Home & Garden

Quite the flap

Alan Lethers, president of Patio Pacific
courtesy photo
Design Notebook 1-19-11
Alan Lethers, president of Patio Pacific courtesy photo Design Notebook 1-19-11

If you like to buy local, consider one more product among the many goods produced in the county: pet doors.

Since 1999, Patio Pacific has been manufacturing its pet doors in San Luis Obispo. President Alan Lethers, who has owned the company since 1984, conceived the design for its patented Endura flap and collaborated with local design and manufacturing engineer, Scott Ganaja on the final product.

Although Patio Pacific sells a range of pet doors from various manufacturers, Lethers believes his Eudra flap is the best on the market, and he continues to improve upon it.

The Endura is a flexible dog and cat door flap that comes in four sizes and has models that fit sliding glass doors, standard doors, walls and kennels.

According to Lethers, the most important feature of the Endura flap is its ability to seal well, using airtight magnetic connections that run the full height of the flap. So secure is the seal, that tests have shown the door to withstand wind speeds of more than 50 miles per hour before blowing open.

Flexible vinyl flaps, which are commonly used in pet doors, shrink in cold weather, allowing cold air inside.

“The Endura flap has patented bellows that allows the flap to maintain contact on both sides, even though it shrinks the way any flexible material will shrink,” he said.

Rigid pet doors made of Plexiglass and Lexan with brush-type weather stripping are the next-best option for achieving a good seal, according to Lethers. But rigid doors have their own problems.

“If a dog goes part-way out and something scares them and they pull back, a rigid flap can injure the dog,” he said. Also distinct is the polyolefin-based polymer called Engage used to make the flap. “It’s a lot like the plastic used in food handling products,” he said.

He noted that vinyl is toxic to the environment and dangerous to manufacture. Engage is non-toxic, recyclable, and relatively safe to manufacture.

Endura flaps are also around 7/8 of an inch thick and hollow — a similar concept to dual pane glass that makes them more insulating than vinyl flaps that are typically around 1/8 of an inch thick.

Finally, there is the durability factor. Vinyl flaps tend to crack after a few years, said Lethers. The Endura flap may cost more than the average pet door, but it also comes with a 15-year warranty.

Patio Pacific ships its pet doors around the world, but locals can save on shipping by buying directly from the manufacturer and picking up their order at the factory located at 202-F1 Tank Farm Road in San Luis Obispo. You can find Endura flap products, as well as other types of pet doors, on its website, www.petdoors.com, or by calling (800) 826-2871.