How to Build an Easy Screen Door

Screen doors allow air to circulate through the home, while preventing animals, insects, debris and intruders from entering.
Screen doors keep bugs out and let air in.Screen doors keep bugs out and let air in.
Screen doors are lightweight, and constructed of low-cost, readily available materials. They are typically placed outside heavier, solid doors on front and auxiliary entryways so they may serve as windows, as well as entrances. Easy-to-assemble screen door kits are available in many home improvement centers. These kits tend to be cheaper than ready-made doors, and make for a fun DIY project, during which additional support elements can be added for a long-lasting finished product.

Step 1

Use a tape measure to size the opening where your screen door will be installed. Select the proper screen door kit for your doorway opening based on this measurement.

Step 2

Do a dry run with your screen door kit. Put all the pieces together according to the manufacturer's instructions. Check that each dowel matches its corresponding hole and that the door fits the way it should. Disassemble the door.

Step 3

Apply wood glue to every joint, dowel, dowel socket and tenon. Reassemble the door and use bar clamps to hold it together, flush and steady during the drying process. By alternating your clamps and placing an even number on the front and rear of the door, you can eliminate warping or any sort of lean due to uneven pressure during the drying process.

Step 4

Use your tape measure to double-check that the door is even. Stretch the tape from one corner to the opposite corner and record the distance. Perform the same measurement on the other diagonal and compare the two measurements. If they match, the door is even. If they do not, make adjustments in your clamping until they do.

Step 5

Use your power drill to make 1/4-inch wide holes at each joint where a tenon slides into a notch. Make the holes on the notch side of the door, about 1/2 inch from the joint edge, and deep enough so they penetrate both elements. Use your hammer to drive 1/4-inch dowels into each hole after coating the hole and the dowel with wood glue. This will add support to the door frame.

Step 6

Use your tape measure to record the length of the inside edge of the screen opening all the way around the door. Use a hand saw to cut frame molding to fit. Use your wood glue, nail gun and 3/4- inch brads to fasten the molding in place around the inside edge of the screen.

Step 7

Assemble the provided screen frames with your wood glue, nail gun and 3/4-inch brads. Use a paint brush and stain to finish and waterproof the screen frames. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for staining and drying guidelines.

Step 8

Use scissors to cut the mesh screen to a size about 2 inches longer on each side than the screen frame. Use a spline roller to press the ends of your mesh screen into the designated slot along the inner edge of your screen frame. The spline roller wheel can then be used to firmly press your rubber trim piece into the slot where it will protect the inside of the frame and hold the mesh screen in place. Use scissors to cut away any remaining mesh.

Step 9

Install the door into your doorway opening.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Screen door kit
  • Wood glue
  • Bar clamps
  • Power drill
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • 1/4-inch wooden dowels
  • Hand saw
  • Nail gun
  • 3/4-inch brads
  • Scissors
  • Spline roller
  • Mesh screen material
  • Work gloves
  • Eye goggles

About the Author

Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.