I install a couple of these when I was in my teens/20s at my parent's
house. I remember it being a pain, but I got it done and it worked.
Now, 30 years later, I need to install a wooden screen door in my own
house. It's going in a "brand-new" 36" door-frame.
I have the screen door, I have three hinges, I've searched the web for
about 6-8 hours and have found no help...so...
I want to use three hinges, right-hand swing, pneumatic closer.....I'm
just at a loss where to start. The new door has no instructions, all I
can find on the web are instructions about using some long "tied-
Any points in the right direction...I can post pix of the door frame,
etc., if that would help, but it's pretty standard. Do the screen
door hinges fasten on the outside so that they are totally visible,
etc....Yeah, stupid questions, but my carpentery skills are just above
4th grade. LOL
Hardest- mortised hinges, about like the real door has.
Easier- surface-mount strap hinges.
Easiest- take the wood door back, and get a prehung aluminum door that
surface-mounts to the brickmold. A whole lot easier down the road as
well. I wouldn't have a wood screen door on a bet- constant upkeep PITA.
There are good reasons that almost nobody uses them any more.
Having installed three of these in the last two years ...............
There are no hard and fast rules. Just prop the door up there and see where
you need to build it up. Most screen doors do not fit inside an old
opening, unless you catch that one in 1,000 that does. After that, you have
to case and shim and jamb until you reach an acceptable solution.
And then, all is not well because there is warpage, shrinkage, kids,
humidity, rain, sunshine, and a dozen other things that will make a
beautiful looking $200 screen door look like trailer trash in a month.
Guess the answer is that there is no answer.
The only wooden screen door I ever installed was on the door to what
used be the nursery in our house.
We wanted to keep the cats out at first, and then the toddlers when
the younger ones came along, but be able to keep the real door open
I surfaced mounted 3 hinges to the jam and double-deep mortised the
door itself so that when I took it off all I had to do was fill in the
screw holes in jam and repaint.
I also cut about a third of the top screen out and added a stringer to
support what was left. It's amazing how much breeze a screen door will
Thats ok Tim! I've had to ask some simple ones too because my experience
was in different areas. A wood screen door? We put one in. Due to the
design of our screened back porch, with hewn wood shingle 'siding' walls, a
wood screen door matches best. It's a very simple cheap 30".
Before hanging, you need to water seal and paint it with whatever you plan
to use. We stained ours after a good base coat exterior wood sealant. It's
easier to do this before hanging. Just leave the edge where the hinges go
untouched so you can see pencil marks if you want a dark color paint/stain.
(alternative, do that too and have a wax pencil of a color that will show
and use it where i mention pencil below).
First, (with a helper is easier, can be a 10yo as this is a pretty light
structure likely enough), set the door loose in the frame. What you are
looking for is to see if it needs to be trimmed. In our case, we had to
trim the wood with hand tools at the outer top as the frame wasnt perfectly
plumb. I'm drawing a blank on the name of that tool just now but can
describe it. It's got a handle on the top of a longish flat metal and at
the bottom you insert a blade. As you run it along the wood, thin slivers
come off for a controlled trimming job. ?Hand Lathe? Not a normal tool you
probably have but not an expensive one to get. If you've a friendly
neighbor who does woodwork, they'd probably be happy to loan it for an hour.
To attach the door, we used standard 'butterfly' hinges which are installed
just like you do on a normal door. Just look at any door in your house and
you can see how they go in. For looks, we trimmed the frame in just enough
so they lay flush to the frame (you'll see that on your interior doors too.
Not absolutely required but looks better and will have a better fit). Bolts
go to the side you'll be opening outwards at. It's generally better to
swing a screen door to the outside.
Trim the frame for the hinges and using duct tape, hold them in place. Now
hold the door in the frame again and match up the hinges. Use a pencil or
something to mark where the door side of the hinges will go.(pencil at top
and bottom). Then take door down and remove taped up hinges. Place the
hinges where they go on the door and mark the holes. Use a small bit drill
to make your holes then install the hinges on the door. Lift door into
place and swing open then use drill on frame with hinges in place to make
holes (other person holds the door for you) and install screws into hinges
at frame starting at top and working down. Helper needed for this phase.
Once the door is up, you can attach the automatic closer but we didnt bother
with one. We just have a simple latch. Now, touchup the paint/stain
Time estimates: Painting and curing took about 30 mins per side with a 2
day drying time between (the products we used and the weather at the time
Hand lathing took about 15 mins. Hanging another 15 or so. Previous screen
door hinge cutouts where already there so we used them with matching sized
Hope that helps! BTW, the others are right that you'll have to check and
periodically re-weather proof a wood screen door. Ours has been there 2
years and shows no wear or problems. Next year when we check it again, it
will probably need resealing in some form of top coat.
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