How To Build a Screen Door
Let the cool breezes
come in while keeping insects out. Screen doors add comfort and style to
your home. Building one is a nice easy project for a novice woodworker.
The door is made with simple but strong half-lap joints, using just a few
basic hand tools and a circular saw. The basics for building a screen door
are presented here. Although a standard design is shown, you can easily
modify it to create a custom door.
1. Cut and Lay Out
Parts: Buy or
cut lumber to the desired width for the stiles (vertical boards) and rails
(horizontal boards) of the door. Cut stiles equally to the full desired
height and cut rails to the full width of the door. Next, lay out boards,
label them, and mark each board on the face that coordinates with the face
of another one as shown.
2. Cut Half-Lap
one or more boards into a jig that guides your saw. Set the cutting depth
equal to 9/16 in. (or half the board thickness). Starting at one cut line,
make numerous passes with the saw to remove all materials between the two
cut lines. Clean out and smooth the joint with a chisel. Repeat the
process for all joints on all boards.
3. Assemble Door
Trial-assemble the parts. If all pieces fit well, apply polyurethane glue
(a very good exterior glue) to all joints using a disposable glue brush.
Assemble the pieces and clamp the joints together with C clamps. Make sure
each joint is square before tightening its clamp; and when all clamps are
in place, check for overall square by measuring the door diagonals (they
should be equal). Let the glue cure as directed on the label.
4. Add Screen Cleats:
Although it would be possible to staple the screening to the face of the
frame, it will look much nicer if it is recessed by the thickness of the
screen molding (1/4 inch). To create this recess, glue and nail 3/4 x
3/4-in. cleats to the 5/4 framework, flush with the inside.
Before you install the screening, apply paint, stain, varnish, or other
finish to all wood surfaces. To install screening, set the door on blocks
and clamp it at the middle. Roll screening over the entire door and staple
it to the top and bottom rails. Release the clamps to stretch the screen
tight. Complete stapling the screen to the stiles and internal frame. Cut
excess screening with a utility knife. Cut screen molding to size and tack
it over screen channel to conceal the staples.
6. Install Hardware:
There are many hardware options. The simplest combination is a
face-mounted spring hinge with a handle screwed to each side of the door.
Just set the door in the opening (shimmed at the bottom) and attach the
hinges to the trim (casing) around the main door and the screen door
stile. Attach a metal handle with screws. If you prefer, install a door
lock set instead of the spring hinge with handle following manufacturer's
a Pet Door Hole
What You Need
1. At the bottom
center of a hollow core door, trace the pet door template. Be sure this
does not give access to your deadbolt.
2. Metal punch the corners of the traced area. With the #561 drill
completely through all four marks.
3. With the #561
and the cutting guide, carefully cut along the traced lines. Adjust the
depth of the guide, making sure you're cutting through both sides.
Exterior Doors and Storm Doors
Doors are necessary
for access and often for ventilation and illumination too. However, if
they are in poor condition (or just very old) they can contribute to more
than 40% of a building’s air leak related energy losses.
doors often fit and insulate better than old ones, and their associated
heat losses (or gains) come from opening and closing the door. However,
damaged weatherstripping can increase energy loss around the door
by many times. Check your weather-stripping every year and replace it as
needed. After replacing the weather-stripping, check the door seal again.
If the door still does not seal tightly to all sides of the jamb you
either installed the weatherstripping badly or the door is bent and in
need of replacement.
insulated metal or fiberglass door when replacing exterior doors. They are
a better investment than wooden doors since they are much more durable,
have lower maintenance needs and seal and insulate better. They also have
the added advantage of offering more of a deterrent to intruders.
Most insulated door
prices range from $200 to $400. One common type has a steel skin with a
polyurethane foam core; they usually have a magnetic strip (similar to a
refrigerator door magnetic seal) for weather-stripping. If installed
correctly and, if the door is not bent, this type of door needs no further
weather-stripping. The R-values of most steel and fiberglass clad entry
doors range from R-5 to R-6 (not including the effects of a window.) For
example: A 1-1/2 inch (3.81 cm) thick door without a window offers better
than five times the insulating value of a solid wood door of the same
When you buy a
door, it will probably be prehung in a frame. Prehung doors usually come
with wood or steel frames. In most cases, you will need to remove the
existing doorframe from the rough opening before you install a prehung
door. The doorframe must be as square as possible, so that the door seals
tightly to the jamb and swings properly. It is a good idea to use
expanding foam caulking to seal the new doorframe to the rough opening and
threshold to prevent air from getting around the door seals and into the
house. You should do this before adding the interior trim.
Glass or "patio"
doors, especially sliding glass doors, lose heat much faster than other
types of doors because glass is a very poor insulator. Multiple layers of
glass and low-e coatings improve the situation by 2 to 3 times, but it is
still considerable worse than for a foam-core door.
A sliding glass
door’s weather-stripping is intended to reduce air infiltration, however
by the sliding nature of the door’s design it is impossible to stop all
the air leaking around the weatherstripping while still being able to use
the door. Also, after years of use, the weatherstripping wears down and
air leakage increases as the door ages. If the manufacturer has made it
possible to do so, replace worn weatherstripping on sliding glass doors
with new weatherstripping.
patio doors, keep in mind that swinging doors offer a much tighter seal
than sliding types. Most modern glass doors with metal frames have a
"thermal break," which is a plastic insulator between inner and outer
parts of the frame. Glass doors are also optionally manufactured with
several layers of glazing, low-e coatings, and low conductivity gases
between the glass panes. These options are a good investment, especially
in extreme climates. Over the long run, the additional cost is paid back
many times over in energy savings.
Adding a storm door
that costs about $200 or less is generally a good investment if your
existing door is old, but still in good condition, but adding a new
(or more expensive) storm door to a modern foam core door is not generally
worth the expense since the added energy saved is very small. But you may
have aesthetic reasons for wanting a storm door anyway. In any case, never
add a glass storm door if the door gets more than a few hours of direct
sun each day. The glass will trap too much heat against the entry door and
possibly damage it.
Storm doors for
patio doors are hard to find but they are available. Adding one to a
modern multi-glazed energy-efficient low-e door is seldom economic.
Insulated drapes, when closed for the night in the winter (or on sunny
days in the summer) are also a good idea.
High quality storm
doors and windows use low-e glass. Frames are usually made of aluminum,
steel, fiberglass, or wood (painted or not). Wooden storm doors require
more maintenance than the other types. Metal-framed storm doors and
windows might have foam insulation in their frames.
