Screen doors provide an economical solution for allowing natural light and cool breezes into a home while keeping out annoying pests and wildlife. New screen doors usually come in kits that include numerous pieces of hardware as well as door mounting equipment. But do they come with their own frame? And can you build your own screen door frame? We've looked into the answers to these questions.
Yes, most screen doors purchased either online or at home improvement stores will come with a complete frame, screen, and hardware to assemble the door.
Most manufacturers design screen doors so that they are already assembled by the time they reach your doorstep. This makes it easy for you to just grab a hammer or drill and quickly install the screen door with ease. Throughout this post, we will cover a few helpful tips that can help you determine how to measure a screen door, how to build your own screen door, and how to determine what size door frame to purchase. Let's get to it!
Two Important Considerations For Screen Doors
Knowing the material and the configuration of your screen door is the first step to purchasing a new one. Let's discuss these options in more detail.
Screen doors are typically made from one of four materials: wood, aluminum, fiberglass, or steel. Aluminum and wood are the most popular door options, as they are usually the least expensive. One of the biggest setbacks with a wood screen door is its potential to attract termites and its shorter lifespan.
Aluminum, on the other hand, can stand up fairly well to cold weather and is impervious to termite issues. Steel screen doors are the most durable doors that you can find on the market. If you're concerned about extreme winds blowing your door open or general wear and tear, they are an ideal option. Fiberglass doors are also gaining traction, as they are adequately durable and less expensive than steel doors.
When building a screen door frame or shopping for a new one, it's important to determine what configuration you want. Determining the "configuration" means deciding whether the door will be a double door, single door, or a door with sidelight panels (which are usually made of glass) that flank the main panel.
What Are The Standard Screen Door Sizes?
The standard size for most home screen doors is 30 inches, 32 inches, and 36 inches. The sizes usually coincide with the standard door height, which is 80 inches. You can also find door sizes that are 34 inches.
If your door frame is not of the standard door size, you can always have a custom screen door made specifically for your home. When measuring your door, it is important to conform to these standards, as over 90% of the doors available for purchase online or at local home improvement stores will fall within these measurements.
How Do You Measure For A Screen Door?
You can easily note the measurements for your screen door within a matter of minutes. Here are the steps for how to do it:
Gather your measuring materials
Gather all of your measuring materials including a tape measure, pencil, and a pad. Make sure that the tape measure is at least 8 feet long to ensure that it can measure the size range of a standard screen door. You'll also want to grab a Phillips screwdriver if you need to quickly remove any hardware that may get in the way of your measurements.
Click here to see this tape measure on Amazon.
Measure the door width
Start by measuring the width of the door. To do this, place your tape measure on the top of the door and measure from the inside edge of the trim to 6 inches down the door. Record your door measurement as accurately as you can.
Next, take your tape measure and place it in the middle and the bottom of the door, and measure the distance from each of them to 6 inches inside the door. So in total, you will take 6-inch measurements from the bottom top and side of your screen door. If your final measurements vary, use the largest of the three. Now you have the width of your door.
Measure the door height
It's now time to record the hide of your screen door. Start by taking your tape measure, placing it on the inside edge of the left side of the door, and take it to the top of the door trim (right where it meets the sill). Notate this measurement.
Repeat the same process for the right side of the screen door. If you noticed that your door frame has a slight slant, record measurements from the lowest point of the frame, as you can use a filler to fill the space later. Take the tallest of the two measurements and note this as the height of your door.
How Do You Make A Screen Door Frame?
Making your own screen door frame can be a fun DIY project that is fairly simple to complete. It can also be done within 6-12 hours, depending on your carpentry skills. Let's take a closer look at the steps to build your own wood frame.
Things you'll need:
- Mesh screening
- Tape measure
- Wood stain and sealant
- Circular saw
- Dust mask
- Utility knife
- Electric drill
- (1) 2x8x8 plywood panels
- (3) 2x6x8 plywood panels
- Screen molding
- Staple gun
1. Assemble your equipment
Gather all of your materials in your work location and ensure that you have access to an electrical socket for the saws (if you need to re-cut any pieces). Don your protective goggles, gloves, and a dust mask.
2. Measure and cut your wood panels
Take your tape measure and make any additional cuts to ensure that your panels will fit together in the door frame. Use your circular saw and cut the panels per the height and width requirements for your door frame, which you should have already taken.
Click here to see this circular saw on Amazon.
3. Piece together the outer frame
It's best to perform the next steps in an open area. Take the two panels that will cover the length of the door and place them parallel to each other. Then, take the two panels that will cover the width of the doors and place them parallel to each other as well.
Next, take the panel for the center brace and place it in the middle of the frame--this should be the shortest panel. Use a carpenter square to line up the four frames and the center brace. Next, place four braces on each corner of the frame and use a cordless drill to screw the braces into the frames. The typical size for the braces should be 2 1/2 inches.
4. Add the center brace
While it's typical to place the central panel in the center of the frame, you can also place it off-center as well. Secure the center panel with two braces and screw it in after the other panels. Be sure to screw in the center panel slowly so that the frame does not move during the process.
5. Stain the frame
It is now time to stain the wood (if you aren't planning on painting it). Place the frame on a drop cloth in an open area that has good ventilation. Start at the top of the frame and work your way around it clockwise. After the stain has dried on the first side, flip it over and stain the other side. Apply additional coats as needed.
Click here to see this wood stain on Amazon.
6. Seal the wood frame
Apply one or two coats of sealant to the door frame. Start at the top of the frame and work your way around it in a clockwise direction. Flip the frame over and apply additional coats as needed.
Click here to see this wood sealant on Amazon.
7. Apply the mesh screen
After the final coat of sealant has dried, grab your screening material, and lay it over the frame of the screen, covering the edges. It should overlap each side of the frame by one or two inches (which will be cut away later).
8. Secure the mesh screen
Take your staple gun and staple the screening to the edges of the frame, making sure that the staples are at least 1/8-inch from each one. Afterward, cut the excess screen with your utility knife.
9. Attach the hinges
Screw three hinges on the side of the screen door starting with the outer hinges, making sure that they are 6 inches from the edge.
10. Create a Standoff
Create a standoff for the latch of your screen door by cutting off a 3-inch and 6-inch woodblock and screwing it into the middle of the edge of the door. Make sure that the standoff lines up to the spear strike part on the home's door frame.
11. Screw on the door handle
Flip your door on the other side and screw on the door handle.
Click here to see this screen door handle on Amazon.
Wrapping Things Up
We hope that this post has shown you how to build your own screen door from scratch. Remember to get the correct measurements for your screen door to avoid having to re-cut your wood panels. Before you go, be sure to check out some of our other posts:
How Much Does A Screen Door Cost? [Price By Type Of Door]