Hello Everyone and welcome to my photographic diary showing how my good friend Matt and I installed a set of sliding patio doors to the rear of his BISF house.
During the installation we made a photographic record of the various stages of the job.
We are by no means experts in this field but we do possess basic DIY skills and we both felt competent enough to undertake this project.
A professional builder may choose a different method of installation to that which we choss, so if in doubt at any stage, please seek professional advice.
This montage is not “A How To” guide, it is simply a record of how we installed the doors ourselves as two DIY enthusiasts.
Installing a set of off the shelf patio doors into your home can make a huge difference to the living space, especially if your house has a separate dining room at the rear of the property and is fitted with a standard window as BISF floor layouts do vary. Our house had a separate kitchen with a dividing doorway into the living room. The double doors leading from the lounge area had already been removed but the dining area still lacked light and area appeared quite dark, despite being south facing.
Installing a new set of sliding patio doors costing well under £500 was the obvious choice to brighten up this area.
By doing the job ourselves we saved quite a bit on labour costs but you could expect to pay anything from £250-£500 labour for a job of this size which should take 1 or possibly 2 days to complete. Our job took 1 1/2 days, which wasn’t bad for DIY but I would expect a good builder to be able to complete this in around a day.
- Before undertaking any work of this kind always make sure that you have the correct tools and safety equipment to complete the job.
- The original render has stood in place for around 70 years and could well be in need of repair. Thoroughly check the condition of the existing render, especially in the area surrounding your dining room window, before you plan or start any work.
- If you see signs of horizontal or vertical cracking, it may indicate that your render is starting to fail. Seek professional advice before you undertake any work, or a large portion of you wall could fall away and require re-building.
- If your render does appear to be failing, you should have it professionally repaired soon rather than later and seek advice from the builder regarding the best time to install the patio doors. Preferably, just before the wall is re-rendered.
- Make sure you have a large tarpaulin at hand in case it rains or should you need to temporarily cover part of the wall due to render failure.
- Electric power and cutting tools will be required to complete this task. Always wear suitable protective clothing including a face mask, head, eye and hand protection. Always use a circuit breaker when using power tools outside.
- When cutting into any wall or cavity, always make sure that there are no electrical cables running through the wall where you are cutting. Remember that electricity can be fatal.
This job does entail cutting into you rendered wall below the dining room window. Cutting into any wall has risks, much depends on the condition of your existing render which should be sound and in good condition, otherwise you could face problems with large areas of render falling away which could be costly to repair( Another good reason to call in a professional fitter/ builder).
Matts house, was due to be fitted with external wall insulation within a week, so we weren’t too concerned if the render fell away or not. As it happens it did fall away, but more on that later. It’s also worth noting at this point, that I have installed several patio doors in the past without any problem but I can’t stress enough, that render collapse is a very real possibility, so be prepared to undertake significant repairs if you choose to fit patio doors yourself. You may also need to undertake a small amount of rendering to the newly created reveals too so keep that in mind.
That’s the precautionary warnings out of the way – now to the job itself.
Inspection of our render
Our render was in a pretty bad shape. We could see 2ft wide but very narrow horizontal cracks in the wall itself, located to the left side of our window which spread all the way down to floor level. When then conducted a tap test on the wall and found large areas that sounded hollow underneath. This was a sure sign that our render was failing as it was also ballooning outward slightly, with the top layer separating from the underlying rib lath mesh framework underneath. It was highly likely that rain water had entered into these cracks and frozen causing expansion and cracking once thawed. We also suspected that the supporting rib mesh was badly corroded and this was found to be the case once we started to cut into the wall. Note: Cracked render and corroded mesh doesn’t always mean that the steel frame of the house will be corroded too. In our case the steel support stanchions were found to be in excellent A1 condition which is not bad for a 70 year old property.
If you see signs of cracking to either side or below your existing dining room window, please think again before undertaking any work such as this. If you do, a large part of your wall could break away and this will require a considerable amount of work to repair. Plus the outside of your house will not be watertight until the repair is completed so please inspect the area carefully and tap the walls first. If you hear an occasional hollow sound when tapping, you may well have underlying issues.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
Please let us know what you think in the comments below.
Sadly we did forget to take photographs whilst we were putting together the Patio Door kit as it was starting to get dark and we needed to make the property secure overnight. Assembly was pretty straight forward but I would say that it is definitely a two man job.
We hope you enjoy watching our project and find it helpful.