Installing a Screen Door: What You Should Know

Screen doors are one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors without unwanted pests or bugs. Check out this basic guide of good-to-know info before purchasing, installing or repairing your own screen door.



Bright yellow screen door on white house

Photo by: Zack Huggins

Zack Huggins

It’s hard to deny the charm of a screen door. Often associated with farmhouses or rural dwellings, the practical and purposeful doors allow fresh air into the home without unwanted pests or insects. Today, there are numerous options available when it comes to selecting the perfect screen door for your house — no matter where you live or what style your home may be. Read on for more information. 

Styles and Sizes

The classic wooden door frame with a screen insert is likely still the most popular and easily recognizable version of a screen door. However, vinyl options are readily available at many home improvement and door retail stores today. More stylized features, such as ones featuring Victorian or gingerbread-style trim, are even available on in-stock versions of the doors. 

Additional style options include retractable screen doors, which are installed along the jamb or framework of your standard door opening and retract — as the name suggests — rather than opening into your home. You’ll also find doors that offer the convenience of screen on the top portion and a traditional door or even a pet door insert on the bottom portion. Screen sliders, which work in tandem with sliding glass doors, are also a popular way to enjoy a breeze from the patio and even talk with friends and family who are indoors. Finally, if you are handy, you may want to build your own screen door using sturdy lumber and a roll of screen. 

Repairing a Screen Door

Tears are one concern when it comes to screen doors. Whether from general everyday use, the scratch of a furry friend’s paw, the elements of the outdoors, or any other number of reasons, rips and tears are inevitable with screen doors. Luckily repairing or replacing a screen is a task that a moderately skilled DIY-er can tackle. 

If you have a small tear, purchase screen repair tape or a screen patch, either of which can cover a rip and make the door usable once more. To replace a screen, you will need a few basic materials and tools, including a flathead screwdriver or screw gun, a tape measure, a utility knife, a staple gun, a piece of scrap lumber, finishing nails and last but not least the actual screen itself. For the screen, you can choose either aluminum or fiberglass. Aluminum screens are more durable and sturdy, but fiberglass screens are more transparent — which can be crucial if you are looking to not only enjoy fresh air but also a view of the outdoors. 

After selecting the type of screen you want to use, remove your door from its hinges and remove the molding that is holding the screen in place. Use the tape measure to measure the opening where the screen was in place. Add 6 inches to the length and 3 inches to the width of your measurements, and cut a piece of screen to these specifications. Lay the piece of screen out flat, pull it tight all the way around and tack it to a piece of scrap wood to hold it in place. Then, use the staple gun to attach the bottom and sides of the screen to the door. Cut away the excess with the utility knife, and reattach the molding with finishing nails. Rehang the door on its hinges, and you’ll have a completely new screen in place.

Next Up

Installing a Storm Door: What You Should Know

Learn the basic functions, plus preparation and planning tips, for adding a screen door to your home.

Installing a Dog Door: What You Should Know

Give Fido his own personal entrance by adding a doggie door.

Installing a Double Entry Door: What You Should Know

Create a welcoming — and spacious — entry to your home with not one, but two exterior doors.

Installing French Doors: What You Should Know

One of the most popular entry doors, especially for patios and side entrances, French doors can allow light and a breeze into your home. Read on for style, purchasing and installation tips.

Installing a Front Entry Door with Sidelights

Bring natural light and style to your home’s exterior with this popular door choice.

Expert Tips for Barn-Style Door Installation

Two builders offer their top tips for replacing existing doors with sliding doors.

All About French Doors

Learn about popular French door designs and get tips for installing a French door in your home.

Installing a New Front Door? Read This Before You Get Started

Learn the basics about installing a new front door or replacing an old one before you decide whether to tackle the job yourself or hire a pro.

Choosing a Front Door

There are many options to choose from when deciding on a front door. Learn the facts so you can choose the best one for your needs.

The Pros and Cons of a Wood Front Door

Wooden front doors have loads of appeal and benefits, however there are also some considerations to take into account. Know both before you select a wooden entry door.


Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.