How Do You Install a Screen Door?

Screen DoorScreen doors are easy to install and offer several benefits for your home. When it’s not too hot, a screen door will let warm air out and cool air and breezes in, saving money on air conditioning. A screen door also connects indoor and outdoor living areas and gives your home a bright, open, airy look.

Measuring the Door

The first step is to measure the outside of the door where you are going to install your screen door. Measure the width of the door in three places: the top, the middle, and the bottom between the inside edges of the side casings. Measure the height of the door in the middle from the sill to the bottom edge of the top casing. The height of your door and the narrowest of the three width measurements dictate the size of the door you need to purchase. Home stores keep standard size doors that measure 32, 34, and 36 inches wide in stock, but they can supply a custom size door in approximately two weeks. The standard size doors vary in height, so choose one that is as close in height to your door as possible. You can install rain caps if the door is too short or trim the door if it is too tall. If you live in an area with a lot of rain or snow, a rain cap or drip cap prevents water damage to the doorframe. So, even if the screen door is the right height, you may want to install a rain cap anyway.

The screen door’s hinges are usually on the same side as the hinges for the entry door. However, if the screen door would hit your porch light when it opens or if the handle of the screen door and the entry door would interfere with each other, you can place the hinges of the screen door on the opposite side of the doorframe from the side where the entry door hinges are.

Gather Your Tools

The manufacturer’s installation instructions will have a list of the tools you will need. For the screen door, you will need a drill, a drill bit that is 1/8-inch in diameter, and a screwdriver. You may need a ruler, shims, and a metal cutter. The rain cap and the necessary galvanized screws should be in the kit for the screen door. You will also need silicone caulk and exterior paint that matches your house.

Installing the Rain Cap has instructions on how to install a rain cap. Center the rain cap channel at the top of the doorframe and apply the caulk to the rain cap. The caulk keeps water from getting between the rain cap and the doorframe. Attach the rain cap to the doorframe with the screws. Finally, apply the paint to the screws so that they blend with the doorframe.

Fit the Door and Adjust the Size

Set the screen door into the door opening and center it using shims or wedges. There should be at least one-quarter inch of space at the top and bottom and at least one-eighth inch of space on each side. If the door is too short, adjust the sill expander. If the door is too big, measure and trim off the hinge channel or the sill expander as needed.

Attaching the Hinges

When you have the door centered and sized, use a pencil to mark the location of the screws for the hinges on the screen door and the doorjamb. Set the screen door on a solid surface, make sure that you have the hinges opening the correct way, and attach them to the screen door. Set the screen door back inside of the door opening again using shims or wedges to hold the door in place. Drill one-eighth inch pilot holes in the doorjamb at the locations you previously marked. Tighten the screw in the bottom hole of the top hinge first and use a level to make sure the screen door is straight. Once the door is level, insert the rest of the screws into the hinges.

Finishing Up

Remove the shims or wedges and attach the handle to the screen door if it is not already in place. Test the door to be certain that it opens and closes easily. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the screen door closer if one is included.

Related Resource: How to Install Interior Shutters

You’re done! You have installed a screen door. Now, all that’s left is to sit back and enjoy the view and the fresh air.