Some doors have
self-storing pockets for the glass in summer, and an insect screen for the
winter. Some storm windows have fixed, full length screens and glass
panels that slide out of the way for ventilation. Others are half screen
and half glass; these two components slide past each other. Some are
easily removed for cleaning, others are not. All of these features add
some convenience and higher costs.
weatherstripping is often available at most building supply and hardware
stores. There are a wide variety of materials to choose from including:
foam rubber, EPDM rubber, felt, bent metal, and plastic.
weatherstripping, you should consider the durability of the material as
well as what would work best for what you are weatherstripping. For
example: bent brass and aluminum is found on many older doors and are
durable, but they conduct heat easily, don’t usually seal that well, and
are easily damaged by being bent the wrong way or through poor
Bent metal weatherstripping is also one of the most
expensive weatherstripping materials. Bent plastics are similar to the
bent metals, but are less expensive. They are also less durable. Most
rubber and foam materials stay flexible for years, are inexpensive, easily
replaced and effectively seal air leaks. You should choose the appropriate
door sweeps and thresholds for the bottom of the doors as well.
For the best
possible results from your investment, you should make certain that the
weatherstripping material will stay flexible under extreme weather
conditions. Also be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. In
general, you should:
entire door jamb;
Apply one continuous
strip along each side;
Make sure the
stripping meets tightly at the corners; and
Use a thickness
that, when the door closes, the stripping tightly presses between the
door and the door jamb without making the door too hard to close.
Plastic Storm Doors:
In most cases,
storm doors are intended to be permanent additions to a home. If you have
a window or door that is not opened for long periods of time, a less
costly do-it-yourself solution is to seal it from the inside with a
plastic sheet. You can make a temporary storm door (or window) by mounting
the plastic sheet on a light-weight wooden frame, which has the same
dimensions as the opening.
Add small handles near the bottom half of the
frame to make taking it out easier. Add a strip of felt weather-stripping
around the frame for a tight seal. Some hardware and home improvement
stores sell prepackaged kits. The plastic usually comes folded or in
rolls, and is 4, 6, and 8 mils(one mil equals 1/1000 of an inch) thick.
The thicker sheets are more durable. If you leave your plastic storm door
(or window) up all year long, try to buy plastic that is ultraviolet (UV)
resistant. It will last longer
Fix a Door That Won't
door should close and latch with a gentle push or pull. If you need to
slam it or if it won't latch at all, figure out the cause and the solution
The door may be warped so the top or bottom touches the
stop before the latch can engage - close the door and see if it engages
the stop molding evenly.
Newly installed weatherstripping may be preventing the
door from closing as fully as it once did.
A loose top hinge or house settling can cause a vertical
misalignment between the latch and the strike plate - make sure screws
are tight and look for an uneven gap across the top of the closed door.
The strike plate or the stop molding may simply have
been installed improperly.
You don't have to put
up with these annoying problems. Here are a few very simple fixes.
Wood putty or caulk
Drill and twist bits
Trim pry bar
Self-centering punch or drill bit
Nippers or locking pliers
4d finishing nails
3-in. brass screws
Phillips and standard screwdrivers
1. Adjust the Doorstop:
If the door hits the stop molding before the latch bolt has engaged the
hole in the strike plate, tap the stop in, as shown. This works better
with stained doors than painted ones, which don't move as easily because
the paint glues the joint.
2. Move the Doorstop:
If a minor adjustment doesn't solve the problem, remove the stop molding
at the latch jamb and, if necessary, on the head jamb, too. Remove the
nails left in the molding from the backside (so you won't damage the face)
using nippers or locking pliers. Pull or drive in any nails left in the
jamb. To reinstall the molding: Close the door and let the latch bolt
engage, place the stop in position and press it lightly against the door,
and install new 4d finishing nails in new locations. Set the nails, fill
the holes, and touch up the finish.
A thin putty knife may not be strong enough to pry the trim off. It
will, however, at least open the gap between the molding and the jamb
enough so you can insert the trim pry bar without causing damage.
3. Relocate Strike Plate: Move the strike plate up, down, or in as
needed. Remove the strike plate and fill the screw holes with wood putty
or a glued matchstick. Use a sharp chisel or utility knife to enlarge the
mortise in the direction that you need to move the plate. Reposition the
strike plate to mark the screw locations. Drill pilot holes and reinstall
the plate. If the move is more than 1/16 inch, touch up any gap with caulk
or wood filler, and touch up the finish.
4. Enlarge the
Depending on the type of strike plate you have, you may also be able to
enlarge the opening in the strike plate with a smooth-cut metal file. This
approach eliminates any need to putty and paint. Remove the strike plate
and lock it in a vise to file it.
5. Secure Top
any lose hinge screws. If the hole is stripped and the screw won't
tighten, remove the screw and drill a deeper pilot hole for a new 3-in.
screw that will extend into the framing behind the jamb. Also use this
approach if the screws are tight but you still need to raise the handle
side of the door so the latch will engage. As you over tighten the long
screw in the top hinge, it tends to draw the jamb in and simultaneously
raise the handle side of the door.
Fixing a Stubborn Pocket Door
By: Paul Bianchina
Pocket doors – doors
that slide back into a hidden cavity in the wall – are a handy solution to
door installations in a variety of areas. They can free up space in a
tight bathroom, block off noise from the utility room without interfering
with the washer, or even be used in pairs to create an impressive entry to
a den or dining room.
But when they quit
working right, pocket doors can be a perplexing item to repair – it’s
difficult to see how to obtain any access to them. So it’s helpful to
understand how a pocket door is installed in the first place, because
repairing one involves reversing some of those installation steps.
During the time when
the wall is being framed, the pocket doorframe is installed. The frame
consists of a slender box that resembles a tall, narrow crate. There is a
front consisting of two vertical boards and back that’s a single vertical
board, with horizontal slats on both sides that connect to the front and
back. On top, a long horizontal board is installed that holds a metal
track, and a finished jamb leg is installed at the end of that track.
When the installation
of the frame and track is complete, it takes up a space in the wall that
is twice the width of the door itself. Drywall is then installed over the
pocket door frame, leaving an opening in the wall that’s slightly wider
that the width of the door.
Next, rollers are
installed on the top of the door, and the door is installed by placing it
in the opening, holding it at a slight angle, and then lifting it up and
hooking the rollers into the overhead track. The roller mechanisms are
then adjusted to raise the door and get it plumb to the opening, ensuring
smooth operation and a proper height clearance over the floor.
At this point, the
door is hanging on its track but it will actually swing back and forth,
like a flap over an opening. So the final step is to install a pair of
trim boards vertically on each side of the opening in the frame where the
door disappears into the wall. This finishes off the installation, and
prevents the door from moving back and forth in the opening. With some
installations, a pair of horizontal trim pieces are also installed on the
top board, on either side of the track, to help conceal the track and
further stabilize the door.
