Can We Enlarge the Patio Door Opening?

Wanting to Upgrade Our Patio Door

Whether you are able to enlarge the patio door isn’t really the question. The real question is, “how much will it cost?” No matter what you have planned, going from a single to a double French door or updating that old slider for sleek folding glass doors, the cost involved is directly related to if the wall is load-bearing or not.

A load-bearing wall supports the weight of the roof. When the wall you’re putting a large hole in supports a lot of weight, there are additional structural factors that need to be taken into consideration. This is where you bring in a structural engineer to determine what type of building materials need to be used and to advise on the appropriate building permits.

If you are not a DIYer on this scale, it is recommended you hire a structural engineer to file the permits and to suggest a professional contractor to enlarge the door opening and install the door. That leaves plenty of time for you, the client, to pick out the new door for the contractor to order. The goal is to the get the permits approved around the same time the door package arrives from the manufacturer. This is less about careful planning and has more to do with blind luck. Planning the project out completely before actually starting will save you heartache in the end.

To Enlarge the Patio Door:

To begin, the contractor will get rid of the wall where the new door will go from stud to stud. Then, take off all the sheetrock, trim, baseboards and crown moulding and remove all the insulation from inside the exterior wall. He will check for electrical and plumbing inside the wall. If there is electrical and /or plumbing, they will need to be re-routed by professionals in their respective trades. Electrical and plumbing changes can be costly.

Before cutting through the outside wall, the contractor may opt to put up some kind of temporary weather shield to protect your home from the elements until the door installation is complete.

The contractor will then saw through the outside wall. Sawing through the exterior wall can be tricky depending on the substrate of the wall. The old door hinges and frame will need to be removed as well. The header of the old door will need to be replaced by a new laminated veneer header that spans the distance of the entire new doorway on newly installed trimmers or jack studs. (See diagram)

The door is finally ready to be installed and then finishing work on both the inside and outside walls is completed. It is, of course, more detailed than that for the contractor, but that gives you a quick run down of what to expect from the process. While installing new glass doors to enlarge the patio door, consider upgrading the door further by adding a dog door. PlexiDor Dog Doors Glass Series inserts come in a range of pre-fabricated sizes ready for installation. They are a wonderful aesthetically pleasing addition to any remodel and are energy efficient, guaranteed and warrantied. Contact our Customer Service for questions or call 888-PETDOOR with any questions. We are always happy to help!