By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Once you've given your pet his or her own entrance, there's no turning back. Our cats, Pete and Repete, got so accustomed to going in and out at their own whim that we had to install another door when we moved to a new house. As with the first, it took some getting used to, but once they sniffed and sensed it was their own, their private entrance got continued use.
The door is a frame fastened in a small, medium or large size cut-out opening depending on the weight and height of the pet. You'll find pet doors at pet stores, home stores and online. Some of them are a basic framed opening with a rubber flap the pet pushes through to get in or out. More elaborate doors contain a lock for additional security overnight or when the door is not in use.
A handyman will charge $121 to install a good quality-medium size pet door in a wooden door which includes the labor and material, but you can make the installation for $48, the cost of the unit. It's a good first-time project for a budding do-it-yourselfer because the tools required are basic and it's an easy job to accomplish. You use a handsaw to cut a hole using a paper template taped to the door, and then install the screws provided with the door using a drill and screwdriver.
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Here's how-to instructions from wikiHow Install a Pet Door.
Timewise, figure it'll take you about two and a half hours to install a pet door. Take your time because remember, you're cutting a hole in the door, and you don't want to make a miscut.
The size range of pet doors is pretty extensive. A popular model found at large home centers carries these sizes: Small 5-in. by 8-in.; Medium 7-in. by 11 in.; Large 10 ½-in. by 15-in.; and Extra Large 15-in. by 20-in. Here’s the tricky part, measure your pet when he/she is standing. All you need is a rough estimate in inches of how high and wide the pet is to determine what size pet door opening will work. The pet door at our house is a Medium size. Repete is trim and slim and Pete is stubby stout, but they both fit through the door easily.
The bottom line: compare the price of a contractor’s bid to install a pet door with what it costs to do it yourself and make your decision. You adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020