All About Storm Doors
Learn about popular storm door designs and get tips on maintaining and repairing your storm doors.
Entry doors are often installed with extra room inside the opening for a storm door. Storm doors help protect the entry door from weathering and damage, while helping to increase your home's insulation and security. They are made to close automatically, but most have a locking mechanism to keep the door ajar. Never leave the door fixed in the open position, as it can be damaged in heavy winds. Storm doors can have a full pane of glass or have just half of the unit made of glass. Frequently the storm door's glass can be removed for a screen. Screens are commonly used in parts of the country when the season is temperate.
While most storm doors are manufactured so that you can choose whether to install the door with either a right or left swing, some storm doors are available specifically with a right- or left-handed swing. Be sure to check the model you purchase so that it opens compatibly with your current entry door.
Storm Door Design
Storm doors are typically full or half-view doors, meaning that the door consists of mainly one piece of glass or the door is solid at the bottom with glass at the top (as shown, above). Glass is available in single-pane and double-pane options from some manufacturers, increasing the opportunity to insulate and seal your house. Weather-stripping is another way to seal the opening around the storm door. The non-glass surface of the door is usually aluminum, and can be available with solid inner cores or foam insulation, with low-maintenance finishes. While the door may be aluminum or a composite, some manufacturers offer wood-grain looks to enhance your house's curb appeal.
When selecting a new storm door for your house, be mindful of how the entry door opens. If you select a storm door that only works with a right-hand opening entry door, it will make entering the house quite difficult. Some entry doors also are installed without an entry door in mind, and there may not be sufficient room in the opening for a storm door. Make sure there is room, before purchasing a storm door.
Maintaining a Storm Door
Storm doors receive the brunt of activity. If you want to prevent dents and other problems, keep the door's hinges oiled and check that the latches connect properly. At the start of each season, check that the door closers are properly adjusted and working smoothly.
Make sure the tracks are clean and free of any debris to eliminate unnecessary material that makes it harder to open and shut the door, potentially wearing out the mechanism. Sweep out the track with a brush or using a vacuum. It will help the operation if you lubricate tracks with a little silicone or Teflon spray.
Repairing a Storm Door
If a storm door is wrenched open by a gust of wind, the door-closer's plunger may be damaged and bent. In extreme cases the closer may be torn completely away from the jamb. If the closer is torn off, it will need to be replaced. Lock the door in the open position to replace the closer. Remove the pins that attach the closer and unscrew the bracket from the jamb. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to attach the new closer. If you have a pneumatic closer, you can adjust the speed of closure. Simply turn the adjustment screw in the end cap. If a door track is bent, you may be able to straighten it by tapping it with a block of wood and a hammer.
If your storm door has interchangeable glass and screen panels, make sure you create a snug installation when changing them. The clips must be tight. Replace any clips that become damaged. If your storm door's screen is damaged, you may need to replace it.