
Q: What is the thickest my door can be before I need a wall mount instead?
A: Over 2" is generally when you'd want a wall mount.
Q: What are more economy style doors if I’m not too concerned with insulation?
Q: What doors can I get that come in colors?
Q: My dog won't push on a flap. Do you have a dog door that would work?
A: Any of the motorized doggie doors would be good in this situation, including the Plexidor Electronic Dog Door or the >High Tech Automated Power Pet Door. These actually have flaps that slide up and allow your pet to go through without having to manually push open a flap.
Q: What is a side load option on dog doors?
A: A locking cover that slides in through the side of the frame instead of from the top. This avoids the problem of overhang above the dog door which could interfere with the operation of a locking cover like the Hale.
Hale: Side Locking Cover Vs. Top Locking Cover
Q: I would like a cat door for indoor use for a litter box going into the closet, doesn't need a flap so what would you recommend?
A: We recommend the Cathole for Interior Wood Doors, which does not have a flap and offers a arch-shaped wood frame.
Q: I don't have a dog, I have a cat. Which door can I use?
A: You can use the same generally flexible flap models of smaller dog doors or you can go with the cat doors that have the more rigid or polycarbonate flaps like the Cat-Mate 235 or 221 Large Cat Door.
Q: What do you think is a good simple door for a large cat?
Q: What makes the Endura Kennel doors different from the regular door mounts?
A: The kennel door is a stripped down version of our regular door mount. We don’t include the external trim frame, the installation hardware, template, weather stripping, hole plugs to hide the screw heads, and the locking cover assembly (can be added if desired). These also come in cases of two and some quantity discounts are available.
Q: What is a double flap pet door?
A: A double flap has two flaps, usually one on the inside and a second one on the outside of the house. It’s a great idea for extreme weather conditions, both hot and cold. For the harshest climates we suggest the Endura.
Q: I have a Great Dane and an 8 pound Yorkie. What dog door should I get?
A: Hale offers doors that are great for large and small dogs sharing because the flap is easy to push and giant sized doors are offered. Another option would be to get an electronic dog door so that your 8 pound Yorkie isn't trying to push open a Great Dane sized flap. You want to make sure that you measure both pets to get the size that comfortably fits both pets. You don’t want the step over too high or the flap too low so the big dog is left having to crouch.