How to Install a Storm Door

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How to Install a Storm Door. Putting up a storm door can add to your home's weatherproofing as well as get rid or that nasty-looking old screen door. Follow these steps to improve your home.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring Tapes
  • Drill Bits
  • Hacksaws
  • Hammers
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver Sets
  • Variable-speed Drills

Prepare the Door

Pick out a storm door that suits your needs. There are many styles to be found at your local home-improvement center or lumberyard. You will need to know the height and width of the door opening you are working with.

Remove the old screen door or storm door if there is one. You should find all the hardware you need with the new door - you shouldn't have to save any hardware from the old one.

Use the tips given here but remember that your new door will come with instructions and each brand, although similar, can have slightly different instructions.

Set up a pair of sawhorses near where the door will be mounted. Lay the new door flat across them and unpack the contents. It is much easier to work from a stable, waist-high work surface than off of floor level.

Hang the Door

Mount the top rail of the door frame first. These are cut to a standard length and may have to be trimmed slightly to obtain a proper fit. Use a hacksaw to cut this aluminum framework.

Make sure that you put screws in every hole provided and don't overtighten them. Overtightening can warp the frame out of shape.

Put up the side rail of the door's framework with the hinges on it. Again you may have to trim a little off the frame to get it to fit the opening. (Always trim from the bottom of the rail to avoid problems with getting the door to fit later on.)

Drill all the holes for the door handle and locking mechanism while you have the door lying flat on a stable base. Follow the directions on the template provided with your door.

Hang the door on the hinges. Place one screw in each hinge to begin with, then go back and put in the rest. (Having someone help hold the door in place while the first hinge screws are put in makes the job easier, but it can be done alone - setting the door up on wood blocks is one simple way to do it.)

Put the other long rail of the frame in place. Dry fit it first to try to get the gap between door and frame the same all the way down the edge. If necessary you can use some small wood or cardboard shims behind the frame to even the visible spacing.

Put on the Hardware

Attach the door handle and lock mechanism according to the provided instructions. The handle's position in relation to the framework will show you where to mount the catch part of the apparatus that is screwed in place on the framework. (Any screws that go through the metal framework should have a pilot hole drilled first to ease the process.)

Mount the safety chain at the top of the door. (The screws for the mounting bracket going on the door should have pilot holes drilled in the metal skin of the door.) This chain keeps the door from slamming back against the house if high winds pull it open or out of someone's hand.

Put the "door closer or operator" (looks like a shock absorber) in the required position on the door in accordance with the instructions. Take time with this - it is very important that the door closer is attached correctly for it to work properly.

Adjust the closer so that the door closes quickly but without slamming.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remember if the door is to large for you to haul, most places offer free delivery or for a modest fee.
  • It is a good idea to run a bead of caulking behind each piece of the framework as you put it up.
  • Don't skip the step of putting on the safety chain. Leaving it off can cause serious damage to the door and or other parts of your home should the door slam back in high winds.
  • Safety glasses are always a good precaution, especially if you have to saw aluminum parts.
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