Screen Door - Backyard
Doggy Door in Wrought Iron Door
Frame that had s-p-r-e-a-d
May 6 - 14, 2014
This particular wrought iron
screen door has several issues that differ from the
other screen doors on this house. First off,
it is not used as a screen door with a screen.
The other obvious item is the doggy door cut into
the wrought iron. I looked all over the web for
someone else that has done this. Again, nada.
Back when we bought the house we only had one dog.
He was an older dog who had lived in nothing but
apartments his entire life, where he had to be taken
out to take care of his business. Now that we
had a house with a protected backyard, we wanted to
give him the freedom to take care of business...
when he wanted to.
Inside of backyard screen door
So we decided to
installed a doggy door. The problem
was, where to put it.
Each outside door of this house has two
doors. A regular outside door and an
outer wrought iron screen door. If we
installed the doggy door on the regular
door, the screen door would need to stay
open all the time or be removed. Well,
leaving it open was not practical and
removing the wrought iron door would remove
the additional security we had on this
My husband came up with the idea of cutting
out the wrought iron for the door at the
bottom, using metal strips to provide a
frame, and then installing the doggy door.
This would mean that the regular entrance
door would be open all of the time. For
security, this was OK because we would just
lock the deadbolt on the screen door.
Later he added the blue tarp to help
insulate this door from wind, heat, and
cold. When we want to keep the dogs in
the house, we just close the regular door.
Now in 2014, I will be fixing some issues with
These issues are:
1) The doggy door flaps need to be replaced. 15
years of abuse and slobber will do it.
2) The doggy door frame needs to be replaced.
3) The wood that the metal door frame is mounted
on, has shrunk and shifted so the frame has
spread to the point that the door knob latch
barely sits in the strike hole (no plate, just a
hole in wrought iron).
4) The wrought iron needs to be painted
5) The blue tarp has to GO.
6) The metal strips that
are holding the tarp on, need to be painted to
match the door or removed.
7) The door threshold needs to be fixed into
place. It is currently loose.
Outside of backyard screen door
Wood holding frame has weathered and shrunk. It is
also recessed behind the door frame.
The first thing I did was to go
online and look for the doggy door that needed to be
replaced. Just replacing the flaps was an
option. What I soon discovered, was that our
Pet Safe door, was now a discontinued model (of
course!!!!). I was afraid to just order a
replacement flap because frankly I was not sure it
would fit correctly. So I just decided to
order a whole new doggy door.
Pride Pet Door (smaller size than I bought)
I was pleasantly surprised to find a model that had
different color frames.
The Pride brand of pet doors comes in five
different frame colors and is supposed to
fit thin door surfaces like sheet metal.
So I ordered on May 4, 2014, the large pet
door in a black frame from
The Pet Door Store.
They had the best price with shipping than a
couple of other websites. $74.95 + $12.50
I wanted the black frame to match the color
of the door frame. The existing white
frame is the first thing you see when you
look at this door. Also, it looks dirty all
of the time.
The next item I looked for
online, was a material to replace the blue tarp.
While the blue tarp has kept the door somewhat
insulated, the screen door still looses a lot of
heat during the winter. During hard freezes, I
need to close the door and just let the dogs out
every few hours.
I thought of some thick 6mm plastic but wanted
something a bit more rigid. I thought of the
clear polycarbonate I used on my
entrance way window
but wanted something opaque so the door looks black
from the outside, like the other screen doors when I
changed the screens. The material needed to be
durable, rigid, and thin.
I looked online at expanded PVC sheets. The
$150.00 shipping charge made this an unreasonable
choice. At the minimum, I needed a sheet 31" x
80" to cover the door. Even cut down to this
size, the shipping was the same. There is a
company in town that sells a variety of industrial
plastic products so I took a trip to the east side
of town to Piedmont Plastics. Looking at their
sample pieces, I decided on a totally different
material. Also, they would of had to special
order the black expanded PVC I had originally wanted. I did
not want to have to come back.
The material I actually purchased was ABS. (Acrylonitrile
butadiene styrene) a material used to make car
parts, cases for computers, Legos, etc. It is thin but
impact resistant. It's color will fade over
time, but I can then paint it. It was also
thin enough for this door, but rigid enough so it
will keep the weather out and stand up to dogs
possibly clawing it. The salesman said that it
would cut easily with my table saw.
I will cut the ABS when the dog door arrives, so I know
what size of opening I will need to cut.
