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!
LOL I can see our building techniques are very similar! I often use CD cases or magazines and stacks of books as temporary shims!
Love your doors!
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
Neat idea, Nancy, I had no idea this was available! So far, these two have ran up the screens for the odd moth, but they seriously could care less about it for the most part. Whew…
It sure where you are but the pet proof screen we have with 2 large dogs jumping up on it hasn’t torn even a bit! It’s like a thick plastic or something
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!
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
Your new doors are FANTASTIC! Once again, you ROCK at budget friendly, awesomely stylish home-improvement!!! Absolutely a GREAT job!
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 !!!!
What a brilliant idea, and they don’t detract from your view. They look great!
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!
Did you end up doing it Marti?! I’d love to see them!
They look wonderful. It is sure fun to see your cute cats enjoying them.
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!
Uh oh… another husband is narrowed down… maybe I better leave town? 🙂
Love the doors! Almost as much as kitty!
You amaze me!! Is there anything you can NOT do? Great doors! I know you’re gonna love them!!
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…
I’d bet they could order them in for you! Yup, they were $35 each. I couldn’t have even made them for that I’d bet. Nor would I have wanted to.
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!
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.
Please let me know when you deliver the news so I can ‘hide’… haha
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!
I personally don’t see that as a problem Lisa. Front door screens swing open towards the outside too. I think it should be fine!
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
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 😉
Hey Erin! I’ve adjusted the hinges to be quite tight! No bugs in sight!
Thanks for letting me know!
The doors are fabulous and your kitties are adorable too. I’m inspired!
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!
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!
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!
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,
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.
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.
Donna! I love love LOVE this!!! I’ve followed you for a LOOONG time but never commented before. Your talent and inspiration has fed a multitude of ideas and courage to try for so many! Keep up the fabulous work and PLEASE post the updated finished pictures!!! Just ONE question…. Do you or any of your followers know where the rest of us (in the US)can find affordable starter screens? So want to DO THIS!!
Hi Billie! Thanks for the push! I need to enhance the screen doors still so I’ll put that on my fall to do list! I have a fab idea. 🙂
Have you checked Home Depot? I’d attempt to search ‘finished screen door’ and your area and see what comes up!
If you don’t mind me answering this, I found them at Lowes.com
Screen Tight Creekside Natural Wood Hinged Screen Door (Common: 36-in x 80-in; Actual: 36-in x 80-in)
Item #: 442695 | Model #: WCRK36
3.6 / 5
Screen Tight Creekside Natural Wood Hinged Screen Door (Common: 32-in x 80-in; Actual: 32-in x 80-in)
Item #: 442694 | Model #: WCRK32
3.8 / 5
Hoped that helped.
Your exterior doors are mounted backwards. It looks like the open by pushing out to the outside. The hinges should be in your house not outside. Maybe I’m viewing the picture wrong?
Hi Bill, you aren’t viewing the picture wrong. We chose to have the doors open outside due to lack of room inside. Being that the doors lead to a patio with a cover, it works beautifully in our case!
May I ask what stops the screen doors, with french doors once you open both of them there is nothing in the middle for them to hit against or am I missing something?
Hi Sonja! The doors close against the top and bottom of the door opening itself. In other words, the doors need to be a little taller than the opening for a natural stop. They really do work great!
We have french doors in our living room and I just looked at the Menards website and hated the idea of a sliding screen and it was SO expensive. What I wanted was exactly what you did! Saving this post, can’t wait to do the same thing for us!
Cool doors. We have cats too and I want to put a screen door on our French doors so they can gaze out into the front court and get fresh air. I’m not a DY’r so I’ll have to buy something. My husband is not a handyman so he won’t do it for me. Sigh. But good for you for coming up with your own idea, they look great. And your kitties are beautiful.
Thanks for sharing,
I love this idea! just sw it on Pinterest while browsing. the bad tthing is that on my back deck, I have sliding doors, with a screen….and my cats have learned to open the sliding screen door!!! ugh…holes. still trying to figure that out!!! but this is great!!!! thanks!!
Angela from NJ
Where do the door handles fit so they don’t hit the screen?
Hi Leigh, the screen doors open towards the inside of the house, so I would just use them on the inside. I still don’t have any on! 🙂
Great job on the screen doors. Could this work for french doors that open inward?
Hi Deb! You’d likely need to install the screen doors from the outside, but I do feel that would work!
I am so happy to find this screen door project. I love the way you think outside the box. I admire your creativity and determination. Thank you very much for posting it.
When it’s not hot enough for the air conditioner and too warm for the heater I love to just open the doors and windows to enjoy the smell of fresh air. We are a tad too frugal to spend $2000 for french door screens considering there are only a few weeks in the spring and fall when we could actually open the house up.
Today that is going to change!! As soon as my husband blows the dust off his wallet we are heading down to the hardware superstore to grab wood doors and supplies. Thank you so much for this inspiring idea!
You are so welcome Kym, and I hope the idea works for your size of door frame! I seemed to have lucked out. I hope you do too!
p.s. something I would have done had they not fit right is to remove the trim around the door opening and replaced it with flat, then attached door hardware to that in some way. I was bound and determined to make this work! haha
This is a great idea….just the inspiration I needed! Jackie
Crazy how this idea worked, but they’re still holding up strong!
My daughter Jade, who lives in my walkout basement, and I have been brainstorming how to add screens to the basement french doors without spending a lot of money. My husband passed away in May 2013 (a blessing after he suffered a massive stroke) so I missed a lot of your posts. Thanks so much for re-sharing this idea & others on your March 16, 2020 post. Putting this project at the top of my list as soon as the weather warms up here.