16 Apr

We installed a patio door today – with almost no injuries!

GREAT SUCCESS!! Four days ago I set out to cut a giant hole in the back of the house. This project was a mother-expletive-deleted and involved questionable ethics of a sliding patio door purchase. We started with this:

This killer view is totally worth the $300 in materials + getting our asses kicked by a patio door, right?

The whole thing started with a trailer rental from U-Haul just to pick up the door from Lowe’s. Right off the bat, I screwed up by getting a trailer that was too small for the giant frame of the sliding patio door – and only discovering this at the loading bay of Lowe’s. Return to U-Haul and switch trailers, at no extra cost – phew – just a very grumpy wife.

The door is also super crazy heavy. Amanda and I pride ourselves on some of the heavy stuff we’ve moved when buying stuff on Craigslist (#1 Gold Star for the giant metal-framed leather couch). But this patio door was tall. And awkward. And just really really heavy. We kind of scratched the living room floor, but they’ve mostly buffed out.

As you can see from the pictures, it’s not even done yet. Still need to do more electrical work (relocating light switches and the outdoor outlet), drywall, paint and trim inside & outside. But in the meantime, we get to enjoy this!

For anyone else considering doing a door project like this, in my research I found several useful online guides for installing a new patio door. One of the better ones is:

Install a Patio Door

Questionable Ethics of Patio Door Purchase

There are coupon codes for online Lowe’s purchases of $50 off $250. Pretty sweet. The caveat is that they are not available from Lowe’s directly. The main way to get them (that I know of) is to buy them on eBay. Alternatively, there used to be a sketchy website (renovopower.com) that had “cracked” the algorithm that make up the coupon codes and you could just go to this website and generate as many codes as you wanted!

Admission of guilt: I used one of these generated coupon codes for the purchase of a $250 patio door and some part of me does feel guilty for taking this $50 from the Lowe’s Corporation. Lots of corporations do bad stuff like dodge taxes and bribe politicians (corporate donations to shady Super PACs). Am I lowering myself to their standards by using a bogus coupon? Ugh, greasy.

Resolution: Next time I goes to Lowe’s, I’m going to put $50 in the tip jar for the Lowe’s employees, since they’re likely underpaid and always seem to be so friendly. If they don’t have a tip jar, I’ll wait until I see this one guy who we keep running into. He’s the best. Do folks have to pay taxes on tips? I hope not!

Almost No Injuries

For any Internet Safety Officers reading this: I am ashamed to admit that our work-site was not OSHA compliant. If Amanda was a union worker, she would have went on strike for sure. But this is North Carolina, a right to work state! In OSHA terms, we had one “Near Miss” and one “Minor Injury”.

Near Miss: Amanda was almost crushed by a falling door. I had the old door frame with screen door leaning precariously against the deck railing. A gust of wind pushed it over, landing about 1 meter from Amanda’s (bare) feet!

Minor Injury: During the fury of trying to shove the door into its house-hole, Amanda picked up a big pry bar only to let it fall on her precious hand, landing on the tip of her pinky finger. I didn’t see it, but I heard the sounds of the event. Georg and Louise, you should be very proud of how you raised your daughter – the amount of swearing coming from Amanda was very minimal.

Big Project Lesson

A major lesson I learned that should be shared with others: when you cut the “rough opening” hole in the side of your house – I’d say make it at least 1/2″ larger (both vertically and horizontally) than the actual size of the patio door. The instructions that came with our door said to only do 1/4″ and after putting down two layers of self-adhesive flashing, we ended up with maybe only 1/8″ of breathing room to shove this giant / super heavy patio door into the hole.


  • Nice job on the sliding door. An extra set of hands might have made things easier on the two of you, but glad you got through it. Looks great!

    Honestly, I wouldn’t feel bad for using a coupon at Lowes (shady or otherwise). The money really does flow to the top at that organization. Don’t ask me how I know.

    • Travis

      Thanks comrade!!

      So we went to Lowes again today. I saw the awesome lumber guy and got his name. They’re not allowed to accept tips, but I got the email address of the Store Manager so I can share my appreciate and maybe Lowes will give him a $10,000 bonus or something!

      Best place I could think of to donate the $50 is the ACLU. Done!

  • Norm

    Nice job! That sounds like a scary moment with the falling door. I just used the EBay coupon trick a few weeks ago to buy a fridge and stove. It saved us about $100 and the coupon cost 2 bucks.

    • Travis

      Thanks, nice work yourself Norm!

  • That is a killer view! Nice work framing everything out, that’s a hell of a project.

    Now you just need to setup the sofa in front of that door and enjoy some brews with a view 😉

    • Travis

      Yeah, good idea!

      Framing wasn’t too hard. Just had to measure and re-measure like 20 times before doing cuts. Despite such diligence, in the end we almost got screwed anyways due to the opening being too tight!