How to Replace a Screen Door
Screen doors provide fresh air and help cool down home interiors without using energy. It's time to replace a screen door when the frame has become damaged, the screen is torn beyond repair, or when it's time to upgrade to a new screen door. Screen doors have few parts and are lightweight, making them easy to install. Learn how to replace a screen door in about an hour.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Electric drill
- Drill bit set
- Drill driver set
- Tape measure
- Screen door, hinged
Measure for the Screen Door
Measure the opening to know the correct screen door size to purchase. If the current door is available, measure it instead of the door opening. Exterior door openings are generally either 32 inches or 36 inches wide, with a height of 80 inches.
Remove the Current Screen Door and Frame
Remove the screen door and all related parts attached to the door frame. Unless the replacement screen door is an exact match for the old screen door, the framing components likely will not be compatible.
Determine Hinge Side
The hinges of the screen door should be on the same side as the hinges on the entry door. All screen doors swing outward.
Position the Door Correctly
Orient the screen door up or down so that its hinges will be on the correct side. Universal or reversible screen doors have no pre-determined up or down. Remove the metal or plastic door screen hinge channel from the side of the screen door. You may need to first turn out the screws holding the screen door hinge channel to the door.
Measure the Door Opening Height
Measure the height of the door opening on the intended hinge side. Use a tape measure. Measure on the inside of the door opening.
Mark the Screen Door Hinge Channel
Transfer the door height measurement to the screen door hinge channel, minus a certain length recommended by the screen door manufacturer. The distance to subtract may range from 1-inch to 2-1/2 inches. Do not estimate. Check with the instructions first.
Cut the Screen Door Hinge Channel
Cut the screen door hinge channel on the mark with the hacksaw.
Install the Screen Door Hinge Channel on the Door Opening
Screw the hinges of the screen door hinge channel to the inside of the door opening. To avoid splitting the door casing, pre-drill pilot holes before driving the screws.
Slide the Screen Door in the Door Hinge Channel
Swing the door hinge channel open to give yourself better access. Slide the hinge side of the screen door into the door hinge channel. It should fit snuggly. Gently close the screen door to see if it fits in the door opening.
Attach the Screen Door to the Door Hinge Channel
Drive screws through the door hinge channel and into the screen door to attach the channel to the door.
Attach Top or Bottom Channel Extenders (Optional)
Some screen doors have optional U-shaped channels that fit at the top or bottom of the door to cover gaps. If these are necessary, slide them over the top or bottom of the door and screw them into place.
Attach the Screen Door Handle
Screw the door handle on the outside of the screen door at around the middle-vertical spot or any place that is comfortable to most users. This type of door is held shut by the return spring or pneumatic closer. There is no door latch and strike that will need to be lined up, so the door handle can go anywhere.
Install the Inside Eyehook Lock
On the inside, attach the eye hook and latch so that they align. Attach one part on the door and the other part on the inside of the door frame.
Attach the Return Spring or Closer
On the inside, attach the return spring or the pneumatic door closer. One end is attached to the door frame and the other end to the top of the door.
When to Call a Professional
A screen door with a spring or pneumatic close on a 32- or 36-inch door opening should be fairly easy for most do-it-yourselfers to install. Screen doors integrated into storm doors or French door (double) screen doors can be more difficult to install, so professional help may be needed.