How to Build a Dog Door to Keep out the Cold

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Dog doors can be considered essential pieces of equipment when dealing with "man's best friend" and their need for the great outdoors. Basically, dog doors were invented so dog owners could allow their pets to venture outside or from room to room uninhibited, while keeping their homes closed off to intruders. One major problem with dog doors is that unless they are designed correctly, they can allow cold air to enter the house during the winter. Building a dog door that keeps the cold out is fairly easy and can be accomplished by any novice carpenter.

Things You'll Need

  • 1-inch pine trim boards
  • 1/4-inch plywood
  • Jigsaw
  • Foam-insulation board
  • Razor blade
  • Glue
  • Small magnets
  • Scrap steel
  • Screws
  • Hinges
  • Screw gun
  • Determine the location of the proposed dog door. A place in the middle of an existing door is normally best and easiest to work with.

  • Use the jigsaw to cut a hole appropriately sized for your dog (i.e., the larger the dog, the larger the hole will need to be).

  • Build a frame around the hole you just cut with the pine trim boards.

  • Cut a piece of the plywood to match the hole you cut in the door. This will serve as the dog door. Lay the plywood door on the foam insulation and use the razor blade to cut around the perimeter of the door. Glue the foam insulation onto the plywood door, and then install the hinges onto the plywood portion of the door.

  • Glue the magnets on the opposite side of the plywood door as the hinges, and then mount the scrap steel in the bottom of the hole you cut in the normal door. Use the included hardware to attach the hinges on the plywood door to the top of the hole in the normal door, so you have a swinging plywood dog door. The magnets will catch on the scrap steel metal and hold the door closed when it is not in use, and since you insulated the dog door, a minimal amount of cold air will be able to get in the house.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can paint the trim and other wooden parts of this door to match existing trim in your house to give it a "finished" look.
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