To remove and repair a
pocket door, the first few steps need to be reversed, starting with the
removal of the trim boards that lock the door in place. First, identify
the two vertical trim boards, one on either side of the opening into the
wall. If the boards are painted, use a utility knife to carefully score
through the paint along the edges of the board. Then, use a small, stiff
putty knife and work the blade between the back of the trim board and the
door frame behind it. Work slowly and carefully, and create a small gap
along the back of the board.
Finally, work a small,
flat-bladed pry bar into the gap and gently pry the trim boards off. Keep
your putty knife flat behind the pry bar as you pry with it to prevent
damaging the doorframe. If necessary, remove the horizontal top trim
boards alongside the track, using the same method
With the trim boards
off, you can now remove the door. This is done by swinging the door
through the opening until it’s at about a 15 or 20 degree angle, then
lifting up so that the wheels dislodge from the track – for large or heavy
doors, this may be a two-person operation.
Close the door and
examine the shape of the overhead track. Some types resemble an inverted
U-shape, with the opening for the wheels pointing down, while other types
resemble the letter C, with the opening for the wheels facing to one side.
With the U-shaped track, the door can be swung to either side for removal;
with the C-shaped track, you will need to swing the door so that the door
bottom goes in the direction of the closed part of the "C".
From here, the repairs
depend on the specific problem you are having with the door. If it is
rubbing on the floor, you can adjust the rollers up to provide additional
clearance – if the rollers are already adjusted all the way up, then you
will need to carefully mark and cut a small portion off the bottom of the
door. If you are having trouble rolling the door, the wheels may need to
be simply cleaned and oiled, or you may have a wheel that is "dead" –
stuck and unable to roll – in which case you will need to replace the
roller mechanisms. Check with a door company or larger home center or
hardware store for replacement roller assemblies – remember that the
replacement parts need to be compatible with the existing track, so take
your old ones along for reference.
Finally, reinstall the
door in the same manner that you removed it, and then reinstall the trim
Install a Door Sweep
or Door Bottom
Both door sweeps and
door bottoms seal the gap at the bottom of a door from drafts, noise,
dirt, rain, snow, and pests. At $10 or less, this weatherstripping item
pays for itself within a couple of years by reducing energy costs. The
flexible seal material is either vinyl (best air seal and most durable) or
polyester brush. The rigid channel, called a carrier, may be available in
mill finish, gold- or brass-colored aluminum, white or brown plastic or
aluminum, and natural wood.
Tools & Materials
a Door Sweep:
attaches to the exterior face of the door and extends below it to cover
the gap. If interior carpeting would interfere with the standard sweep,
choose an automatic model, which rises as the door opens. Of the two types
available, the one that springs up from a pivot point is easier to install
and cheaper, but does not look as nice or seal quite as well as the
vertically rising model.
Chose a sweep that is at least as long as your door is wide. Measure the
distance between the doorstop, subtract the amount specified in the
package instructions, and mark the sweep for cutting. (A vertically rising
sweep has a working section and a cover to be cut, and must be cut only on
the strike/handle side of the door.)
Slide the vinyl (or brush) seal out of the carrier before you cut the
carrier with a fine-tooth hacksaw blade. Smooth any rough edges with
sandpaper (for wood or plastic carriers) or a file (for aluminum
carriers). Reinsert the vinyl strip and trim it with a utility knife.
3. Make Pilot
the door closed, position the sweep against the door so it makes light
contact with the threshold below. Trace the slotted mounting holes. Punch
or drill pilot holes in the center of your marks.
4. Secure Sweep:
Using the screws provided, mount the sweep to the door. As you tighten the
screws, adjust the sweep up or down as needed for good contact with the
threshold. If you are installing an automatic sweep, install the bumper or
strike plate as directed in the instructions.
5. Installing a Door Bottom: L- and U-shaped door bottoms, especially the types with a
drip cap, offer added protection for the bottom of the door. Typically you
must cut the door to accommodate an L-shaped model, but you can adjust a
U-shaped one to suit the gap you have, provided there is at least the
minimum required space. You may need to shorten the door.
With the door closed measure the distance from stop to stop. Very
carefully measure the gap between the bottom of the door and the top of
the threshold. Measure at the door center and at the left and right sides
to determine whether the gap is uniform and is within the tolerance of the
product you are using.
Measure, mark, and cut the door bottom as described for the door sweep
above. Hold the door bottom in place. (For a U-shaped model, open the door
to slide on the channel, and close the door carefully.) Adjust it until
the seal material makes light contact along its entire length with the
threshold. Then secure it with screws in pilot holes, as described for a
door sweep (Steps 3 and 4 above).
Install Mitered Door Casing
Casing, as the trim around doors (and windows) is called, has a strong
impact on the overall style, appearance, and proportion of an opening as
well as the overall style of your home's interior. On the practical side,
it conceals the gap between the door frame (called a jamb) and the rough
opening and helps to hold the frame in the opening.
Casing can be
relatively plain, such as the popular clamshell design or square-edge
design (called S4S), or detailed, such as colonial-style molding. By far
the most popular casing joint design (and the one described in this
column) is the mitered picture-frame casing.
If you want to install
a new door including the frame and you elect to use a "prehung" door, it
may have the casing already mounted on one side. If so, you only need to
install the casing on the opposite side after the jamb is plumbed,
squared, and secured in the opening. If you are retrimming an existing
doorway, your first step will be to pry off the existing casing.
Safety glasses or goggles
4d finishing nails
Trim pry bar
Drywall-taping knife or wide putty
Coarse, medium and fine-grit
6d or 8d casing nails (or
Power miter saw
Wood putty or acrylic caulk (if
Finishing supplies (paint, stain,
Wax putty sticks (if staining)
Remove Existing Casing: If you are retrimming an existing door, pry off the existing
casing carefully so you won't damage the wall or the doorjamb.
Always wear eye protection during demolition, cutting, and nailing
procedures. To prevent possible puncture injury, immediately bend over
or pull any nails from the removed casing.
If a film of paint or bead of caulk bridges the joint between the casing
and the wall, cut the seal with the point of a utility knife before
attempting to pry the trim. This makes prying easier and eliminates the
chance that you will pull off some of the wall finish or surface paper
when you pry the casing. Also, insert a thin flat blade (such as that on
a drywall-taping knife or wide putty knife) between the trim and the pry
bar so you can pry without damage to the wall.
The inside edge of the casing is typically placed back from the inside
edge of the jamb by about 3/16 inch. To mark this reveal, set the blade
position in a combination square so it protrudes 3/16 inch and mark jambs
at the top corners, the midpoint of the head jamb, and several points
along the side jamb. To make the mark, position the body of the square
against the face of the jamb with the blade extending over the edge and
mark at the end of the blade.
