Can You Open Up Your Wall To Install A Patio Door?

For most cases, it is possible to open up a wall and install a patio door. However, the amount of work and costs involved will always differ depending on the type and amount of load the wall was bearing. The most important thing is to find a way of holding the load that the wall was holding. If you do not do this properly, the load will cause the door header to bow inwards, making the door unusable. It could even end up crumbling altogether.

You will, therefore, have to file a plan and obtain a permit from the building department whenever you want to modify a load bearing wall. Getting a structural engineer or an architect to help with the plan will increase the cost a great deal. The materials may also be quite costly because they have to be strong.

Can You Open Up Your Wall To Install A Patio Door?

Identifying a Load-Bearing Wall

This decision should be made by a structural engineer, although in some cases, you can still do it yourself. Here are some important things to consider when doing this. If you have some problems with your sliding glass door, wheels or bolts, just call or email us and get our service.

Roof Style

For hip, flat or combination roofs, all the walls usually support the roof. For gable-roofed houses, load bearing walls are those that support the eaves. The gable ends are not load-bearing.

Roof Trusses

Walls that are perpendicular to the attic floor joists or the trusses are usually load-bearing walls are those that run perpendicular to these framing members. The ones parallel to these members are usually not.

Dormers and Other Structures on the Roof

Regardless of their direction in relation to the roof trusses, the walls located under dormers are mostly load bearing.

Once you have identified the load bearing walls, you must involve an expert, mostly a structural engineer, who, will help in determining the amount of weight the wall is supporting. This expert will help with drawing the plan and filing it with the relevant department for a permit. Always involve the expert even if you feel that the wall you choose is not load-bearing.

The Importance of Header Size

When installing a door where there has been a wall, you will remove the framing inside the opening and replace it with a header. This horizontal header helps to hold the weight that the framing held. The weight that the header needs to support will determine the size of the header. This will also depend on the horizontal span of the opening. Alternatively, you can use a laminated beam made from plywood or another strong material.

The ends of the header should rest on a sturdy post because of the much load that it will support. The engineer or should help you determine the right size of the header.

Installing the patio door: the procedure

  1. Start by measuring and cutting a hole on both sides of the wall. The hole should be large enough for the header and the supporting posts.
  2. Remove the studs and fix the header. When dealing with a load bearing wall, you will need to construct a temporary wall to hold the load as you fix the header.
  3. Fix the door jambs and hang your doors. For pre-hung doors, you will fix the jamb and the door as at once.
  4. Once you are through, cover the walls and then install trim.

Remember to insulate your patio door to avoid problems like cold drafts that occur in winter, or condensation and mold when you use air conditioner in summer. Install adequate weather stripping and caulk the trim properly.