Installing screen doors on french doors… easy and cheap!

Installing screen doors on french doors... easy and cheap! via Funky Junk Interiors

Installing screen doors on french doors that were easy and cheap was high on the list this summer. We have two 4 month old kittens in the house these days. Actually 5 months now! They are growing daily in size AND on me. :) A quick fix was needed for summer ventilation and to keep my cats indoors.

I investigated all kinds of options for installing french door screen doors, but they were all so expensive, such as retracting screens, replacing the glass in the doors for windows/screens… I just wasn’t sold. I wanted to come up with an affordable way for ANYONE to have screen doors. 

I even thought of making some myself from lightweight lumber and screen material, until… 

Installing screen doors on french doors... easy and cheap! via Funky Junk Interiors

I went shopping and found wood framed ready made screen doors for $35 each. Say what?! (found at Rona in BC, Canada)

Sadly, they weren’t really the right size. I asked how to install them and didn’t like that answer either. So I came up with my own fix. I WAS going to make these doors work or else!

Once again real builders, please look away…

Creating a frame for the doors

Installing screen doors on french doors... easy and cheap! via Funky Junk Interiors

 

The proper way to install screen doors is to remove the moulding and replace it with something the hinges can attach to. Not only didn’t I want to do that, the doors weren’t even the right size to do that. So this is what I invented because cheating is my middle name. Funky Cheating Junk!

I picked up a couple of 2 x 6’s, cut them down to size and screwed them into both sides of the framework of the doorway. 

Installing screen doors on french doors... easy and cheap! via Funky Junk Interiors

I got a little giddy at this point because I could see it was going to work! My crazy scheme was going to fly, baby!

Installing the hinges

 Installing screen doors on french doors... easy and cheap! via Funky Junk Interiors

I wanted the door to close on something. Set at the height of a CD cover, the door hit the door jam at the bottom, and the framework on top. It was perfect! Thanks Hulk!

How to install self adjusting spring hinges via Funky Junk Interiors

Every screen door NEEDS to slam, or at least self close. So I learned there are hinges with springs inside them. Better yet, you can even pick up adjustable spring hinges, meaning, you can adjust how tight you want the springs for the right slamming effect. SOLD!

I googled on the right placement for the hinges, and penciled them in at 6″ from the top and 9″ from the bottom.

How to install self adjusting spring hinges via Funky Junk Interiors

Predrilling pilot holes is something I almost always do, to avoid the wood splitting on you. Plus, it’s just way easier building when you do.

If you have a Makita tool kit like THIS, you will have everything you need. Get this kit!

How to install self adjusting spring hinges via Funky Junk Interiors

How to install self adjusting spring hinges

 

Next up is a mini lesson on how to adjust these hinges because NO WHERE did I find a good tutorial on this! And… you guessed it. The hinges didn’t come with a tutorial. YOU ARE JUST SUPPOSE TO KNOW WHAT TO DO. Really now… time to change that.

How to install self adjusting spring hinges via Funky Junk Interiors

The hinges come with a long bar and a tiny pin. The little holes on the hinges sit on the bottom. 

To adjust, place the long bar in a hole and crank it to your right. Then place the pin inside one of the holes to the left of the bar. The pin will lock the hinge in place.

Try out the door. If it is still too loose, crank the long bar to the right some more, and keep moving the tiny pin to the left.

p.s. I installed both hinges upside down until I figured this out myself dag nab it! And I’m sorry to anyone that knows more than I do and this is wrong. But it worked. Is there such thing as a wrong right? This would be it.

screen door-0114

Add a few cupboard protectors and your doors will thump rather than slam. Super cool!

Installing screen doors on french doors... easy and cheap! via Funky Junk Interiors

And you can bet I giggled at this point. It worked! It really worked!

As shown on Instagram
Installing screen doors on french doors... easy and cheap! via Funky Junk Interiors

Installing screen doors on french doors... easy and cheap! via Funky Junk Interiors

Aren’t they cool?! For under $100, I have double french door screens to keep my kitties in and the bugs out! I LOVE them.And I even love looking at them.

