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.

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