Measure the distance between your marks on the side jambs at the upper
corners (frame opening plus 2 times the reveal) and miter-cut your head
casing at 45 degrees on both ends so the short dimension equals your
measurement. Cut miters on one end of each piece of side casing. Remember
that one will be left-handed and one right handed. (You'll square-cut it
to length in Step 6.)
While not absolutely necessary, a power miter saw is far better than a
miter box saw, even a professional-quality one. The power saw makes
perfect cuts and can also make the very fine tapered adjustments that
are often necessary for perfect miter joints. If you can't justify
buying one, rent one.
If you are a novice, obtain and read a tool operator's manual, book, or
article dealing with use of the power miter saw; or ask the rental
dealer to explain how to safely use it.
Prime or Stain:
Before you install the casing: if you intend to paint, apply a primer, or
if you plan a natural finish, apply a stain and first topcoat. Cover the
sides and both faces to seal the wood and prevent warping. Prefinishing is
also easier than painting in place, especially if you don't intend to
paint the walls when the installation is complete. If you stain before
assembly, you also avoid the problem of stain not taking over any glue
spots at the joints.
Using 4d finishing nails, lightly tack the head casing into the jamb so it
just covers your pencil marks. If the casing is being installed on the
exterior you must use weather-resistant fasteners, such as hot-dipped
and Test-fit Side Casings:
Stand the left side casing upside down next to the left jamb with its long
side against the point of the head casing, and mark its desired length
directly. Alternatively, measure from the floor to the top left-hand edge
of the head casing and transfer that measurement to the casing. Square-cut
at your mark and test the fit.
7. Make Adjustments: If the miter does not meet without a gap,
which can happen if the jamb is not square or if it sits slightly below or
above the plane of the wall, the casing miter may need recutting. Since
cutting will result in the casing being slightly short, however, first try
one of the following procedures:
If a joint is open because the jamb protrudes out from the wall plane,
use a sharp block plane to plane at least the last foot or so of the
head and side jambs until they are flush with the wall.
If the jamb sits slightly below the surface, you may be able to improve
your miter fit by removing a little of the drywall where it bumps into
the back of the casing.
Use a Surform tool or a wooden sanding block with coarse sandpaper to
back-bevel the miter cuts slightly. By removing some material from the
back edge of the mitered face of one or both mating pieces, you may be
able to close the open joint on the face of the joint (the only part
Apply glue to the end of the side casing and position it so it fits
tightly with the head casing. (Don't worry about lining it up with the
reveal marks on the rest of the jamb yet.) Secure it to the jamb with 6d
or 8d casing (or finishing) nails. Position the nail about 1 inch from the
end and near the outside edge of the casing.
Then use a 4d finishing nail to secure the inside edge of the casing to
the jamb. See the tip under Step 5 to avoid splitting the molding when you
nail it. Once the miter is tight, continue nailing the rest of the casing.
Work your way from the top down, nailing at five equally spaced positions.
Repeat for the opposite side and then complete nailing the head casing at
the two ends and midpoint.
To prevent miters from opening, drive a 4d finishing nail through the edge
of the head and side casings about 3/4 inch from the outside corner. This
will lock them together. Once again, see tip under Step 5 to avoid
splitting the molding.
10. Finishing Touches: Wipe off any excess glue immediately with a
damp cloth, drive all nail heads slightly below the surface with a nail
set and hammer, and hand-sand as needed to make casings flush with each
other and to eliminate any splinters. If you plan to paint, fill nail
holes with wood putty or acrylic caulk first; if you will stain, fill them
with colored wax putty sticks after you complete finishing.
How To Repair an
Aluminum Storm or Screen Door
Aluminum storm doors
are generally quite rugged and maintenance-free but with age repairs may
be needed. Use any of the following quick fixes to restore your door to
like-new condition. The repairs are very easy and require only basic
tools. Most of the materials are readily available, including several
styles of door locks (including keyed models), pneumatic closers, and
replacement vinyl seals for the door bottom.
Tools & Materials
Replace a Broken Handle
Remove the two screws that join the interior and exterior plates of the
old door lock, and take apart the two- or three-piece assembly. Remove the
two screws securing the old strike, too. If your replacement lock has the
same mounting hole positions, simply reverse the sequence to install the
installing a different handle, follow the maker's directions to position
the paper template on the door and to mark and drill new mounting holes.
Make sure that you place the new handle far enough above or below the knob
of the exterior door so they won't interfere with each other.
3. Assemble the new handle onto the door as directed and secure it
Install a Pneumatic
Install the closer where you can reach the hold-open washer (typically at
the center rail). Position the jamb bracket on the hinge-side doorframe
allowing the necessary space from the storm door (and the head jamb if you
are installing the closer at the top of the door). Mark mounting-hole
locations and drill the correct size pilot holes as directed. Attach the
bracket with screws.
Place the hold-open washer on the closer rod and attach the closer to the
jamb bracket with the removable pin provided.
3. Attach the door bracket to the other end of the piston and swing
it against the closed door. Mark the bracket mounting holes as directed.
Drill pilot holes and secure the bracket to the door with screws.
4. Attach the strike to the jamb so it aligns with the handle
mechanism and engages it securely. Most strikes have slotted mounting
holes to allow adjustment as you tighten the screws.
5. Open the door wide and allow it to close freely. Twist the
adjustment screw on the end of the closer (or with some models, a knob on
the cylinder itself) until the door closes and latches without slamming.
Install New Panel Clips:
If a threaded rivet for a storm or screen panel clip is loose, it will
turn and you'll be unable to tighten or remove the screw. You need to
install a new threaded rivet and clip adjacent to the defective one.
Threaded rivets may be hard to find; hardware stores, automotive supply
and repair shops, and glass shops are places to look.
1. Drill a clearance hole for a new threaded rivet (same diameter
as rivet) through the inner face of the door stile. Maintain control by
drilling slowly and exerting only moderate pressure. Thread a pull-stem
into the rivet and press the rivet into the hole. Slide the nose of a
rivet gun over the stem and squeeze the handle only until the rivet is
secure. Do not break or "pop" off the stem as you would with standard
2. Unscrew the stem from the rivet and install a new sash clip with
a knurled screw into the threaded insert.
Replace Worn Vinyl
Open the door and slide or pull the U-shaped door bottom off the door.
Pull the vinyl seal out of its channel in the door bottom and bring it
with you to purchase a replacement seal.
