Slam!!! The noise you hear as your shoulders creep up to your ears in shock when some someone enters your home. You know the sound well if you lived in the country with warm, buggy summers. Every house had a screen door where I grew up, pre air conditioning. It’s funny to me that I rarely see screen doors in the west. Since we moved to Bend in 2000 we’ve lived in 8 houses, 4 rentals and 4 that we’ve owned… Never a screen door. Prior to Bend we lived on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Hermosa Beach, San Diego, and in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where my husband and I are from. Other than our parent’s homes, and a few sliding doors with screens, we’ve never had a screen door on the front of our house…. Until now! Yup, that’s right, I made a slamming screen door this weekend. I love keeping the front door open and allowing the breeze flow through this house, but I could definitely do without the flies. I think it’s a nostalgic comfort of home, and I’m so excited to finally have one! Now I know they can be kinda ugly sometimes, but I think ours ties in pretty well with our front porch.
Here’s a picture of my front door before the “summer door.”
I’m going to attempt to explain how I built the new door. If you’re feeling adventurous, give it a try. It really was fairly easy to build.
5/4″ x 4″ Cedar (Actual Dimensions 1″ x 3.5″)
Roll Of Door Screen Replacement Kit
Self Closing Hinges
Screen/Storm Door Handle Set
Step 1. Measure the inside of your door frame, just inside your exterior trim. I did it three times horizontally and twice vertically. My frame was 36″ wide by 81 1/4″ tall.
Subtract 1/4″ from width and 1/4″ from height. This is the overall size for the new door. Mine was 35 3/4″ x 81″ tall.
2. Cut the 2 vertical lengths at full height. Mine were 81″
3. My cedar had rounded edges and I wanted the edges that faced the horizontal boards to be square so the joints were tight. I cut 1/4″ off of one of the lengths on each board.
4. Figure out what size to cut your horizontal pieces so that you can meet your overall width when combined with the vertical pieces. Mine were 29.25″
5. You can cut 1/4″ off both lengths of the horizontal boards if you wish. Or, see image above.
6. Figure out how tall you want the middle support to be and cut to size. Mine was 20″
7. Drill pocket holes in the 3 horizontal pieces on both ends, and on both ends of the support piece. Skip down a few images to see what I mean. (Have you ever used a Kreg Jig? I love it! Not a huge investment as far as tools go, either. And, I use mine A LOT!)
8. Glue joints and fasten pocket screws into one side first. My wood was 1″ thick, so I used 1 1/2″ pocket screws.
9. Center the support piece. Glue and fasten.
10. Fasten the last side in the same way.
11. Now, sand and stain the entire door and fill pocket holes with plugs if desired. (I didn’t use plugs because I covered the holes with thin trim after the screen was attached.)
12. Attach screen to back side of door. I started at the top and stapled close to the inner edge. Then, I pulled it tight and stapled it to the bottom edge. I finished with the sides.
Trim the excess.
13. Ok, somehow I really dropped off my photo shoot on the next step… I mean, I completely forgot to take pictures!!
Basically, I just ripped a few 3/8″ lengths off of the edge of a full length board. So, they were 3/8″ x 1″ x 120″. I cut the pieces with the chop saw to length to cover all of the staples and used a finish nail gun to secure them in place. I stained the pieces before nailing them. Here are some photo’s to give you an idea of the after product on the interior side of the door.
Obviously, you could use wider trim to cover the “T” support area, but I don’t mind it this way. Truth be told, my saw blade was getting dull and I just knew it was going to give me a hard time if I ripped the board down on the tall edge.
Here are some close-ups. If you’re like me, sometimes photos are better than words when reading directions.
14. Fasten hinges to door with only the center screw to allow for final adjustments once it’s attached to the doorway. Read directions on packaging. I bought this set from Home Depot. They’re self-closing.
15. Making sure that you are square, screw the hinges to the exterior trim. If it is swinging properly, add the remaining screws to the door hinges.
16. Add the door hardware and your done!! I’m not even going to attempt how to explain how to do that. I followed the package directions and still had to redrill it to move the handle over more. I used this hardware, also from Home Depot.