Since we got a house mainly for Sketch, he was kind of disappointed when he didn’t see a working dog door. We could sense his angst, and it came to a head when he ate a whole wheel of cheese and pooped in the refrigerator. So to make this home just as awesome and useful for him as it is for us, we decided to get some sharp tools and put the fun in functional with a shiny new dog door.
We chose the large size PetSafe door because it was designed to go through a wall, it has two well sealed heavy rubber flaps, and came with a built in locking slider door to close it off when not in use. And also because Sketch approved. He was the project manager, after all.
The first things we needed were the right tools: A jigsaw for cutting through the inside wall of the laundry room, a reciprocating saw (sawzall) for cutting through the outside of the house, a 2×4 for the inner tunnel support, some saw horses to cut on, and also I grabbed some bacon strips for the project manager. Read more >>
The first part of this process was locating the studs. We were able to see the studs because of the visible nails holding the cement fiber board up. To verify we used an electronic stud finder, which you just place against the wall, and slowly slide horizontally until the red light comes on.
Next, I measured the height for the dog door based on our project manager’s shoulder height,
and then drew out a guide where the hole would be cut. Before making the big hole though, I cut a small inspection hole (just big enough to get a tiny flash light in) and peaked around to make sure I wasn’t about to slash electric or plumbing lines.
With all the prep work done and a clean inspection, I broke out the jigsaw and started getting jiggy with it.
I followed the guidelines and made sure not to cut into the studs at all by taking it slow and steady. I discovered that with a jigsaw, you must let the blade completely stop moving before you try and pull back from the wall. If not, you could screw up the blade, or a good part of the wall.
The dog door came with a paper template that served as a guide for drilling through to the outer wall. These holes were then used to line up the template on the outside wall and pencil in the cut lines.
So basically from here I just repeated the process from the inside wall. The only real difference on the outside was that I had to cut the cedar siding, which was a lot less flat than the inside wall. So I had to use a sawzall rather than the jigsaw. Of course, I double checked the guidelines with a level and some test drill holes to find the studs from the outside, and then let loose with sawzall.
This part actually went a lot smoother than I expected, which made the project manager and myself pretty happy.
The tunnel part of the dog door needed a bit of extra support since the project manager will be putting his weight on it, and its no secret that he loves the bacon strips. So I broke out my circular saw and some saw horses and made short work of a 2×4.
I wedged it into place and used a hammer to start the screws on each side, then a power drill to do the rest of the work.
The hole was all prepped and the actual installation was easy from here. I placed each side of the dog door snugly in the wall and slammed some long wood screws into the studs for an incredibly sturdy and well sealed dog door.
After securing both sides, this is our final product. If you look closely at the edge of the dog door you will see that I used some of the extra siding behind the side flange of the dog door where the screws go in. This is to give the sides of the dog door something to sit on when the screws are tightened down because there is a bit of a gap due to the fact that it is sitting on this siding. Honestly the best way to install this would probably have been to cut the cedar siding back and let the dog door flange sit directly on the inner board behind the siding. This would eliminate the gap on the edges and would probably look a bit better as the door would be flush with the siding. Either way, this is working great for now, and we will see how it performs in the more extreme seasons. Check out Sketch’s inaugural dog door run below.