3. Clean the channel with a brush and slide in a replacement vinyl
seal, which is available in T and Y configurations. Door bottoms with
seals already attached also are available
Metal-Frame Insect Screening
Why pay for rescreening
services when the task is a relatively easy one that you can do yourself?
You'll save money and get the job done when you need it. Choose a screen
material that matches the type (aluminum or Fiberglas) and color of your
existing screens. Although you may be able to buy screening by the foot,
you may save money in the long run by buying a roll.
It's also not at all
unusual for a beginner to accidentally tear the new screen during
installation, so having a roll may save another trip to the store; and
you'll have some on hand for future repairs. Just make sure the roll that
you buy is wide enough for all the windows, not just the one you happen to
be working on now.
1. Remove the
Raise the window and remove the screen.
2. Remove Old
the point of a utility knife, awl, or nail to pry out one end of the vinyl
spline that holds the screen into the channels in the sash. Grasp the end
and pull slowly to remove it, then pull out the screening. If the spline
is in good condition (soft and flexible, not dry and cracked), you may
reuse it. However, it is better to replace the spline since it tends to
stretch as it is removed and may not fit as tightly as it should if it is
3. Position New Screening: Lay new screening over the sash so it overlaps all sides at least 1
inch. Cut screening with shears or lay it over a piece of scrap lumber and
cut through it with a sharp utility knife.
Tip: If you are repairing more than one screen and one is
larger than another is, do the large one first. Then if you accidentally
cut the screen when rolling it in place, you can roll out some new
material for a second try, and save the damaged piece for the smaller
4. Roll in Screening:
If you are using aluminum screening roll the screen into the
channel on one side of the sash using the convex wheel of your screen
roller/installation tool. Place the palm of your hand in the center of the
screen to keep it from shifting. Roll lightly at first, and then more
firmly to press in the screen in stages. Otherwise you may cut it. Do only
one side at a time and then roll in the spline as shown in Step 5. If you
are using Fiberglas screening, skip this step and roll the screen
and spline in simultaneously.
5. Roll in Spline:
Press the spline over the screen and into the channel beginning about 1
inch in from one corner. Then use the concave side of the roller to press
completely into the channel. Roll lightly at first to press the spline
into the channel gradually. Rolling too hard tends to stretch the spline
and increases the risk of having the roller slip off the spline and cut
the new screening. If you are using Fiberglas screening, simultaneously
roll the screen and spline into the channel in this step.
6. Cut Corners: As you near each corner with the spline, use shears or
a utility knife to make a diagonal relief cut from the outside corner of
the overlapping screening toward the inside corner of the sash. This is
one place where "cutting corners" is wise. It prevents the screen
(especially aluminum) from bunching up in the corner as you press it in
7. Complete Rolling:
Repeat the process, working your way around the screen frame. Hold the
opposite side of the screen somewhat taut, but not so tight that you cut
the screening while rolling it in place or that you distort the frame.
8. Cut off Excess:
When the rolling is complete, use a very sharp utility knife (a new blade
is advised) to cut off the excess. To avoid accidentally cutting into your
complete work, angle the blade outward and move slowly and steadily. Hold
the frame securely with your second hand but keep it a safe distance away
from the cutting.
Reinstall the screen sash into its channel, reversing the procedure that
you used when removing it.
by Roy Barnhart, home improvement expert, Fairfield, CT.
Screen Door Secret
It's not much of a stretch to get a drum-tight, wrinkle-free
screening when replacing the screen panel on a door. After removing the
old screen, lay the door frame on a flat work surface and slip a 1x4 block
under each end. Clamp down the middle of the door to put a slight bow in
Next, attach the screen
to one end of the frame with staples or rubber spline. Move to the other
end, pull the screen snug and flat - but not too tight - and fasten it.
Then release the clamps; the door frame will pull the screen tight as it
straightens. Finish by securing the screen sides to the frame.
Courtesy of American Tool
Shorten a Door
There are several
occasions when it might become necessary for you to shorten an existing
door. The installation of new carpeting or an area rug are perhaps the
most common reasons. Adding air space under a bathroom door for more
efficient operation of bathroom fans is another reason (you need about a
1-in. gap to allow replacement air to enter). You may also need to shorten
an exterior entry door when installing weatherstripping on the door's
bottom. Here are basic instructions for shortening a hollow-core or
Straightedge and pencil
Retractable utility knife w/blades
Medium and fine-grit sandpaper
Wood finish that matches door
1. Mark the Door:
If you can install and close the door, do so. Lay a 1/2-in. thick board on
the floor against the door and use it to guide your pencil while you mark
a line on the door. If you can't install the door, measure the distance
from the head jamb to the floor (or carpeting) at the left and right side
of the opening. Subtract 5/8 inch from each measurement (to include a
1/8-in. gap above the door plus a 1/2-in. gap below the door). Transfer
dimensions to the door and connect these points with a straightedge.
2. Score the
prevent the up-cutting circular saw blade from chipping the veneer, clamp
a metal ruler or other straightedge to the door on your cut line and cut
through the veneer using several passes with a utility knife. Use the same
procedure to prevent chipping when cutting across the grain of a
solid-wood door's vertical stiles.
3. Make Guided Cut: Clamp a straightedge to the door to guide a
circular saw along your cut line. Make sure the saw blade remains about
1/16 inch away from the cut line on the waste side. Skip to Step 7 for
solid wood doors.
Tip: Place two pieces of scrap lumber lengthwise under the
door, so they support the door and the cutoff. Then you don't have to
support the cutoff with a free hand, or worry about the damage to the
unscored underside veneer that may occur if it is allowed to fall free.
4. Clean off Core:
If your cut exposes the hollow portion of the door, you must reinstall the
solid-wood rail from the cutoff. Start by making room for it by pushing in
the ribbed cardboard or wood-strip core and scraping off any glue from the
inside face of the veneer.
5. Salvage the
Rail: Peel the
veneer off the cutoff. Scrape and/or sand the glue residue off the rail.
If the two stile sections on the ends of the rail don't just fall off,
break them off.
wood glue to both faces of the rail and insert it into the door bottom
until it is flush with the bottom edge. Do not push too far, as it may be
difficult to pull out. Wipe off any excess glue and apply two or three
clamps for at least an hour.
7. Sand and Seal: Use a sanding block with medium- and then
fine-grit sandpaper to round over and smooth the cut edges. Seal the
bottom edge of the door with a finish to match the door (varnish or
primer-and-paint). If you don't, particularly with a solid wood door, the
door will absorb moisture and may warp.
Written by Roy
Barnhart, home improvement expert, Fairfield, CT
Sliding Screen Door Repairs
If your sliding screen door is not rolling properly, a few
simple repairs will get it back on track. We've also included instruction
on how to repair screening. Which type to use--fiberglass or aluminum?
