Fitting a Letterbox or Catflap in Your Door

letter-boxFitting either a letterbox or a catflap — which are similar processes — should be quite possible for a skilled DIYer, although it’s obviously important to be careful cutting holes in your front door. Anyone unsure of their skill should consult and request the services of our skilled handymen at Handy Squad.

Fitting a Letterbox

When you know the letterbox’s size and design, establish the position to centre it by measuring the depth of the door’s cross rail in two places and marking the mid-point. Using these two points, draw a straight line right across the door, and then measure and mark the exact mid-point of the line.

Place your letterbox centred directly over this point and mark the positions on each side for the fixing bolts. Drill clearance holes, making them slightly larger than the bolt shank, then mark out a rectangle to cut out that’s slightly bigger than the flap.

Drill a hole at each corner big enough to take the blade of either a powered jigsaw or a padsaw and use the saw to cut around the marked rectangle. Cut recesses for the hinge-pin with a mallet and narrow chisel, and smooth the edges.

Fit the letterbox using the nuts provided and cut off any excess length on the bolts with a hacksaw. It’s a good idea to also fit an interior cover, since this will help keep out draughts.

Fitting a Catflap

If letterboxes vary in design, catflaps vary even more, with some of the more sophisticated programmed to open when the particular cat’s collar comes close. It’s essential to read the instructions and follow them to the letter.

The exact position for the catflap will depend on how your cat will use it. Once you’ve decided this, position the supplied template on the door and tape it on, making sure the tape will be easy to remove. When you’re certain the position is right, drill a hole of at least 8mm at each of the four positions shown, big enough to get the blade of your jigsaw or padsaw in.

Remove the template and draw ruled lines between the four points. Cut out the section along the lines you’ve made with a power jigsaw or a padsaw, and smooth the edges.

Hold the catflap up against the door in its place and, once you’re satisfied it’s level, drill clearance holes for the screws. Hold the two parts of the flap securely in place on either side of the door and fix each screw through the clearance holes, fastening the two parts together. Check that the flap can swing freely, and you’re finished.