A sliding door is still associated with shopping malls and business centers rather than with homes. However, you cannot deny that a sliding door is not only comfortable but also looks amazing. You push a button on the remote control, and the door slides to open. One more push of a button and the door closes. Or you can install a sensor to make the door open and close automatically when a person approaches it. It sounds very attractive, doesn’t it? However, there is one major obstacle: the price. Sliding doors are very expensive. Another obstacle is the quality of ready sliding doors: if they are within the budget of an average person, they don’t look attractive. But these details shall not make you give up your dream. You can remake your usual door into a sliding one with some tools and a couple of linear actuators. Here is Sliding Door Installation Guide
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How to Install a Sliding Door: Step-by-Step Instructions
First of all, decide where you need the door. If the installation is completely new, you need to make an opening for the door first. If you are going to remake an existing door, just move on with the installation itself.
Start with purchasing linear actuators. You can pick one on the website of a reliable manufacturing company, there is no need to run shops in the search for the best tool. Before purchasing the very first item that you see, check the following parameters:
- The stroke length: the actuator shall be able to open and close the door completely. If the stroke length isn’t sufficient, using the door will be not so convenient if possible at all.
- The power: actuators shall be able to pull and push the door. They shall not get stuck if an obstacle is met.
- Noise generation level: while this feature might be not crucial in some cases, you still don’t want to make too much noise when opening/closing the door. However, if you are going to install it inside of the house or flat, say, if it is going to be the door of your room, too much noise might be bothering for other family members, especially at night. Thus, pay attention to this feature, too.
Now, when the actuator or actuators are purchased, you can start with the installation itself.
Prepare the door. If you are going to use your old door, you just need to fix the openings left from nails. If you want to buy a new door, check its size. You can calculate it accurately in the following way:
- Remove the existing door casing.
- Locate the studs in the door opening.
- Take horizontal and vertical measurements. These are the measurements for your new door. It might happen that you will get different values because the walls aren’t done properly. In such a case, take the smallest measurements. For example, if the measured width value is 80 and 81 inches, use 80 inches for the door width.
- Prepare the opening. Use shims to ensure the most secure fit.
- Prepare a piece of drip edge. Its size equals the size of the opening. Apply caulk to the edge. Attach it to between the house wrap and your siding.
- Make the sill pan. Add caulk on the bottom part of the opening. Press the sill pan into the caulk.
Position the door. Here is the guide on how to do it.
- Start fixing the door into the opening.
- First, tilt the door in the opening with the bottom side. For additional security, use shims.
- Place shims under the screw holes.
- Place shims at the distance of 12 inches one from another around the door frame edges and its top.
- Now, drive the finishing nails from inside outward. Make sure they pass through the shim. The nail heads shall be countersunk.
- Finally, secure the threshold to the door, use screws to do it.
- Trim the shims and fill in the openings with expanding foam or silicone with sealing tape.
- When the door is installed, fix an actuator above it and attach the moving actuator side to the door. Now, it will open and close the door automatically.
If you believe that the actuator spoils the look, consider hiding it under a frame or décor element.
Installing a sliding door isn’t an easy task in itself. If you want an automated sliding door, the task becomes even more complicated. But with a proper guide, top-quality items, some skills, and good tools, you can manage it. Be ready to invest some time in the project.
In most cases, especially if you don’t have experience with such things, you might need the help of somebody else, even if it will be needed just to hold the door or any other item. All in all, the project isn’t among the easiest. But in return, you will enjoy a perfectly installed automated sliding door.