Building and installing a screen door.

Old 04-15-16, 07:06 AM
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Building and installing a screen door.

Hello all! If you want to skip the backstory, jump to the red bolded text.

My wife has been very patiently waiting (since we moved into this house in '13) for a screened in patio. In order to get some brownie points (though not as many as just getting it screened in would do) I am going to attempt to build a simple screen door onto a secondary entrance to the patio.

The main patio entrance is two french doors attached to a space off the kitchen. Secondary entrance is a small 24" door attached to a non-master bathroom. The bathroom is adjacent to my wife's home office, so opening the window in her office in conjunction with the screen door I install will hopefully provide some nice and natural ventilation.

EDIT: The porch is covered, door is roughly 6 feet from uncovered portion.

My questions are as follows

Please forgive any incorrectly used terminology. I have several pictures of the door casing for reference, and several photos including measurements.

I am just planning on building a very simple pocket screw joined screen door. I have young kids so will probably include some stiles at the bottom. Pics of my anticipated designs attached as well.

I have seen some screen door tutorials that use planers, rabbet joints, dowels, basically high levels of professionalism and technique. I am NOT looking to do that. Basically, the simplest construct that keeps bugs out and can keep kids in.

With that being said, I need anyone to point out if I am underestimating this project or making any errors in planning.

Either of the designs seem easily accomplished with pocket screws and patience. So I consider the frame rather simple to construct. I plan to use whatever the cheapest 1X4 lumber available is (first possible mistake?). I want to paint the door to match the casing (will that protect it from the elements?). Looking at the exterior door from the outside, the door would pull open towards the left (not sure if I'm saying that right. Hinges on the left, door handle on the right, pull to open)

As far as mounting it, I am imagining building a door 81" tall and 24" across to fit the entire opening, then attaching three hinges directly to the door and casing. (Should I only build it 80" or 7X" tall and include a sweep or threshold? What kind of sweep should I use, the bottom would be directly on brick, not on a transition.) (Should the hinges be installed so that you see the entire hardware when looking at the door from the outside-in? or install the hinges like my regular doors, where only the pivot point is visible? Will the hinges I choose dictate a different sized door?)

For the screen, I know I can just staple it, but how would I cover up the staples from the other side? My main concern would be the thickness of the door, as the door knob on the existing door pretty much fills the entire jamb (and stops at the part I measure for thickness), so as I envision it, I only have 1.25" of door thickness possible.

Thank you for your time and patience in getting through that!

Please let me know of any other thoughts or advice you may have!
Attached Images     

Last edited by behrboythree; 04-15-16 at 07:12 AM. Reason: EDIT: The porch is covered, door is roughly 6 feet from uncovered portion.
Old 04-15-16, 08:04 AM
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Quick and dirty huh? OK.....

Use clear 3/4 poplar for the frame. Reasonably strong, paints well. Buy the straightest pieces you can find. In addition to the pocket screws, I'd pilot drill and put long screws (like 6") through the side edges into the ends of the top, bottom and middle rails for extra strength.

Staple the screen to the face along one side, stretch it lightly and staple to the face along the other side. Then staple along the top and bottom faces near the edges and to the middle rail. Trim the screen and cover the staples with Screen molding held in place with small brads. Paint everything before you install the screen.

I would use spring screen door hinges, 3 of them, screwed to the outside faces; they will keep the door closed.

Use a brush type sweep along the bottom edge to keep bugs out a little better. I think it will seat on the door frame bottom, not the brick.

Before you do any of this make sure you will have enough clearance to that iron gate to open the door; it looks like it will be close.

Either of your designs should work; I like the right hand one better myself. I'd put the center rail a little higher as it will add strength to the door.

Good luck with your project...Happy wife...happy life!
Old 04-15-16, 08:49 AM
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I'd have an aluminum screen door custom built - it's not as expensive as you'd think and will outlast any wooden screen door.
Old 04-15-16, 09:46 AM
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Thank you for the info!

The gate is a removable baby gate. If I install the door, it will come out. Otherwise, you would be right, there is not enough room to open the screen door with it!

Thanks again, I will be compiling a list from your post!
Old 04-15-16, 10:19 AM
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Find a supplier of 5/4 poplar or pine and use that. It will be 1" thick which will work better and be stronger. Your side pieces (stiles) need to be full length with the rails (horizontal members) fitting in between. Use pocket hole plugs to fill you holes and sand them flat with a belt sander. Use screen moulding to cover your staples. Be sure the frame is square when measured diagonally or you will need a turnbuckle or corner bracing to prevent it from sagging.

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