Fiberglass screening will not puncture easily because it stretches. For
that reason, it also does not stretch tightly in the door frame. Aluminum
is stronger, and does not get stretched out.
It is harder to roll into the groove without tearing it.
Before You Begin: When you're ready to start, lift the screen up and tilt
out the bottom. In some cases, you'll have to lift the wheels up and over
the track as you pull the door out. Use a screwdriver. You can do the same
to reinstall it; or try the trick shown in Step 11. If you struggle to
open and close your sliding patio door, too, stand inside and lift the
sliding panel up and out of the track.
1. Clean Tracks:
With the screen door removed, clean the track with a soft brush or vacuum
it. The grit not only makes it harder to operate the doors, it causes the
roller to wear prematurely.
a little silicone or Teflon spray lubricant on the tracks and rub them
down with fine steel wool. If a track is bent, straighten it by tapping
against it with a block of wood and a hammer.
3. Remove Roller:
If a roller does not move or spin freely, try to remove it. They usually
snap in a channel and are freed by prying it from below. However, there
are almost as many designs as there are screen doors--some are riveted and
others snap into channels or are held by screws. Don't force anything. It
can be very hard to locate replacement parts. You may also be able to
clean it in place using a brush, toothpick, or compressed air.
4. Clean Roller:
Wash the tension spring roller in a grease-cutting detergent/water
solution. Dry the parts well and spray them with silicone lubricant before
reinstalling them. If you don't have any screen repairs to make, go to
5. Patch Small Hole:
If you have a small hole or tear in your screening, put a dab of clear
silicone caulk on it and then smooth it with a finger or plastic spoon.
6. Remove Damaged
replace damaged screen, remove the door and lay it flat on a large
worktable or the floor. Find an end of the spline that holds the screen in
its groove and pry it out with a pointed tool. Then pull it out by hand.
If it is old or brittle, replace it with identical material. Otherwise
save it for reuse.
7. Cut New Screen:
Cut the new screen with scissors or a utility knife so it overlaps the
groove 1 inch on all sides. Tape it to the door in a few spots on each
side. Trim the screen at a 45-degree angle at one corner to prevent it
from bunching up at the corner when it is rolled into the groove. Only cut
one corner at this time.
8. Roll Screen:
Starting at the cut corner lightly roll the screening into the groove. Use
the convex side of the screen installation tool and work gently. It tears
easily. If you are using fiberglass screen (not aluminum) you can skip
this step and roll the screen and the spline into the groove at the same
9. Roll Spline:
Using the concave roller to carefully roll the spline into the groove over
the screen. Roll it in just enough to hold and work your way down the
line. Then come back and re-roll to drive it completely down into the
groove. Work carefully to avoid slitting the screen and tearing it. With
those two sides nearly done, cut the next two corners and roll in the
screen and the spline. Repeat procedure for the last corner.
10. Trim Excess:
Run a sharp utility knife or single-edge razor blade between the spline
and the metal frame to cut off excess screening. Reinstall the screen door
by reversing the removal procedure or try the method shown in the next
11. Reinstall Door:
To keep the rollers up in place until they are positioned over the tracks,
lay a couple of thin pieces of cardboard or shingle tips over the tracks
at the roller locations. Slip the top of the door up into the upper
channel and push in the bottom. Hold the door with the wheels over the
tracks and slip out the shims one at a time.
12. Adjust Roller:
Most screen door rollers can be adjusted at the top and/or the bottom. The
adjustment screw in this one is obvious. On other door the screws are
usually accessed from the edge of the door through an access hole. Turn
the screw in or back it out to raise and rower the screen door until the
door frame is up off the track and the door side meets the doorjamb
Tools and Materials
Phillips and standard screwdrivers
Brush and/or vacuum
Silicone spray lubricant
Clear silicone caulk
Shears or scissors
Screen installation tool
Utility knife or single-edge razor
Replacement screening and spline
Written by Roy Barnhart,
home improvement expert, Fairfield, CT. Illustrated by artist George
When guests visit
your house, your front door is the first thing they?ll see and, most
likely, is the key element that will influence how they view the rest of
your house. An attractive, welcoming entrance does more to greet friends
and family than any other element of your home's exterior.
Most front doors do
nothing more than serve their purpose--to let occupants and visitors in
and out. Ironically, this is also an area where you can make a huge impact
without breaking the bank. Take a look at the front of your home. Does
your front door have any accents? Trim work? Is the paint cracking and
peeling? Does your current lighting scheme work?
Many front doors
lack style due to the simple fact that they have no accents, and are
improperly lit creating a shadowy entry. Fortunately, you can create a
splashy, beautiful entry to your home without spending a fortune.
Some options include:
Replace the old door with a newer model of the same size. This will spare
you the cost of resizing the opening, and still give you a lot of bang for
your buck. Many models are built to fit into existing word work, which
will also spare you the cost of having to replace the entire unit.
Add a storm
an attractive storm door to protect the entry door and keep heat inside in
the winter, and bugs out in the summer. Choose a door with a movable sash
to allow for more flexibility.
the exterior of the door with finish carpentry such as columns and a
crosshead pediment to extend the width of the door. Ask your carpenter
about high-density urethane foam millwork, a great option to high
can go a long way to create a warm welcoming effect for your guests.
Lighting installed above or at both sides of the front door are good
options. Be sure to hire a qualified electrician to install your new
The Right Door for the
you are fortunate enough to have a house with a basement – or if you are
planning one in the future – you know that they can be a real blessing in
the quest for extra living and storage space. Properly done, basements can
offer a wide range of possibilities, from exercise rooms to home offices
to a playroom that the kids can really call home.
of the problems with a basement is often how to provide safe and
convenient access from the outside. Exterior accesses make sense from the
standpoint of convenient accessibility, but many people give up on
wrestling with old wooden doors that are heavy and extremely difficult to
you'd like to get a little more use out of your basement, it might be time
to consider some new exterior doors. Prefabricated basement access doors
and enclosures are a far cry from their site-built wooden predecessors,
offering easy operation, secure locking and complete weather protection.
And because they offer a wide, straight-in access to the basement, moving
large furniture and storage items gets a whole lot easier.
Exterior basement access door assemblies consist of three basic elements –
a concrete well outside the doorway that holds back the dirt, provides an
enclosure for the stairs, and provides a base for the doors; sidewalls,
that sit on top of the concrete well and provide a frame for the doors;
and the doors themselves.
retrofit situation where you are replacing old doors, the first step is to
examine the condition and suitability of the well itself. You need to
determine if it is in good enough condition to receive the new doors, if
the top is flat, smooth and structurally sound, and if the well extends
above the surrounding grade sufficiently to provide adequate water
protection. You also need to measure the overall width and length of the
well at the top to make sure it's going to work with the new doors.
comes the sidewalls. Sidewalls form a right triangle when viewed from the
side, and attach to the top of the well walls and the side of the house.
