How to Build Your Own Pet Door

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Anyone who has ever had a pet that demands to be let in and out of the house seventeen times a day knows how irritating it is, especially since your pet deliberately waits until you are in the middle of some project. The best solution is to build a pet door so that your pet can come and go whenever it wants. The good news is that not only is building a pet flap easy, it can be done for under $60.

Things You'll Need

  • Mats--the rear mats for car floors are ideal for this project
  • 5/8 x 6 inch strip of medium gage metal
  • 5/8 x 8 inch strip of medium gage metal
  • l/16 x 1/2 inch magnetic ribbon-this should be cut so that they measure 5-7/8 and 7-1/2 inches long
  • 6 x 36 inch piece of canvas
  • 1/8 x 3/4 x 11-1/2 inch aluminum strip
  • 1-1/8 inch corner molding--this needs to be 40 inches long
  • 4 metal offset clips- 1/16 x 1/2 x 1-1/4 inches
  • 1/8 x 7-1/4 x 11 inch Masonite or hardboard
  • 38 panhead wood screws-
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • 3/4 inch hole saw
  • Keyhole saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Windshield cement
  • Scissors
  • Jigsaw
  • Determine how large a pet door you will need to build. The size of your pet door will be determined by the size of your pet. Cats and small dogs can go through a much smaller door than a Great Dane. 13-1/2 x 16 inch is the typical size of a small pet door, while ones for large breeds of dogs should measure 16 x 28 inches. Another thing you have to consider is the strength of your pet. A small cat will not be able to get through a screen door that is made with a heavy mat.

  • Using your tools, cut a rectangular hole into the lower half of your door.

  • Cut your rubber mats into a rectangle. When you are cutting the mats keep in mind that they want to be slightly smaller then the hole you will be cutting into your wall. After you have cut the mats, you need to glue the mats together. Only glue along the perimeter.

  • Place the short magnetic strip along the lip of the mat that will face the inside of your home. Once you have it aligned, use glue to fasten it in place.

  • Fasten both of the metal strips to the interior side of the flap that will be outside. When this is done you should use the windshield cement to attach the flap to the door’s core. When you are attaching the fabric to the door you want to make sure that you give yourself an inch overlap on the top and several inches at the bottom.

  • Align the mats with the hole in the door. Before you fasten the mat in place make sure that the interior flap is able to be pushed aside. Place your wood screws all around the mats perimeter, positioning each wood screw approximately 3 inches apart.

  • Drill holes through your aluminum strip. The holes should be spaced 2-1/4 inches apart and they should be 11/64 inches in diameter. Attach the strip to the upper edge of the hole. The aluminum will act as a rip stop.

  • Cover the exposed fabric at the bottom of the opening by gluing one of the magnetic strips across it. This is the final step in making your exterior pet flap, all that remains is finishing the interior part of the pet door.

  • Use two offset clips at the lower and upper sides of the interior pet door. These clips are going to hold the hardboard panel in place. All you have to do is slide it behind the clips and your pet door is ready to be used.

Tips & Warnings

  • One of the things you need to consider when you are purchasing your materials is that rubber mats are more prone to tear then ones made out of vinyl.

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