A window pet door can be a great alternative to installing a pet door in an exterior door. One benefit of building a window pet door is that there will be no evidence in your house door that you have a pet.
Before designing your door, measure your pet so that you know how big the door should be.
Step 1 - Examine the Window the Pet Door Will be Fitted Into
Check the window into which you want to install the pet door to ensure that there is enough room in the bottom pane. It is also a good idea to check how sound the window is. An animal passing to and fro is going to create extra strain on the window.
Step 2 - Make a Board to Fit in Place of the Window Pane
It is not wise to fit a pet door into standard window glass. Start by cutting out a board that can replace the glass. It needs to be exactly the same size as the glass and the same thickness if possible.
Step 3 - Mark the Outline for the Door
Mark on the board the outline shape of the door. Cut the shape into the board by drilling a hole in each corner of the shape and using a jig saw.
Step 4 - Check That Your Pet Can Get Through the Hole
Before going any further make sure that your pet can get through the hole. Testing at this stage will not only confirm that the hole is big enough but also introduce your pet to the door at an early stage. This can make it much easier to train your pet to use the door when it is finished.
Step 5 - Make the Pet Door Hinge
The easiest way to make a pet door hinge with motion in both directions is to use a strip of very heavy duty polythene. This material is remarkably durable and does not tear easily if you ensure that the grain of the polythene is vertical to the door.
Step 6 - Find the Grain in the Polythene
Polythene sheeting will tear in one direction only. With a piece of polythene cut off the piece you will be using for the pet door hinge. Hold it between two pairs of pliers and try to stretch it. If the polythene does stretch you will see that it will do so from two sides of the stretch. The grain is at 90º to the direction in which the polythene stretches.
Step 7 - Frame the Hole
Using strips of wood build a neat frame around the hole you cut for the pet door. Connect the frame to the board with adhesive and small nuts and bolts fitted with large washers. You will need to clamp the wood to the board and drill the holes for the nuts and bolts. Make sure you connect the frame to the side of the board that will be on the outside of the sash. This means that there will be no interference with the normal operation of the sash window. The wheels will still turn and you will have the benefit of sliding glass for ventilation.
Step 8 - The Top of the Frame
Make sure that you place your strip of polythene along the top of the frame and that it is held in place by the frame and adhesive.
Step 9 - Attach the Door Flap
The door flap will be attached to the polythene hinge with adhesive and whatever connectors are suitable. A thin plywood door, for example, could be attached with adhesive and staples from a stapling gun. Make sure the flap is free to move backwards and forwards through the maximum arc. Note that larger animals work better with a rigid door flap because they can see outside as soon as they raise the flap. A flexible flap will cover their eyes until they are through the door.
Step 10 - Finish Off
The door can be finished by grinding down the ends of the nuts to the level of the bolts. This makes for a much neater finish. Seal and paint the woodwork to match the door.
Step 11 - Fit Brush Strips
Drafts can be minimized by fitting brush strips around the inside of the pet door frame. The pet door is now finished.
Step 12 - Remove the Window Pane
Remove the glass window pane and clean off all the old putty and grit from the window frame to give the board a good seating.
Step 13 - Setting for the Board
Before setting the board in the window put a bead of silicone sealer all around where the board is going to be fitted. This will give better adhesion and add water proofing.
Step 14 - Fit the Board into the Window Frame
Place the board into the window frame and press it home firmly. You can use fine wire nails to secure it to the frame. Apply window putty around the edge of the board and finish it off neatly. Let the putty dry before introducing your pet to the pet door.
All you need to do now is to introduce your pet to the new way in and out of the house and make sure it has safe access to the window both indoors and out.
Justin Stewart is a contributing writer to DoItYourself.com. He loves researching new home improvement techniques, and has written about a huge range of topics, from electrical wiring, to plumbing, to carpentry.
H.R. Helm is an accomplished DIY craftsman. He has been DIY since childhood and is now a septuagenarian. He is experienced in wood and metal construction, having designed and built several houses and metal buildings. He built every permanent building on his current homestead and did all the plumbing and electrical work.
He has several years experience as a professional cabinet builder, and he is an accomplished auto repairman, having operated an auto repair business for many years. He currently has a home shop where he sharpens and rebuilds saws, repairs lawn mowers, mobility scooters, hydraulic jacks, and anything else that comes along. He also builds custom tools for metal working.
Invention prototypes are another of his many accomplishments. He owned and operated a manufacturing business building Compact Utility Vehicles for homeowner use. H.R. enjoys making jams and jellies during fruit season along with cooking meals. He is committed to outdoor cooking in a Bar-B-Q pit he welded together several years ago. He maintains fruit and nut trees along with helping his wife with a vegetable garden. He farmed commercial garden produce for several years. It helps to have over 50 years of farming and ranching experience.
ASE Certified Master Auto Technician
Cross country truck driver -- over dimensional freight
Design Engineer/Project Manager for injection molded plastic company
Bus Driver/Substitute Teacher
Inventor with two patents (weight training &ndash; anti-rollback for manual wheelchair)
BS in Industrial Technology