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Master the Art of Screen Door Installation: 6 Tips From the Pros

Installing a screen door might seem like an intimidating task, but with the right guidance, you can do it yourself like a pro! We've reached out to seasoned professionals in the field to provide you with the best, most foolproof tips for a successful installation. Whether you're looking to upgrade your current screen door or install one for the first time, our step-by-step instructions, accompanied by expert tips, will equip you with the confidence to embark on this DIY adventure. So let's dive right in with these insightful tips from the pros.

1. First Decide What Screen You Want

Installing a screen door can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors without worrying about pests and other critters getting into your home. Depending on what your needs and budget are, you first have to decide what type of screen door you would like. The components of each door present a different look, use, and purpose. Make sure you know what type of screen you really want before you begin. Be sure to keep in mind if you are remodeling vs building from scratch, the installation components will vary.

Types of Screen Doors:

  • Traditional swinging screens made of aluminum are the cheaper option. They can get the job done, but usually aren't too pretty to look at and not the most convenient in use. These types of screen doors are readily available in several home improvement stores, exhibiting various designs catering to varied home aesthetics. However, it should be considered that their functionality often outshines their aesthetic appeal.
  • A storm door is 2 doors in 1. If you live in a very cold climate you've probably seen storm doors already storm door not only serves as a robust physical barrier protecting against adverse weather conditions but also acts as an additional insulator, keeping your home warm during those harsh winter months. For those living in areas prone to freezing temperatures, installing a storm door becomes essential. Additionally, these types of doors often have screen inserts too, allowing for increased ventilation during warmer months.
  • Higher quality swinging screen doors are either made of thicker aluminum with stronger components or wood if it matches your home, something like unfinished pine.
  • Retractable screen doors have gained popularity in recent years because of their aesthetic and functional benefits. Retractable screen doors seamlessly blend into your home decor, maintaining the external view and charm, unlike traditional aluminum doors. Plus, they roll back into discreet housing when not in use, providing the convenience of an open-door feel while keeping the bugs out. Although they are pricier, many people find the investment worthwhile for the enhanced home appeal, user-friendliness, and improved insect protection. Remember, when fitting your screen door, professional advice counts, so opt for trusted installation services to ensure the maximum effectiveness and longevity of your chosen screen door.
  • Motorized screen doors are the cutting edge of technology. Typically these are installed between large adjoining spaces, like a patio or pergola These also usually complement the home with the outdoors. Motorized screen doors are not only aesthetically pleasing but also incredibly practical. These doors should be installed with precision to ensure seamless operation. They come equipped with sensors and remote controls that make them ideal for those seeking convenience. Installing these doors might be a tad complicated compared to traditional screen doors due to the integration of technology. However, with the right tools, knowledge and, if necessary, professional help, they can be a fantastic addition to your home. Combining elegance and ease, motorized screen doors truly offer a beautiful, unobstructed view of the outdoors. Remember, proper maintenance is key to keeping these screen doors in top-notch condition.
  • Sliding screen doors are the go-to to cover sliding glass door openings. Attaching to an existing frame, and covering the door in one direction. They are designed to align perfectly with the existing sliding glass door, creating a seamless and uninterrupted flow between the indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • Security doors: We cannot overemphasize the benefit of security doors in protecting your home. Security screen doors are designed to provide extra protection against burglaries and break-ins. Besides their protective features, they also offer an aesthetically pleasing touch to your home. These doors come in a variety of materials including steel, aluminum or a combination of both. Depending on your preference, you could opt for a screen door with a sliding, hinged or retractable design. Remember, the type of screen door you choose should fit your security needs and match your house's style.