 2013 patio update

pallet wood sofa outdoor furniture

I like the wood. It goes with the pallet wood furniture on my patio and it feels like the makings of a log cabin. It’s unexpected. The screen doors will get handles and decorated up yet,  I have some ideas brewing.

Installing screen doors on french doors... easy and cheap! via Funky Junk Interiors

Thanks to getting two kittens, I finally have screen doors, and you can bet I’m asking myself why I waited so long. A fly free summer sounds intriguing!

So my little kitties, what do you think?

Installing screen doors on french doors... easy and cheap! via Funky Junk Interiors

 That’s what I thought too…

Installing screen doors on french doors... easy and cheap! via Funky Junk Interiors

They are puuuurfect…

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    • The doors open in… and the handles and details will follow! I actually just added cup and eye hooks to the inside and outside and it’s enough… but I want to junk them up some and make them even cooler. Coming soon!

  1. You are a quite handy with making things work and your french screen doors are pretty darn awesome! Looks like the kitties are very happy with your handiwork!

  2. Hey Donna! You have done it yet AGAIN! I would have been intimidated by having to make them work versus an exact fit, but NOT YOU!!! I can’t wait to see how you ‘junk ‘em up’. Loving how they look already. They are the cat’s meow, lol!

    • I truly don’t know how it all worked out but I was just glad it did! I was prepared to attach a tiny piece of wood to one door so they had the illusion of overlapping if they didn’t quite meet, but I didn’t need to do that! So glad! Love these!

  3. That is awesome. For the flies I have seen where people have taken quart bags & put water in them with a few pennies and hang them around and the flies go away. Something with the appearance of what is in the bag and they don’t bother coming by. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

  4. Great job, Donna! Your doors are beautiful! I have a kitty question for you. Our cat has SHREDDED our back screen door. He has climbed it and generally attempted to rip his way through. Have your new kitties shown any tendency to claw at the screen? I wonder if they make kitty proof screen? haha. Just wondering if that came up in your screen door searching?

    Jeanette

    • Great question! I did consider the damage they could do. But the only time they go after it is if they are chasing a moth from the other side. LOL

      One has climbed right up after that silly moth, but it isn’t intentional clawing, just climbing. If they do that, I just pick them up and take them to their cat tree to entice climbing there instead. Seems to work!

      Not sure why they don’t intentionally claw on it but I’m crossing my fingers they don’t pick up the habit! And if they do, the screens are pretty cheap to replace. I prepared myself for the potential when eyeing up these particular doors.

    • Hardware cloth over the wire screen (add screen molding atop) will support climbing kitties and protect the screen from cat claws at the same time. Doing this to our screened-in porch so our three cats don’t destroy the whole thing.

    • I have a kitty with too many toes, 26 to be exact, so that is a lot of nails to protect screens from. I have purchase a roll of screen from the hardware store and it is suppose to be pet proof. So far it has done the trick. It is made of a very thick nylon/plastic. http://www.menards.com/main/screenhouses-screens/screens/pet-resistant-charcoal-screen-36-x-84/p-1918562-c-7666.htm
      I hope this helps. I am no way affiliated with Menards. I just like shopping there ;)

  5. OMG! I have been trying to find a way to add screen doors to my French patio doors FOREVER…inexpensively. I can’t wait to show this post to my husband and see if he can do something similar. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  6. The screen doors will be so nice! It’s cute to see the kitties enjoying them right away. I like your patio furniture. The wood is so cool!

  7. O’ The screen door idea was excellant !!!!! Fuel for the fire …….However, if you want to get rid of rust , what’s the easiest way ?
    Thanks !

