How to Install a Screen Door

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A nice addition to your front or back entryway is a screen door. It’s also an easy task just about any homeowner can accomplish without having to call in a professional. A screen door can let the breeze in while it keeps the bugs out. It also provides a view of your front yard and visitors as they approach or family playing in the backyard. And, not only does a screen door let more light and air into your home, a nicer front screen door can easily add to your home’s curb appeal.
This this article, we’ll cover how to choose the right screen door, how to remove your old screen door (if applicable), and how to install a new screen door.

How to Choose the Right Screen Door

Once you decide a screen door would be a welcome addition to your home, it’s type to choose the right door for you.
Step 1: Choose the type. There are two main types of screen door to choose from, with options in each type depending on your budget, preference, and need. The main screen door types are:
  • Basic screen door. A basic screen door is typically a basic aluminum, wood, or vinyl frame with a mesh screen that allows air to come through while keeping bugs and pests out. These are great for warmer, more temperate climates.
  • Storm door. A storm door typically adds glass to the door to protect from the elements while still allowing light to come into the room. Most storm doors allow you to open one of the glass panels, with the opening covered by a mesh screen to allow air to come through. In addition, a storm door is designed to close on its own, freeing you from having to latch it shut each time.
Step 2: Choose your features. Your choice of screen door will most likely depend on the elements you live in, but personal preference can also come into play with many people in temperate climates still opting for a storm door for more light but without the airflow.
Placement can also make a difference on look and security needs, including whether it’s used on your front door or the way to you backyard.
Both screen door categories will latch shut, although as noted a storm door will do so without having to be tugged shut, and both offer more secure key locks available on some models.
Some screen doors will also offer a pet flap, allowing your small animal easy access in and out of your home.
Step 3: Choose your side. Screen doors will also come in either a right hand or a left hand placement. You will want the placement to line up with your current door to avoid an awkward switch of sides on entrance or exit.
Step 4: Measure your door frame. You’ll want to ensure that your screen door will fit your door frame, so measure your current frame from top to bottom and side to side and use these measurements during screen door selection.

How to Remove Your Old Screen Door

Before you install a new screen door, you must remove your old one, if applicable. If you do not already have a screen door, skip to the next part.
To remove a screen door, you will only need basic tools, including:
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
To start removing the screen door, follow these steps:
Step 1: Check the door out. Before you start unscrewing anything, take a moment to look over the door and see exactly how it’s attached. Make sure you have the correct screwdriver for the job.
Step 2: Start removing interior hardware. When you are ready, start unscrewing the screws and hardware on the inside of the screen door.
Step 3: Take out the door screws. Next, begin with the bottom hinge and remove the screws that attach the door to the frame. Then, remove the screws on the top hinge.
Step 4: Remove the frame. If your previous door was a storm door, it most likely has a frame that connected it to the actual door frame. This will also need to be removed. Look for small screws connecting the screen door frame to the actual door frame and, starting from the bottom, remove all of them as well. If you had a storm door, you may just need to remove a “drip” cap from the top of the door frame.
If your house was painted since the frame was installed, it may be stuck slightly to the actual door frame. Take a flathead screwdriver and gently pry the screen door frame away from the actual door frame.
Step 5: Discard of the old door. Once you have removed the door and the frame, safely dispose of it.
Step 6: Touch up the paint. You may need to repaint the door frame before installing a new screen door if there is any chipping or discoloration, as your new screen door may not come with a frame or the frame may not be the same width.

How to Install a New Screen Door

When you are ready to install your new screen door, follow these simple steps. These are general steps for just about any screen door installation, but always reference the instruction manual that comes with your specific door.
Step 1: Gather your tools. Check your instructions and ensure you have all of the necessary tools. The installation of a screen door may require you to drill holes, so you will need a few more tools to complete the job:
  • Screen door (if brand new, it should come with all of the necessary screws and hardware)
  • Screwdriver
  • Measuring tape
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Wood shims
  • Level
Step 2: Install the drip cap. Some screen doors may have a “drip” cap, which will need to be installed at the top of the door. Lay your door out on two sawhorses, or similar objects. Use your drill to screw the screen door frame or the drip cap onto the top of the door.
Step 3: Install the frame. Some screen doors, especially storm doors, require the installation of a frame before the door can be installed.
Most frames will be pre-built and will need to be inserted into your old frame and screwed into place. Others utilize a Z-bar, which the door hangs from. If your screen door utilizes a Z-bar, install it the same way as a frame, but just one one side of your door.
Step 5: Test fit the door. Before you actually hang your door, do a test fit to ensure everything fits snug and that your measurements were accurate. There should be a small gap between the door and the frame, around ¼ inch from the top and bottom and around ⅛ inch from the sides.
Step 6: Connect the hinges. When you are ready to hang the door, use shims to ensure the door is centered in the frame. Put the hinges up in their appropriate positions and mark the holes in the door and frame. Take the door down and drill the holes for the hinges and screw them into the door and drill the hinge holes into the door frame.
Step 7: Hang the door. Once you have the hinges connected to the door, reposition the door in the frame, again using shims to ensure centered placement if needed, and screw the hinges into the frame.
Step 8: Add the hardware. Once your door is hung, add any hardware, such as handles or a door closer. You may need to drill additional holes into the frame to attach a door closer, but this should be done after the door is installed for a perfect fit.
Step 9: Make a snug fit. After the door has been hung and all hardware has been installed, you need to make sure the door has a snug fit in the frame. This is where “furring” or “weather” strips can come in handy. Simply remove the backing and attach the strips all the way around the door frame.
Adding a screen door to your home is a easy task a homeowner can accomplish that not only adds curb appeal, impact a home’s market value, but also adds creature comforts to your home such as light and fresh air without letting the bugs in. And if these steps still feel daunting, you can always get a quote from a home contractor to see if they can come and help you install your screen door.

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