Wall installation of pet doors can be problematic

Wall installation of pet doors can be problematic

"I'm looking for a company or contractor that would install pet doors. What kind of company should I be looking for, and what should I expect out of the job?" — Angie's List member Hector Sosa

A reliable handyman can provide an estimate based on your requirements, according to Paul Chaset, owner of A-rated Paul on Call in Westwood, Mass., which services portions of Metro West, Boston, Norwood, Brockton, Ashland and Norfolk County.

In most cases, it's easier to install a pet door into an existing door, he says, though it can also be installed on an enclosed porch by replacing a section of screen with a plywood or Plexiglas panel.

"In those cases, the owner lets the pet onto the porch, and then it's free to roam outside and come in from the weather," Chaset says. "Through-the-wall installations, on the other hand, may encounter wiring and plumbing, and are generally less attractive. It's also a lot easier to replace a door than to patch the wall."

Once installed, silicon caulking will help seal the pet door and keep moisture out. "The relative loss of insulation value is far less when it's installed in a door rather than in a wall," Chaset adds.

As for security, he says most pet doors come with sliding locks or inserts to block access by unwanted animals, but they're not designed to prevent forced entry by humans. He also notes that installing a pet door in a door or wall leading to a garage may be a building code violation, since it has no fire rating.

Do you have a service-related question? E-mail us at mailbag@angieslist.com