2. Gather Required Materials Before You Begin

Organize the tools and materials you’ll need before you get to work. Having everything in one place and saving you constant trips to the garage, or worse, 3 trips to Home Depot or another hardware store on a Saturday, and will save you steps and precious time. Some items you will likely need :

  • A Screwdriver
  • Cordless Drill
  • Tape Measure
  • Level
  • Saw
  • Wood Screws
  • Weatherstripping
  • Latch or Handle Set.
  • Marking Pencil
  • Small Ladder or Stool
  • Caulk
  • Dry Silicone Spray

3. Inspect the Doorway Before Starting

  • The first step in the installation process is to inspect the door frame for any damage, rot, splits, or signs of insect infestation. You should also check the hinges and screws to ensure they are secure and not loose. Once that is done, you will need to make sure the door is the correct size for the opening.
  • You should look for any gaps between the door and the frame that may need to be filled or patched. It is also important to check the weather stripping to make sure it is in good condition and not cracked or torn.
  • Once you’ve completed those steps, you should make sure the door is level and plumb before you start installation. You should also look for any signs of warping or bowing in the door, as this could affect how the door fits in the frame.
  • It is also important to check the door latch to make sure it is working correctly and that the lock is secure. Additionally, make sure to check the door’s sweep to make sure it is properly attached and that there are no gaps around the edges. Finally, inspect the door handle to ensure it is working properly and that it is secure.

4. Measure Everything

Before you begin, get out that tape measure and write down the measurements. Be sure to measure the width, height, and depth of the doorway in 3 locations (this is very important!):

  1. The Upper Third
  2. The Middle
  3. The Bottom Third

This is critical because the door frame is not likely square. Knowing the shortest measurement is important before you begin. You can use accessories to make up for a door too small, but nothing will allow a door too big to work correctly. All your work will be wasted if you start with a screen that is not the correct size for the doorway.

  • Make sure to measure from jamb to jamb, not just the center of the door opening.
  • For the height, measure from the top of the threshold to the top of the door jamb.
  • If you plan on installing a storm door along with the screen door, make sure to measure the width and height of the storm door as well.
  • Take into account any molding or trim that may be around the door opening when measuring.
  • Make sure to write down each measurement so you can easily refer to them when shopping for the screen door.

By taking the time to measure your door opening accurately, you can ensure that your screen door fits properly and looks great. Following these tips from the pros will help you to install your screen door correctly and quickly.

5. Set the Screen Door In Place

Before you begin extra cutting and modifying, take your screen, affix the handle to the door before you place it in the door frame if it's a swinging door, and place the door in the door frame with the handle side facing in and check to make sure the door fits properly and is level. Insert a shim between the door and frame along the top edge of the door to ensure a snug fit. Use shims to level the door in the frame along the sides and bottom. It's better to know if you need to make changes to your door before screwing anything in!

6. Don't Forget the Final Touches

  • Install the door frame. Secure it in place with screws and anchors. Take your time and make sure that the frame is securely attached to the door jamb.
  • Check for gaps around the door frame and seal any that are found.
  • Apply a bead of caulk around the perimeter of the door frame. This will help seal out any drafts and keep the door from rattling.
  • Place the screen door in the frame and secure it with long screws. Be sure to leave a gap between the door and the frame for the screen material.
  • Measure and cut the screen material to fit the door. Attach the screen to the door frame with a screening spline. Make sure that the screen is firmly attached to the door frame with no gaps or tears.
  • Install the door handle. Make sure to get the right size handle from the hardware store. If it is too big it may hit the door when the screen is closed
  • Place the handle about 36" up from the door sill, but go higher if your door hardware is not going to interfere.
  • Seal the edges of the door with weather stripping to keep out drafts and insects. This will also help provide insulation for your home.
  • Install a sweep at the bottom of the door to prevent water or animals from entering the space. This will keep your home safe and dry.
  • Job well done, don't forget to brag on Instagram! You worked hard, and you deserve applause from your friends and supporting family!

Now that you've successfully installed your screen door, it's time to add the final accents to perfectly blend it with your house decor. Consider a fresh coat of paint or varnish, depending on your taste. Don't forget to match and install hardware like handles, locks, and hinges that seamlessly integrate with your door choice. There's no more satisfying feeling than looking at your screen door and knowing that it matches your home's overall design while adding an extra layer of privacy and security. Remember, the success of your project should not just be in functionality but also the visual appeal — and yes, this makes for a great Instagram post too. Tag us when you share your achievement, we love to see our tips put to good use!