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We are going to hire somebody to replace our sliding glass patio door. Its a standard sliding glass patio door, similar looking to this:

enter image description here

I am going to buy the replacement door at auction, but first I need to know exactly what size door I need. I searched how to measure this online, but there appears to be contradictory advice on what the proper way to measure a patio door is.

Is there a proper way to measure the size door I need without removing the existing door first? Please include pictures if possible and define your terms if they are not terms a layman could understand.

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Why don't you let the contractor measure for the door, and take him/her to the auction so you get the correct sized door? Experiences with homeowners buying things like this, is the item is usually wrong. –  Gunner Nov 26 '12 at 3:52
    
@Gunner Its impractical since hes so far away. The home buyers are likely usually wrong because the guidance that exist online to do this is incomplete at best. I posted here in the hopes that somebody that knows what they are talking about could fill in that gap, not just tell me to get a professional to measure it. –  n00b Nov 27 '12 at 1:32
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2 Answers 2

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What you need to know is the rough opening size. This is the dimensions between the vertical studs and the horizontal dimension from the floor to the bottom of the header. You may have to remove some trim to see these components. If you are going to have a contractor install the new door, have that person give you the proper measurements for the replacement door. You can always go slightly smaller, but not larger.

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I agree with Shirlock and Gunner, get the contractor to do the measurements. Don't buy a door yourself at auction, you are asking for lots of headache! –  GdD Nov 26 '12 at 11:08
    
Thank you Shirlock. Following your advice I simply had to remove the trim, and then could see the wooden frame and measure appropriately. This was something I could do quite easily, and would say any homeowner could do. If anyone else wants to try it just be sure to score the trim before you do, to minimize paint peeling off with the trim. –  n00b Feb 20 '13 at 21:01
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The sliding doors in our sunrooms and living rooms are all 80 inches in height 72 inches wide. Sliding doors are usually either 60 inch in width if they are 5 foot wide. If it’s 6 foot wide, it measures up to 72 inches. The height is usually 80 inches, though it may vary from one manufacturer to another. If you want to measure it, remove the wood trim first. Then place the tape measure over the top left corner, extend it till the top right corner and note down the width. Similarly you can note the height by measuring from top left corner till the bottom left corner, and even measure diagonally from top left corner till bottom right corner.

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That was what I figured out through my experience as well (the standard door sizes). However, I would recommend everybody measure their door by removing the trim, as the frame is probably not exact. The height of my frame was 79.5 inches tall, meaning a door of 80" height would have been too tall (though most manufacturered doors arent exactly 80" tall) –  n00b Feb 20 '13 at 21:04
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