Primed wood moulding wedged into recessed edge
around metal door frame
In the meantime, I decided to
address the issue with the door frame and
the shrinking wood.
What I did not like about this wrought iron
door was how the wood for the frame is sunk
in. Not only does this allow water to
collect, it is a pain to caulk and paint.
All of the other wrought iron doors at this
house, were mounted on wood that was mounted
ON TOP of the door frame.
I knew I would have a heck of a time
scrapping and sanding this wood to prepare it for
I came up with the idea of bringing the door
What if I inserted some wood moulding into
the sunk-in sections around the iron frame
to make the wood frame look like it is
around the iron frame.
This would; 1) Hide the ugliness of the old
wood, 2) Provide an easier raised surface to
caulk and paint, 3) Squeeze the metal door
frame inward a little so that contact with
the door latch would be increased.
I picked up some 1-3/4" x 11/16
moulding at the hardware store. I chiseled off
raised areas on the old wood and got rid of some
excess caulking so my new wood would lay flat.
The top piece went in easily. I only had to shave off about 1/8" to
wedge it into the opening. The side pieces
were different widths. The uneven brick
surface did not help. After several trips back
and forth to my table saw, I managed to tweak the
wood size to be able to wedge the moulding into each
side of the frame.
I then nailed the moulding into the old wood with
finishing nails. It came out great. I
will sand down the wrought iron before I caulk and
paint the wood. It also squeezed the metal door
frame towards the center so the door now closes
better with greater contact for the door latch.
May 9 - 12, 2014 - The dog door arrived on
Friday, May 9, 2014. I took it out of the box
to see what I had to work with. Two pieces.
The outside section with the flap and a thin inside
I took a look at the existing white frame to see if
I could just stick the new door on the existing
frame. A big fat NO. I asked my husband
how he had built the existing frame. It was
actually a smaller frame mounted on a larger frame.
The screw placement for the old frame did not match
So I took off all of the white frames.
Now I had a big hole that was too large for the new
door. What do I do now?
I needed to make a new frame for the new dog door.
In my garage I have a scrap metal pile that I plan
to eventually recycle. In that pile is some
wrought iron. I found a piece that still had
1" square rails and cut off two pieces. I used my Dremel Saw Max for this with the metal cutting
blade. These would be my side rails to mount the
To mount them was another story. I first tried
screwing it to the piece of sheet metal that goes
across the bottom of the door about 2 feet up.
But there was nothing to support the two rails on
the bottom. The wrought iron is hollow.
I tried Liquid Nails but it fell apart. I
needed something solid to attach the bottom of the
I had a a 1" x 1" piece of wood that I cut to fit
the bottom of the opening. I then used Liquid
nails to stick it to the bottom rail of the door.
I then bolted the two side to the beam. I also
added a wood beam to where the top of the new dog
door would rest.
I additionally needed to drill through to the other
side of the wrought iron at the top and bolt all the
way through the metal. The one thing with
metal, screws do not hold for long in a high stress
area. You need to use a bolt and nut through the
Holes were drilled through the wrought iron and into
the edges of the wood. 2 1/2" screws are
holding it in place.
The new door frame is very solid now. See the
new frame in the photo below.
New dog door frame added to the bottom of the door.
With the new dog door frame
securely in place, it was time to cut and screw the
ABS sheet on the door. I cut the ABS sheet on
my table saw. The cuts needed around the door
knobs and dog door opening were done by hand with a
metal scissor type cutter. After positioning the sheet, I
drilled holes through the sheet and used screws to
hold it in place.
Notes on cutting this ABS sheet on a table saw.
Find someone to help you. To do it by yourself
is a pain. The sheet kept flopping around.
I had it sitting on top of my two trash/recycle bins
to keep it stable as I ripped it through the saw.
You could also try laying it flat on some plywood,
level with your table saw. I did not have any
ABS sheet added to inside section of door.
I had placed some white PVC trim around the dog door
opening, but have
decided not to use it, which is why it looks white
around the edge.
Now that I had the ABS sheet on,
it was time to work on the outside of the door.
Since the old dog door frame was larger, there were
2 sections of the wrought iron that had gaps.
I needed to fill the gaps with something, so they
would meet the new frame.
Gaps in wrought iron that needed to be filled
What I did to fill the gap, was
to use some scrap PVC trim board. I cut the
pieces to fit in the gap exactly and wedged it in
with a hammer.
