Due to bad timing I won't have anybody to help me with this other than my wife. In order to make it easier I would like to remove the doors before putting the frame in position, then put back either one door or both and make sure everything is square level and plumb at which point I am going to put a couple of screws in in order to keep the door in place till foaming complete shimming and all the other things are completed Are there any inconveniences for this method ?

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    Don't do that! You will never get the frame aligned properly in the opening if you take the doors out. If you can't handle the door yourself, get someone to help you.
    – jwh20
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 12:33
  • @jwh20, sounds like an answer. Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 12:47

2 Answers 2


Don't do that! You will never get the frame aligned properly in the opening if you take the doors out. If you can't handle the door yourself, get someone to help.

To elaborate a bit more. The doors in the frame provide 3-dimensional stability to the frame. Then you take them out the frame will distort in nearly all possible ways. You will never be able to get it straight or square enough so that the doors will work properly.

If you really can't get anyone but your wife to help, try building a supporting base to position the door at the height you need it. Then you can stand the door up there and with your wife's help, all that is needed is to push it back into the opening. If needed, add some blocking to prevent the door from falling into the opening.

It can be done with one helper, but you need to use suitable precautions.

  • you mean something like put the door on the ground (deck floor in my case) and when everything is in place just pivot the door upward around the edge that will be the bottom?
    – MiniMe
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 13:17
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    @MiniMe - yes basically. But typically the exterior side isn't flush with the door frame, so you may need to build a quick "scaffold" of 2x4 or scrap plywood or something else - the goal is to hold the door up so you can just slide it in, instead of having to lift it into position. Another good trick - get some suction cup handles to help lift/position: homedepot.com/p/… they can make a heavy glass object like a large window or door much easier to handle.
    – dwizum
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 13:42
  • The majority voted this answer so here is a related question: how does something sitting in a frame provide stability to an outer frame that has no constraints ? In other words, if the mobile door is not plumb anymore (because I used suction cups to move the overall frame and the door moved in the vertical plan within the frame) it can distort the outer frame .and then it is the same thing. What preserves the frame stability in case the doors move the way I described it above?
    – MiniMe
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 15:42

You can remove the active door to help with transporting it on site, but often the inactive door is permanently fixed and not easily removable. If it is easily removable for some reason, then sure go for it.

Caulk the threshold, insert the frame, and then reinstall both active and inactive doors before going any further in the installation. Using temporary screws is fine if you don't have any help.

The biggest thing you can do wrong with a patio door is install it out of level/square. If you try installing it without the doors you risk doing it wrong.

The second biggest mistake is putting shims between the top of the door frame and the bottom of the header, so make sure you don't put shims there!

The reason is that as the header is loaded, it is typically designed to deflect up to L/240 total load deflection. If you put shims there, as the header deflects, your top door track will also deflect, and your door won't slide easily.

  • 1
    I am thinking about asking for delivery on the desk right next to the door that I am going to replace. I have a dolly like this uhaul.com/MovingSupplies/Image/GetMedia/… that I can use to lift it up and put it in position. So you are saying no shims at the top?
    – MiniMe
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 13:39
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    @MiniMe I'd probably purchase tempered hardboard that's 1/8" or 3/16" thick to protect your deck boards and just slide the patio door around on the slick surface. Yup a dolly might help, just make sure to protect the glass from the dolly, hardboard might help with that too. Correct, do not put shims above the door/under the header.
    – Dotes
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 16:25

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