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Installation Manuals

Door Model Pet Door Installation


Door Model Pet Door Installation

Please read these instructions carefully and completely before attempting to install your pet door; they will guide you through the steps and precautions needed for a door installation. Illustrations and pictures have been added to help our customers understand various instructions. To reach an experienced installer for free consultation, please call 1-888-293-6411. Hale Pet Doors are designed for ease of installation and their self-framing design makes them ideal for any type of door, including hollow core doors, as there is no need to frame out the inside of your door.  See the notes at the end of the installation instructions pertaining to various types of doors.  Any person with a working knowledge of power tools and basic home construction can install the Hale Pet Door™. It is important to note however, that the product warranty may be affected if returns have been modified in any way other than specified by these instructions.  We cannot give credit for a door returned to us damaged.

Always wear eye protection and gloves when appropriate.


Step 1: Before installation, be sure that you have the proper size pet door for your pet. If in doubt, larger is better. It may be harmful for your pet to use a pet door that is too small. A good general rule is to install the pet door so that the distance from the floor to the top of the passage opening is even or above the shoulder of your largest pet.   If you have more than one pet, make sure the tallest pet has shoulder clearance and the shortest pet will not have to jump through the opening.

Step 2:  Take a brief look at the large illustration of the door model at the end of the instructions and become familiar with various components of the door model. This will not only help in understanding the terms used in these instructions but can be very useful should you need to call for technical support.

Step 3:  Check the package you received to make sure that it contains all the necessary items.

Complete Kit includes:

Hale Pet Door™ Door Model
Security Cover
5/8” #6 Phillips Head Screws
7/64” drill bit
Raincap (optional)
**Build-Out may be included for doors thinner than 1 3/8″ if factory modified cutdown was not ordered.

Tools you will need vary depending on the type of door into which you are installing the pet door.  Basically you will need a drill to start the rough opening and to drill the screw holes, some type of saw to finish cutting out the rough opening and a screwdriver to insert the screws.

Step 4:  Decide on the placement of your door model.  First, make sure that there are no obstructions above the pet door that will interfere with the operation of the security cover (or to the side of the door if you ordered a side loading model).

Second, make sure that the rough opening will be no less than four inches from both the bottom and the side of the door.  This is to maintain the integrity of the door construction.  (This measurement may vary depending on the size and type of door being used.)  (Please note: The photographs used in these instructions show a door installed much lower than four inches from the bottom of the people door.  In this instance, the homeowner was trying to accommodate both a Golden Retriever and a Chihuahua.  Therefore, they purchased a taller door and installed it as low as possible for the Chihuahua to clear.  This worked in this case because they were installing in a fiberglass door.  Had the door been made of wood, this would have caused a structural issue and such installation is not recommended.  Each situation is different however, and when installing you must consider the structure of the door and the type of animal before deciding on a height.)

Step 5:  Lay down drop cloths on both sides of the door for easier cleanup after installation.

Hale Pet Door Mark Door for cutting GraphicStep 6:  Mark off the area where you want to install your Hale Pet Door™ using a level and a pencil.  You may also want to mark it off with masking tape to verify size and placement one last time before drilling.

Measure for pet door

Measure and mark all four sides before making any cuts.  Use a pencil or even masking tape to mark the square.


Use the following dimensions to get the correct size rough opening for your size door.  (Note: if you ordered a custom size door, you supplied us with dimensions for the rough opening that we used to manufacture your door.  Use those same dimensions.)  Make sure the opening is both square and level.


Pet Door Size Rough Opening
Width x Height
 Small  7 3/8″ x 9 3/8″
 Small Medium  8 1/2″ x 11 1/2″
 Medium  10 1/2″ x 14 1/2″
 Tall Medium  10 1/2″ x 18″
 Large  13″ x 18″
 Tall Large  13″ x 21 5/8″
 Tall Large Plus  13″ x 25 5/8″
 Extra Tall Large  13″ x 29 5/8″
 Extra Large  16″ x 21 5/8″
 Extra Large Plus  16″ x 25 5/8″
 Giant  17 5/8″ x 29 5/8″
Level opening before drilling pet door
Make sure the opening is square and level before drilling.  This will help ensure that the pet door operates correctly.

Step 7—WOOD:  For wood doors, drill out two corners diagonal from each other (top left and bottom right OR top right and bottom left).  Depending on the construction of the door you may want to use a 7/8” paddle bit or a 5/16” regular bit.  If you use a 5/16” bit, drill three holes close together (shown below) then wiggle the bit until you have connected the three holes.  This will allow you enough room to get a reciprocating saw blade into the holes.


Drill your initial holes carefully and take care not to go outside your marked opening.  You may wish to use a level on the drill bit to make sure that both the inside and outside edges of the rough opening are correctly aligned.

drill holes in people door for pet door

After the holes are connected, use a reciprocating saw to cut out the rough opening along the marked lines.  If you do not have a reciprocating saw or drill, you can use a key saw or circular saw to start the hole and a hand saw to cut out the entire rough opening.

cut hole in people door for pet door

Step 7—METAL:  For metal doors, if you have a drill and reciprocating saw, follow the above directions for wood doors, using a 14-tooth per inch blade on the reciprocating saw.   Otherwise, drill the four corners and use a chisel at the corners to start the hole.  Finish the rough opening cut with a power saber saw.  Be careful that the saw blade does not dent the other side of the door while you cut. The Hale Pet Door™ “door” model is completely self-framing.  There is no need to frame out the inside of your door.

Step 8:  Separate the pet door frame into two halves.  Remove the security cover from the inside frame.  Before installing the pet door into the rough opening, you may need to loosen the screws holding the pin bolt lock.  Back them out a few turns, otherwise they will stick out enough to hold the corner of the pet door off the people door which will leave a gap.