Gap in wrought iron filled with scrap PVC trim board
After sanding down the metal on
the door and filling a bunch of old holes in the
wrought iron, I was ready to paint the outside of
the door. The photo below shows the outside of
the door with the first coat of paint. Because
the salesman told me the ABS would fade in sunlight,
I decided to paint the sheet on this side at the
same time as the wrought iron.
Outside of wrought iron door with first coat of
May 13 - 14, 2014 - After the first coat of paint had
dried on the outside of the door, I attached the dog
door. The door only has six mounting holes .
Three on each side. None on the top or the bottom.
I knew that the little tiny screws included with the
dog door would not be strong enough for this set-up.
I needed to make the holes large to attach my larger
bolts and screws that would go 1) through the dog
door frame, 2) the entire piece of wrought iron, and
3) through the ABS sheet on the inside of the door.
Dog door attached to the outside of wrought iron
door. Three bolts each on left and right sides
of the dog door on the inside after installation
The one thing that bothers me about
manufacturers who DO make metal products in
darker colors. They forget to make
everything the darker color. The screws,
the metal edges, etc. You will have this
beautiful dark piece of hardware with shiny
silver screws. Grrr.
In the picture above, they did use six black
screws to mount the flap on the top, but used silver bolts
on the bottom section of the frame. Also,
the metal frame was painted, THEN cut. So
the edges of the cuts are silver. All of
which I will need to paint.
The photo on the left shows the dog door as seen
on the inside of the door.
There are a few problems here.
First off, the dog door mounting bolts are too
close to the edge of the door. Potential
dog hazard here if all of the dogs are trying to
get out at the same time.
Also, the metal strip at the top that holds the
screws for the dog flap can be seen. On a
regular door, this metal strip would be hidden.
I needed to cover the mounting bolts and conceal the
The frame that came with the door would not do
any of this, so I did not use it. Besides
it is a thin aluminum piece that has a sharp
edges to it.
So I decided to make a frame out of some PVC
moulding. On the side pieces, the PVC would be
carved away on the back where the bolts are, so
it would lay flat. I would lower the top
of the frame so it would conceal the flap
holding strip from view.
The frame was then spray painted.
Frame for inside of dog door made from PVC
Completed inside of wrought iron door with
installed dog door and frame
The top and bottom sections of the frame are
nailed into the wood cross beams on the frame.
The side pieces were glued in the corners where
they meet the top and bottom of frame.
With the frame in place, the mounting bolt edges
are now covered. The lower frame at the
top conceals the flap mounting strip.
A plus side to this mounting, is that the flap
can be changed without removing the outer frame.
On a traditional door, you need to remove the
outside frame to mount a replacement flap.
Before hanging the door back up, I needed to
paint the surround door frame and wrought iron.
The photo on left shows the completed door on
The wrought iron is completely covered.
The only area where air can get in, is on the
edges of the door where I will use some type of
The photo on the right shows the completed
wrought iron door on the outside.
Now, when you first look at the door, you see a
black door and THEN the dog door.
In the photo below you see the entire area
around the door. At a distance you hardly
notice the dog door at all.
This is about as clean as this door will ever
be. Dog slobber will change this shortly.
There was a slight re-learning curve for the
dogs for this door. Since the whole door
is black and the flap heavier, I had to teach
them how to use it again. An older dog
figured it out right away. The youngest
dog, is still getting used to it.
Outside view of repaired wrought iron door and
re-faced wood frame
View of patio area. Dog door barely visible. Cement
on patio will be painted later to match door stoop.
For the loose door threshold, I
removed it. The threshold was only a couple
years old and was installed after I retiled this
downstairs floor as part of the
cave project. The rubber was still
good, but the paint had started to flake off.
So I removed the rubber, sanded down the aluminum,
and spray painted it with a dark oil rubbed bronze
There was a missing chunk of cement on the far left
corner of the stoop that I patched. I also
needed to paint the door frame down to the floor so
the wood hidden by the threshold was protected.
The last step was to paint the stoop with the paint I
would be using later on the cement outside. I
wanted to have this section painted before I glued
the threshold down.
Threshold removed. Cement patched in left corner
Refurbished threshold glued back in place. Still
need to fill the gap between cement and threshold
The regular outer door here has
been removed at this point. I will be
stripping the paint on this door and repainting it
as part of my overall