How to Install Exterior Screen Doors

Having a screen door on the front of your house means you can open your door on warm days and allow a breeze to enter your home without worrying about insects getting inside. Screen doors come in a variety of styles to fit the architecture of your home. Your local hardware store or builder's supply store will have a few types available. However, most stores will allow you to special-order a model that is not in stock. Installing a new screen door is a fairly simple do-it-yourself project.

Having a screen door allows you to open the main door for additional sunlight and fresh air.
  1. Measure the opening to determine which size of screen door you will need. Make sure you measure just the inside of the door frame and allow a 1/8-inch gap on each side and up to a 1/2-inch gap in the height.

  2. Place the rain gap, the upper edge, on the top of the door frame and screw it into place. Attach the hinge Z-bar to the door on the side you would like the door to swing from. Take into account which hand you open doors with, and whether or not the architecture of your home will interfere with the door opening in any one direction. The top of the Z-bar should be flush with the top of the door; any extra should be hanging off the bottom.

  3. Measure the height of the door opening from the underside of the rain gap to the top of the bottom sill. Mark this measurement on the Z-bar and cut off the excess. Close the screen door and place it in the door opening.

  4. Push the hinge side against the jamb. Make sure the hinge Z-bar is touching the rain gap. Use a level to make sure the door is parallel to the side jambs of the door opening and level with the bottom sill.

  5. Secure the screen door to the doorjamb with the supplied screws. Place these screws above and below each hinge. Open the screen door and secure the inside of the Z-bar to the jamb with more screws, also at hinge level.

  6. Adjust the rain gap as necessary so the space between the gap and top of the door is even for the entire width of the door. Measure the distance from the bottom of the rain gap to the top of the bottom sill on the handle side of the door. Cut the side Z-bar to this length.

  7. Place the side Z-bar onto the doorjamb and adjust it so the gap between the bar and the side of the door matches the recommended gap set by the manufacturer. Screw the Z-bar to the doorjamb.

  8. Install the handle, following the manufacturer's directions. Slide the expander off the bottom of the door. Push the sweep onto the bottom of the expander. Cut off any excess sweep. Slide the expander back on the door and secure it with screws.

  9. Install the door closer according to the manufacturer's directions. Adjust the pressure of the closer, using the screw on its end. This will make the door close either faster or slower.