Step 9:  Put the inner frame of the pet door (the one with the security cover track) into the rough opening in the people door.  Attach the outside frame into the other side of the door and let the pet door frame sleeve together.  Squeeze the two sides of the pet doors frame together tightly.

Test fit the pet door before drilling
any screw holes.

Possible Addition to Step 9 for thinner doors:  If your door is between 1/2″ and 1 3/8″ thick and you did not order a factory modified cutdown, you should have received a build-out with your pet door to match the color of the frame.  Using the illustration at right as a guide, place the build-out along the inside flange of either the interior or the exterior frame.  This placement may depend on any obstructions on either side of the people door.

Optional Step:  If you choose to use the raincap for your door installation, attach it to the outer frame as shown in the graphic and picture to the left.  It should simply hook onto the top of the outer frame.  Then snap the frames together as stated above in Step 9.

Step 10:  Using the pre-drilled pilot holes in the pet door frame and the supplied drill bit, drill one hole through the inside edge of the outside frame at the bottom.  Insert and loosely tighten one screw. Make sure the door is level and adjust if needed.  When door is level, tighten the inserted screw and repeat drilling and inserting the rest of the screws in the pet door frame.  Also, retighten the screws that hold the pin bolt lock in place.

Step 11:  Once the pet door is installed you can fill any gaps or seal the edges with caulking if desired.  Do not caulk the bottom of the inside or outside frame.  It is a good idea to place blue painter’s tape around the three sides of the pet door that you will be caulking.  After you apply the caulking and smooth it, you can remove the tape for a clean edge and no mess on your people door.  See the instructions under “raised panel doors” for dealing with gaps and using caulking backer rod.

Step 12:   The Starboard® cover will slide easily into place in the built in frame and can be easily locked and unlocked with the positive action pin bolt lock.   (NOTE: The photo to the right shows the cover in place with the protective covering still on the Lexan cover (Lexan is now discontinued).  Starboard covers do not need this covering as they are not prone to scratching.)

Step 13: Remove the drop cloths and clean up the area.  We recommend cleaning the frame and flaps of the pet door also.  Use soap and water or glass cleaner without ammonia.

You may also adjust the magnets in the frame if necessary.  They can either be raised or lowered so the flaps seal but swing freely.  Adjust the magnets upward by twisting a flat headed screwdriver below the magnet between the magnet and the frame.  Adjust the magnets downward by tapping lightly with the handle of your screwdriver.  NEVER hit a magnet hard with a hammer as this may bend the legs of the magnet and cause it to eventually fall out of the door track.

You have now completed the installation of your new Hale Pet Door™.  We hope you and your pet enjoy the new investment you have made in your home!

Notes for Various Types of Doors

Raised panel doors

  • Two types of  raised panel door are illustrated above. A true raised panel door will be built of solid wood, and the panels will be separate pieces of wood contained in the body of the door. This type of door is common on older homes, but in newer homes you are more likely to find doors whose surfaces have been molded to look like a raised panel door.
  • Carefully consider placement of your pet door before cutting the rough opening.   Ideally, the pet door should be either centered on the door or centered on a panel. If the door is a true raised panel door, centering the pet door on the people door is not a good idea. Cutting out the vertical support will structurally weaken the door.
  • Once you have determined where to place the door, cut out the rough opening and install the pet door as described above.
  • There should be gaps that need to be filled between the pet door and the door where the grooves from the raised panel are.
  • Put blue masking tape on the door so that the bottom of the tape is even with the top of the pet door. Fill the gaps with “caulking backer rod”. Make sure your filler does not come up to the edge of the pet door frame.
  • Fill the gap with caulk of an appropriate type and color. Smooth the caulk with a putty knife or a razor blade. Remove the blue tape carefully. Clean up and you are finished.

Crosshatch doors


cross drill
Typical crosshatch door To drill starter holes through a solid wood door, use a 7/8″ paddle bit and drill almost all the way through the door. Go to the other side of the door and finish the hole. This will prevent splintering wood.
  • A crosshatch door, also called a farmhouse door, usually has a window in the upper half. The lower half is constructed very much like a raised panel door, but the panels are usually sunken in compared to the rest of the door. These doors are almost always solid wood. Be very careful when drilling your starter holes in wood. If you push too hard the wood may splinter.
  • Installation of the pet door is about the same as with any other door. The difficulty is filling in the gaps. Depending on how deep the gap is, there are several different ways to approach this. If the gap is not very deep, caulking backer rod and caulk will work nicely. If the gap is deep you may want to consider filling with pieces of wood. This will require a hacksaw, miter box, and careful measuring.

Hollow core doors

  • If you are installing in a hollow core door, don’t cut your rough opening with a reciprocating saw if you can avoid it. It tends to shake the door surface violently, sometimes separating it from the interior “honeycomb”. Use a circular saw and diamond blade. It makes a clean, easy cut.

Fiberglass doors

  • Fiberglass doors can be cut with a reciprocating saw or a circular saw with a diamond blade but be sure to wear a good dust mask!   You do not want to be inhaling fiberglass.

Wood doors

  • Cut wood doors with a reciprocating saw. Do not try to use the circular saw. The diamond blade will simply scorch the wood, barely cutting it, and a wood blade will grab the wood and take off, which will be dangerously hard to control.

Steel skin doors

  • Steel skin doors are made of a foam core covered with thin steel skin. If the pet door you are installing is small, (medium or smaller), you can cut the rough opening with a diamond blade and clean up the corners with a reciprocating saw. If the pet door is larger than a medium, sink the diamond blade into the door in one spot on all four sides of the rough opening. This creates four grooves you can get a reciprocating saw blade into. Use a fine blade on the reciprocating saw. (18-tooth per inch at a minimum.)


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