The top slopes away from the house, and provides the points of attachment
for the doors themselves. As with the well, you'll want to look carefully
at the condition of these wall structures – which may be concrete,
concrete block, or even wood – to see if they are solid and in good enough
condition to accept the doors.
sidewalls are in bad shape, your best bet is to remove them completely,
down to the top of the well, and replace them with new steel ones. Steel
sidewalls, which are available from the same manufacturers that make the
doors, offer several advantages – they're solid and secure, weather-tight,
consistently angled, and designed to work with the new doors to greatly
simplify your installation.
similar to the difference between trying to fit a new door to an old,
rotted, out of square set of jambs as opposed to installing a new pre-hung
unit where the door, frame, and weather-stripping are all new and designed
to be compatible with one another.
last element are the doors themselves. The new basement doors are steel,
with all steel hinges and locking mechanisms, and seal against one another
in the middle to prevent air and moisture intrusion. All doors feature
easy-open and easy-close hardware, which is balanced to make it easy to
lift the door open and to then close it without having it slam down.
doors have a stay-open feature that locks the door in the open position
for safety, and you can also add a key lock from the outside for
additional security. Of course, the doors also have release hardware that
allow them to be opened from inside as well.
you are considering adding a basement to your new home, providing an
exterior access is easy. Once the excavation is done and the basement
walls are poured, you can install a prefabricated concrete well that
greatly simplifies the whole process. The well is precast in the proper
height, width, and length, and the entire stairwell is cast into it as
well. A crane swings the unit into place, it is bolted against the house
and sealed, and after backfilling is complete the new steel sidewalls and
doors are installed on top.
lumber yards and door companies can help you with ordering basement doors,
sidewalls, and precast wells, or can direct you to the right sources. One
of the major manufacturers of basement doors is the
for Installing Door Hinges
Replacing a door? Proper hinge installation is one key step in the
process. Typically butt hinges are installed in recesses cut into the door
frame (jamb) and the edge of the door (stile). For proper functioning the
hinges must be precisely located and set into their mortises so the faces
are flush with the surfaces of the door and jamb. While professionals may
prefer to use routers and expensive hinge templates, all you really need
are a few inexpensive hand tools and basic skills.
Assuming that you are installing a new door in a new jamb, plan to install
the hinges on the door first. Unless you are matching the location of
hinges with other doors in your home, use the following standard: The top
of the upper hinge should be 7 inches below the top of the door; the
bottom of the lower hinge should be 11 inches above the bottom of the
door; and the middle hinge should be centered between the top and bottom
hinge. (If the hinge mortises are already cut in the jamb go to Step 4.)
Although a middle hinge is generally not necessary for lightweight,
hollow-core doors, it will give added strength to a heavier, solid-wood
door installation. It will also help to straighten any door that is
bowed at the middle.
Mark Hinge Outline:
Use a butt marker to score the hinge location on the door and jamb.
Available for standard hinge sizes, a butt marker assures that the size of
the mortise is exact and that it is located at precisely the right
distance in from the face of the door and the edge of the jamb. Locate the
marking tool on the door or jamb, and strike it sharply with a hammer a
Then mark the mortise depth on the side of the door (or edge of the jamb)
by tracing the hinge thickness; or use a combination square to scribe your
mark by setting the blade to extend a distance equal to the butt
thickness. Refer to this depth mark when cutting the mortise.
Cut the Mortise:
Use a chisel that is equal to the width of the mortise, if possible. Cut
the top and bottom of the mortise first. (Hold the chisel perpendicular to
the surface with the tip on the line scored by the butt marker and the
beveled side facing toward the mortise. Strike firmly.) Then cut a
V-channel across the mortise anywhere within the mortise. (Hold the chisel
at a 45-degree angle with the bevel facing downward, making two cuts at
Next make a series of cuts, spaced about 1/8-in. apart, starting at the
V-channel and working toward the outside edge of the mortise. Finally, use
the chisel to scrape out the chips; smooth the bottom of the mortise; and
clean up the perimeter with perpendicular strokes.
Working with a very sharp chisel makes all the difference. A sharp tool
requires lighter taps with a hammer. It allows you to make paring cuts
with less effort and, therefore, with greater control. And you get a
nice clean line between the hinge and the edge of the mortise.
Be very careful in the final stages. Use the palm of your hand, rather
than a hammer, to tap the chisel when cleaning out debris. When you are
cleaning up the long edge of a mortise on a door, be gentle or you might
damage the relatively thin strip of material that remains between the
mortise and the edge of the door.
Attach the Hinge Leaf:
Use a self-centering drill bit accessory or a self-centering
punch to create a pilot hole that assures that the screw will be
centered and on mark. An improperly placed screw can shift the hinge
position slightly or force the screw to tilt so its head does not sit
flush. Place the hinge leaf in the mortise and position the self-centering
tool in the countersink recesses of the hinge. Drill or strike with a
hammer, depending on which accessory you are using. When all pilot holes
are done, install the screws.
Locate the Mating Hinge Leaves:
With the hinge leaves installed on the door (or in jamb, as they would be
if you were replacing a door in an existing frame), position the door in
the opening. Insert shims under the door until there is an even 1/8th-in.
gap between the top of the door and the head jamb. Then very carefully
mark (transfer) the hinge locations on the jamb directly opposite their
location on the door (or onto the door if the jamb hinge leaves were
installed first). Cut the mortises and install the hinges as previously
Install the Door:
For a heavy door or any exterior door, it is wise to install at least one
3-in. screw to secure the top hinge to the jamb. This long screw will
penetrate the jamb and anchor the hinge to the framing. The weight of a
heavy door can make smaller screws work loose over time, causing the door
to sag. That, in turn, may adversely affect a weather-stripping seal or
cause the door to rub or stick in the opening. Longer screws at every
hinge will make any exterior door more secure.
If despite your best efforts a slight misalignment prevents mating hinge
leaves from interlocking, make a note of which direction a hinge leaf
would need to move so as to correct the problem. Then tap the leaf in
that direction with a hammer and a block of wood. And, rather than
trying to move one leaf the entire distance, split the difference by
tapping the mating leaf in the opposite direction. Be careful - a couple
of gentle taps usually is all you need to "persuade" the hinge.
Trim Door to a Proper Fit
What You Need
Establish the rubbing area by closing the door on a sheet of carbon paper.
