How do I vent exterior doors?

Written by chris varnell
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How do I vent exterior doors?
Adding a vent to an exterior door can add needed ventilation to a home or garage. (door and motion detector image by Larry Roberg from

Venting an exterior door is a great way to help cool an exterior building such as a garage or shed. A wide variety of exterior door louvres and vents to meet your specific needs are available. It is not a good idea to vent an exterior door of any building that is air conditioned or heated because any venting would be counterproductive. Vents can be added to both exterior wood and hollow metal doors.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Two exterior vents
  • Pair of saw horses
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • Safety glasses
  • Electric drill
  • Phillips bit
  • Measuring tape
  • ¾-inch drill bit
  • Jigsaw with blade
  • ¼-inch exterior screws

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  1. 1

    Determine the size of the vent you wish to use. The size of your vent will be determined by the size of your door and also the amount of flat surface available to mount the vent.

  2. 2

    Remove the door to be vented from the jamb. Using the electric drill with the Phillips drill bit, remove the screws that attach the door hinges to the door jamb. Place a block of wood underneath the door during the removal and installation of any door to support the weight of the door and help to prevent any damage.

  3. 3

    Set up the saw horses so the door will lay flat across them securely. Also make sure the top of the saw horses do not support the door in the same location as the new vents.

  4. 4

    Lay the vent on top of the door in the location it's going to be installed. Using your carpenter pencil, lightly trace the outline of the vent on the door's surface.

  5. 5

    Based on the size and layout of your vent, draw another outline approximately ½-inch inside the original vent outline. This will be a guideline for the actual vent cut-out. The ½-inch difference between the two lines provides the area for the screws to attach the vent to the door.

  6. 6

    Drill a ¾-inch hole in each inside corner of your guidelines. These holes will provide easy start and stop points while using your jigsaw.

  7. 7

    Place the jigsaw blade in one of the predrilled holes. Carefully follow your guidelines and cut the door from hole to hole until the entire hole is cut out.

  8. 8

    Place the vent over the hole. Using your tape measure, make sure your vent is square and level. When the vent is in its correct position, use your electric drill and exterior screws to attach the vent to the door. Most exterior vents will have predrilled screw holes in the corners of the vent for attachment. If your vent does not have predrilled holes, mark the corners and predrill small holes for an easier installation.

  9. 9

    Flip the door over on the saw horses to install the vent on the other side of the door. Repeat step 8 to install the vent on this side of the door.

  10. 10

    Remove the door from the sawhorses and place on the wood block for installation. Attach the door hinges to the door jamb.

Tips and warnings

  • Use the correct drill bits and jigsaw blades for the type of door you are venting. Use metal blades and bits for metal door and wood blades and bits for wood doors.
  • Check all of your electrical cords for damage before use.
  • When cutting or drilling on saw horses, keep your cords secure and out of the way.
  • Always wear safety classes when cutting or drilling.

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