  8. Hey Donna! I absolutely love this! I love screen doors. I’ve never ever thought of installing them this way…maybe this will work on my back door.
    I bought an identical door a 2 years ago… $20 bucks…inflation,huh?
    Anyway… I did a post on it here. You can see how I jazzed-up the plain jane door…
    I don’t like to toot my own horn and you said you had some ideas. I just thought I’d share it with you.
    here’s my link.
    http://corninmycoffee-pot.blogspot.com/2011/10/screen-door-weather.html

    Pat

  9. PS:

    I love the spring hinge…never thought of that…we just use a long spring in the screen door hardware isle.
    Also… the little buttons to dampen the noise are cool too. I should mention those for Honey. He doesn’t like the slamming door. He’s weird…
    I LOVE THAT NOISE! One of my favorite things, really!
    a slamming screen door…and a child’s laughter…I think they go together.
    ;)
    Pat

  10. I soooooo need this in my life! We have french doors off our bedroom, which is the only access to the backyard, and the flies….oh lord the flies. Ours open in, but I don’t see why I couldn’t do the same thing with the screen doors mounted to the outside. I’m gonna have to do some investigating. I NEED THEM!

  11. Love them Donna. And I can see they are highly pet approved! We’ve got the same design on our upper sun room door. Having a screen is bliss! We did have to add a guard though, my cat decided to sink his claws in for a good, long scratch about 5 seconds after we put it up. He loved it. lol. Me, not so much.

  12. I have been asking him to put screen doors up for me for five years now on my studio/office sliding glass doors…..are they up yet? NOooooooo. After seeing this post I am even more enthused now and maybe will tackle it myself. Thanks Donna so much for this post.

  13. Timely post for me since we’ve been discussing how to add screens to our french doors. This will be a project for us soon.

  14. This is so great — a month ago I drew some screen door plans but gave up because it seemed too complicated. (I need to build the doors, also, because they’re a weird size.) Now, with your tut, it seems do-able. Thank you!

  15. Hi Donna:

    Love the screens and as always you came up with a great idea to install the screens.

    Just a quick comment for you and others regarding cats etc. ripping screens. You can buy a special type of screen designed for pets – I believe its called pet proof screening. This special screen has some kind of built in stretch/flexibility to allow for scratching and climbing without ripping the screen. This screen isn’t cheap but its provides a degree of peace of mind when it comes to an escaping cat. Sometimes it can be hard to locate the special pet proof screen.

    I have personally never used the pet proof screen but I suspect you would be wise to add extra staples when installing the screen and then cover the cut screen edge with a narrow strip of wood millwork/trim.

    Please note: I doubt the pet proof screen would hold up very long to a jumping large dog.

    Hope this helps someone out – Nancy

  16. Hi! Excellent idea. I’m going to do this on my front door, which didn’t come with a screen. Too formal — or at least it was until I stained it too much, (just) stripped it and came up with a gorgeous, mahogany, antiqued gray look.

    A note: Sooner or later your cats will discover how much fun it is to sharpen their claws on the screen. Kinda like vertical carpet. Trim and tack some kind of grill over the bottom part, such as chicken wire. You’ll find something in keeping.

    I learned this when I came into the front room once to find not one but TWO cats attached to the screen doors almost at the top. Talk about giant bugs. Getting them down tore the screens. Chicken wire did my trick.

    Thanks for the great idea for my front door!

    • I’m with Pat I love the sound of a screen door slam, reminds me of childhood and every relative we had there was a screen door and everyone screaming “don’t slam the door” but it always came with giggles afterward! I had no idea Rona had these on for so cheap and I also have been trying to figure out a cheap way to build a fancy country style screen door. Now I can start with a premade base!

  17. Love your screen doors! Very cool! I admire the way you can just jump in there and figure it out as you go along and it turns out great! Your kittens are very cute!! Melanie

  18. Ahhh Donna , you never fail to please or encourage!This is so super good, I am sending to my hubs in the next room!
    And I am a cat freak…I wish I had a gajillion of them. I am sooo pleased you keep them in side! My fur baby is 19 years old and she is 98 percent indoor. Only goes out when we do, I attribute her long life to this. Good for you.
    And them! HOw fun to have 2 !!!!

