Screen Door Replacement In 8 Steps

It doesn’t have to be summer time to think about a screen door replacement. Assuming that you have a standard doorway and your current door hangs well, then you're off to a good start. Use your existing door as a template for your new door to take measurements, and replicate hinge and latch placements.

However, if you need to make some adjustments based on your existing door and doorway, you might need to install new hardware. Manufacturer's often include simple instructions on how to install their hardware which can be accomplished using hand tools. If your hinges and door return are in good shape, you can reuse them. If not, the following steps will work for new hardware as well. You might also want to consider a pre-hung door, which comes complete with hardware and frame. 

The following tips will focus on replacing a standard wood screen door.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Utility knife
  • ½” chisel
  • drill
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • hand or power plane or table saw
  • skill saw
  • wood putt
  • shims

Step 1: Measure

If the old door did not hang well, measure the doorway’s width across the top, middle and bottom areas of the doorway to ensure accurate measurements.  Measure the height along the left and right side of the doorway. You can trim up to 1 inch off each side of the door, 3/8 inches off the top and 3/4 inches off the bottom without negatively affecting the integrity of the door. To ensure that the door hangs well, use 3 hinges. 

Step 2: Fit 

Trim the door to allow for 1/8 inch to 3/16 inch gap all around.  Use a plane for precision, matching the doorway’s measurements you took earlier.

Step 3:  Prep Door Hinge Placement

Trace out the hinges on the door’s edge, matching their location to your existing door. (Typically a wood screen door is hung in front of the door stop.)  Score the traced out areas with the utility knife. 

Step 4:  Create Hinge Cutouts

Chisel out the outline of the hinge to a depth that allows for hinge to become flush with the door’s edge. Make sure the chiseled out area is neat and even to accept the hinge.

Step 5:  Install Hinges

Screw in the hinges and you're ready to hang your door.

Step 6:  Prep Door Jamb

If the hinge cutouts on your door jamb require some touch-up, smooth out the cutout area with the chisel, and if necessary use wood putty over the existing screw holes and let it set.

Step 7:  Install Door

Use shims underneath the door to both lift and keep the door level.  Match the door hinges to the cutouts on the door jamb and screw in the hinges.

Step 8:  Install Your Door Return 

Hopefully you also replicated the positioning of your door return on your new door, and you have good solid wood on the door jamb to screw in your door once this is done, you're good to go.