One of the more interesting projects we did last week was to replace an existing window with a PlyGem Pro patio door. This might seem like a straight-forward job, but they often present interesting challenges-- mostly because we can never be 100% sure of what's going on inside the walls. For instance, older homes that have already been remodeled a time or two sometimes have rogue electrical wiring or plumbing that was not properly removed. No one wants to cut into an (illegally) hidden junction box or live wire! The challenge in this particular case was with the existing header. It was attached to the old soffit system, so we had to cut it into sections to remove it before installing the new patio door.
First we removed the existing window, and then marked on the outside where the new door was going to go. We carefully cut away the siding, and then used a variety of tools (sawsall, saws, oscillating tools) to create a precise opening. The goal is to enlarge the opening without causing unnecessary damage to the block or drywall, so there's little to no patching and fixing to do later on.
On the inside, we took down the drywall and removed studs as necessary. After the opening was created, we insulated it properly and installed studs a new header. The header's job is to disperse the weight from the roof system. Since we've removed structure (studs and block) there's now a lot of weight with nothing to bear it.
Next we installed our PlyGem Pro patio door, ensuring that everything was plumb, level, and square. We insulated any gaps between the door frame and the walls. We trimmed it out on the inside, added a threshold, and tied it into the flooring. On the outside we put the siding back together and trimmed around the door there as well.
The final product works perfectly and looks fantastic!