  19. I am beyond happy, ( jumping up and down) happy that I found this!!! I’ve been racking my brain with a way to put screen doors on my French doors without paying a bazillions dollars!! I am SO doing this over the weekend!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  20. I’m so excited to see these screen doors. My husband and I argue all the time about French doors because I want them and he says the screens are too expensive. Now I can show him your post! Yippee, and thanks!

  21. What!!! $35!!! Very impressed. Making a screen door is on my to do list for this summer (I really hope I get to it before August). It’s a long list, and sadly the door is closer to the bottom as I was able to rig my broken phantom screen to stay closed…

    Might have to stop by Rona to see if they have any left in my area… it’s still BC just more in the central part…

  22. Thanks for the tutorial. I have French doors I want screens on but, like you, found most options out of my budget. Now to find the right doors curbside!

  23. You are a genius! :-) I can’t wait to show my husband how you installed these doors –Thanks so much for sharing and the detailed instructions.

  24. I love this idea! I’m going to copy you…but I have never seen patio doors that open OUT…I will have to put my screens on the outside!

  25. Love it – awesome job and you make it look so simple. Thinking this fall in Texas we’re adding screen doors. That is after we can turn off the A/C Thanks for sharing! -Carole

  26. This is a great idea!Do you find the door closes tight enough/has a tight enough seal along the bottom that crawling bugs don’t get in? We have a few ants around our backyard that I don’t want to invite in ;)

  27. Have you finished the screen doors (handles, etc.)? Would love to see an updated picture if so. Trying to figure some way to show these to my “Mr. Perfectionist Husband” and get him to make them. He insists on the retractable screens so we are saving up for them now….I would be just as happy with these! They look great and you did a wonderful job!

  28. LOVE IT! I was up against the same problems with my French doors. Now I know how to fix. Noticed the wall clock on the lattice piece on the side of the French door and got to thinking. I’ve always wanted a Swedish “grandfather” clock (the kind that’s a floor clock, don’t know the real name for them). Maybe a faux Swedish floor clock that could hang on the wall or lean up against it? Sure would like to know if someone out there has done one and the “how to” of it. Keep the great ideas and project how to’s coming!

  29. Why didn’t I think of that!!! Can you give ideas for my problem with screen doors. My cats and dogs scratch and claw, putting big holes in the screens. I’ve tried everything I can think of, from door guards to wood panels. It either doesn’t work or looks awful! Help!

    • Not really sure what to suggest, Kira! My cats climb the screen doors if they see a bug hopping around on it from the outside, but other than that, they have no interest. Maybe a solid panel down below is best for your own home? Good luck!

  30. Hi Donna!

    It looks like it has been about a year since you completed your french door screen door project, and I would love to know how well these inexpensive doors have held up for you? I ask because I got all excited after reading your page, and went looking for these doors at a local hardware store. I found the IDENTICAL doors at Lowe’s for just about the same price! Then I read started reading the reviews. All of them were very bad; many about the doors not being built square, many about them getting off-square and sagging very quickly after being hung. I would really like to know what your experience has been with the longevity of the doors you started with. It will help me decide whether to spend the time doing this project at my own home :o)

    Thanks a bunch,
    Angie

    • Hey Angie! I am in LOVE with the doors! Perhaps them remaining inside helped to keep them safe and sound? I have absolutely no complaints. I got them realizing they weren’t top of the line and am glad they are lightweight myself.

  31. I was wondering if you would have any suggestions for sliding doors. I live in the mountains of North Carolina and enjoy leaving the door open but there are a lot of flies this summer. I’m just renting so I didn’t want to invest too much money into the project.

    • That’s a tough one Isabella! I suppose one could build a framework of sorts around the sliders, then install doors like I did. But I’d price out an actual sliding screen door. It may not cost all that much.