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
Cordless drill and drill bits (I love my Makita!)
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?
.More how to install screen door projects:
How to build and install a screen door for the front door from scratch!
Learn how to fix or replace your own window screens
How to build a wood window screen for tricky windows
Add farmhouse molding to any window with stock lumber!
How to plank over top of a popcorn ceiling
Visit my other DIY projects HERE
82 thoughts on “How to install screen door for french doors. Easy and price efficient!”
They are gorgeous!!! One question, do they open in or out and where are the handles for opening them?
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!
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!
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!
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.
One penny only and it works like a charm…that is until you take your plate outside to dine 😉
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?
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 😉
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!
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!
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 ?
Wow that looks SO good and relatively easy too! And your kitties… LOVE them. So precious!
Wow I love this idea, also clever how ya got it to WORK just right for you! 🙂
Thanks for sharing 🙂
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Wow, Donna! You really made this look easy! I have a self french doors off my bedroom, but one is a stationary door. I wonder what I could do. Maybe add both and one just won’t get used? Thanks for sharing!
Looks great Donna! Sometimes “trial and error” is the best tutorial! Job well done!
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.
Great job, Donna. You the man!
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!