Wish your french doors had screens? Here’s a ‘how to install screen door’ method that is easy and price efficient!
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! (update… now 8 years old and the screen doors are still holding up!)
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 all the retractable screen options, replacing the glass in the doors for windows/screens, aluminum, vinyl, storm doors… just wasn’t sold with what was out there.
Plus, I wanted to come up with an affordable way for ANYONE to have screen doors.
And then I saw these…
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 for ‘how to install screen door’ instructions and didn’t like that answer either. Too difficult!
So I came up with my own fix. I WAS going to make these wooden screen doors work or else!
Basically put, both screen doors need to fit width-wise INSIDE the door opening trim with a little extra room to spare. You’ll soon see why.
Here’s the full installation instructions!
DIY screen door tutorial
PS: If you can no longer find price efficient wooden screen doors prebuilt, HERE is how to build your own screen door from scratch. Then just build two and make them fit perfectly!
How to install screen door for french doors
Supplies you’ll need:
2 wooden screen doors that are pre-made
(both must fit inside your door frame)
Lumber, most likely a couple of 2x6s
Wood screws for side door lumber
Attach lumber to sides of door opening
1. Insert both doors into your door opening, then calculate how much extra room there is to spare.
2. Attach lumber on the left and right sides of the door opening so they and the screen doors will fit.
The proper way to install screen doors is to remove the moulding and replace it with something the hinges can attach to. I didn’t want to do that, because the wooden screen doors weren’t even the right size to begin with.
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 the correct height, then screwed them onto the right and left inner framework sides of the doorway.
You also may wish to use shims if needed.
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 screen doors and hardware
3. Prop screen doors on an object so they clear the floor.
I wanted the door to close on something. Set off the floor at the height of a CD cover, the door hit the door threshold at the bottom and the top of the door frame. It was perfect! Thanks Hulk!
How to install self adjusting spring hinges
4. Install 2 screen door hinges on each door.
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″ down from the top of the door and 9″ from the bottom of the door.
The brackets were held at the right placements, then I made pencil marks through the holes.
I suggest to drill pilot holes first with a power drill and drill bit slightly smaller than the screws you will be using. This saves your wood from splitting, plus makes installation a breeze.
If you have a Makita tool kit like THIS, you will have everything you need. Get this kit!
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 any manufacturing instructions. YOU ARE JUST SUPPOSE TO KNOW WHAT TO DO.
Really now… time to change that. So here’s my DIY manufacturer’s instructions on how to install and adjust self adjusting spring hinges to create an automatic door closer…
How to adjust spring hinges
5. Adjust (tighten) the springs in each hinge so the doors will self-close.
.The spring hinges come with a long bar and a tiny pin.
a) Install the hinge with the little holes along the bottom.
b) To adjust the hinge, place the long bar in a hole and crank it to your right.
c) Then place the pin inside one of the holes to the left of the bar. The pin will lock the hinge in place.
d) 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. This will tighten the hinge.
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 my info is incorrect. But it worked. Is there such thing as a wrong right? This would be it.
Adding cupboard bumper protectors
6. Attach cupboard bumper protectors so your doors close softly.
Add a few cupboard protectors and your doors will thump rather than slam. Super cool!
The finished screen doors!
And you can bet I giggled at this point. My new screen door idea worked! It really worked!
I’ve yet to add a door handle, but on the latch side of the door, I did add one cup and eye hook after these pictures were taken which was very helpful to keep the doors closed when it got windy.
I suggest to test the doors for about a week, to ensure the door sweep clears the floor, the doors don’t hit each other, and that the hinges are tight enough to continue to close the doors.
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.
To finish the doors, you can add wood stain or a coat of exterior paint if desired. I’m still deciding how to treat mine.
But I like the raw 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.
Thanks to getting two kittens, I finally have screen doors for my french doors, and you can bet I’m asking myself why I waited so long now. A fly-free summer sounds intriguing!
So my little kitties, what do you think?
That’s what I thought too…
They are puuuurfect…
Think you’ll give this easy tutorial a go?
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