Installing Vinyl Sliding Doors: 5 Helpful Tips

July 18, 2010

Installing vinyl sliding doors can expand your scenic views and let additional light inside your home; however, if they're not installed properly they can leak water and let costly conditioned air escape to the outside. Be sure to follow all of the manufacturer's door installation instructions and work carefully to ensure a weather-tight fit. The energy-efficient benefits that come from new doors can be lost with a sloppy installation job.

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5 Tips to Consider When Installing Vinyl Sliding Doors

  1. Make sure the wall opening for the new door is approximately one-half-inch wider and taller than the dimensions of the door's interior frame. This allows for an easy fit. After a secure door installation, fill the gap around it with non-expanding foam insulation.
  2. Cover the plywood sheathing on the exterior side of the house with a breathable vapor barrier that wraps around the sides and the top of the door's opening.
  3. Mose vinyl sliding doors are manufactured with an attached nailing fin located around the sides and top of the door. When installing the doors, apply a continuous bead of exterior-grade silicone caulking to the underside of the nailing fin and insert the door into the opening from the outside. Center the door in the opening and attach it to the house using two-inch roofing nails set into the pre-drilled holes spaced around the nailing fin. Some manufacturers recommend not inserting nails along the top nailing fin, so make sure you follow all of your doors' installation instructions.
  4. Cover the nailing fin with a peel-and-stick flashing tape, approximately 6 to 9 inches wide. Apply the flashing tape to the sides first and to the top last, creating a shingle effect with the tape, which can shed any rain water that gets behind the finished siding.
  5. Attach the exterior trim pieces around the sliding door and install a metal drip cap along the top edge of the horizontal piece of trim. Apply a continuous bead of caulking to the seams between the exterior trim pieces and the vinyl door frame, and to the seams between the trim pieces and the finished siding.

Installing new doors takes patience but when done right, you can expect your vinyl sliding doors to stay weather-tight for years to come.

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