An ink mark will reveal the mis-aligned portion of the door edge.
you sand the mis-aligned area smooth, be sure to work the area beyond as
well for a smooth surface.
Once the rubbing area has been made smooth, seal the door edge with
several coats of varnish.
and Door Screens - Clean 'em Up
a number on each window or door frame and write the same number on its
screen. Put any screws or bolts in a bag and write the same number on it.
This makes it easy to put each clean screen back where it belongs. Take
the screens out. Dust the mesh and frames with a vacuum cleaner or brush.
Washing Screens Outdoors - Our 1st Choice
large pail or washtub with hot soap or detergent suds. Attach a hose to a
faucet, and turn the nozzle to give a fine spray of water. Lean the screen
against a wall, railing, porch, or other handy support. Scrub both sides
of the screen mesh with a stiff brush dipped into hot suds. Wash the frame
all around with a sponge dipped into sudsy water. This will wash off dirt
and "drip" from the metal screening.
"Tension screens" (the soft ones which have no frames and are springy
enough to roll up) can be opened flat and washed the same way. Use a brush
and suds. Rinse all sides of the screen with a good hosing of clean water.
Let the screen drip a little, then wipe it with a dry cloth, and stand it
up to dry in a breeze.
Washing Screens Indoors - If you must
best place is the basement floor near a drain. If you have such a place,
do the washing exactly like outdoors. Wear rubbers or boots over your
shoes. If you must use a bathtub, washtub, or kitchen sink to wash
screens. First line the tub or sink with old towels or cloths so the
screens won't scratch the finish. Also pile newspapers on the floor to
catch splashes or drips or even better spread a big sheet of plastic and
cover it with newspapers. Scrub each screen with sudsy water. Then rinse
it by squeezing clean water out of a sponge. Or pour clean rinse water
from a pan. A shampoo-type spray hose is also good for the rinse off.
you put screens back, wash out the window or door grooves where the
screens slide. Wind a strip of cloth around a ruler or screwdriver which
will fit into the narrow slots. First dip this into suds then into clean
water. Finish up by wiping with a dry cloth. Wash window and door frames
and sills before putting in clean screens. If you want to store the clean
screens for the winter, put them in a place that is clean and dry. Cover
them with paper sacks or clean cloths. Or use a big sheet of plastic, like
an old shower curtain or tablecloth.
article has been contributed in part by
Michigan State University Extension
and Door Screens - Fix'em and Forget'em
matter how you decide to repair holes in your screens, the patch will
show. If your wife is a fussy homeowner like mine, continue to the next
section. The patch, however, can keep out insects. If the holes you want
to cover are small, you can buy precut aluminum screen patches that have
their side wires bent back as fish hooks to catch the screen. Using these
patches make sure you are level before inserting, you do not get a second
chance to adjust it.
extra screening to repairing holes can be done as follows: Cut a piece of
screening which will cover the hole at least 1" on all sides. Unravel a
long piece of screen wire or several pieces and lace it through the patch
and screen to keep the patch in place.
Cut a patch large enough to cover the hole with about 1-1/2" around all
sides and unravel all sides of the patch about 1/2". Bend the ends of the
wire 90 degrees to the patch and push them through the screen covering the
hole. Then bend over the wires projecting through on the back side to hold
Replacing a damaged section or an entire screen can be done with tools
usually found around the home and by do-it-yourselfers. Several different
materials are available for screening including aluminum, used today
mostly on wood frames and plastic or fibreglass for plastic and metal
frames, all 3 of which are nearly permanent against weather. Galvanized
iron and copper screen were used in the past but these materials corrode
over a period of times and should be replaced before they discolor the
window frames and walls.
Screen fabric comes in many different widths so choose the width that will
cover your frame with the least waste. Sketching a layout of the pieces
you need on paper before buying the wrong width and before cutting will
Remove the aluminum
or plastic retainer strip from around the frame that holds the screen
fabric. Be careful not to tear the plastic or break the aluminum strip.
An awl, ice pick or other sharp pointed object works well to remove
either type of retainer.
Using the torn
screening as a pattern, cut the new screening. Plastic screening is
usually used today with aluminum frames. Cut the screen at least 1/2"
wider than the pattern to be sure there is enough to hold when you
replace the retainer strip. Cutting the screen even with the outside of
the frame is a good size.
Spread the screening
over the frame and press the retainer strip into the groove. Temporarily
fastening the screen with masking tape keeps it in place on the frame.
You may need a
hammer to force the retainer strip into the groove. Do not strike the
metal strip directly with the hammer but use a wood block about 3" or 4"
long between the hammer and the strip. If a plastic strip is used it can
be forced into the groove by hand pressure on a wooden block 3 to 4
Trim off excess
screening with a kitchen scissors or a knife or razor blade.
Occasionally a metal screen will fall out, be blown out or otherwise
damaged beyond repair. Then there are windows, especially in older houses
that are odd sizes for which a screen is desired. Materials to make a
replacement screen or odd-sized screen can be purchased at many building
material, home centers and hardware stores. The framing material usually
comes in lengths of 6 or 8 feet so measure the opening into which the
frame must fit before you buy the material. Buy enough material to make
all four sides. In addition buy a package of four corner braces. Then
proceed as follows:
Mark off a 45 degree
angle near one end of the material.
Mark off a distance
equal to one side of the opening being sure to mark on the long side.
Cut another 45
degree angle so the piece looks like the side of a picture frame.
Insert a corner
brace into each end of one of the pieces and attach two more sides so
you have a "U" shape.
Insert the remaining
2 corner braces into the last side and attach to the frame.
Install the screen
fabric as described in the section above.
This article has been contributed in part by
Michigan State University
Framing You Can Live With
By: Paul Bianchina
In the construction of any home, there are a
number of openings that are framed or cut into the walls, floors and
ceilings of the structure in order to accommodate such things as
windows, doors, stairways and even medicine cabinets and toilet paper
holders. In construction language, these holes in the framing are known
as "rough openings," and the accuracy of their size and placement is
Sizing a Rough Opening for a Door
for a window or other component to fit into the wall and be secured, the
opening into which it fits needs to be correct. Too small, and the
window won't fit into it; too large, and you either won't be able to
secure the window in place, or you'll have large gaps around it that
will make installation of the finished trim very difficult.
large an opening is framed depends, obviously, on what is going into it.
Some openings have standard rules of thumb that apply during framing,
while others are specific to a particular component.
case of a prehung door, the standard framing procedure is to make the
rough opening two inches wider and two inches higher than the size of
the door. For example, if you were framing for a 36-inch door, the rough
opening would be 38 inches wide. Most residential doors are six feet
eight inches high – 80 inches – so the standard rough opening height is
standard rough opening sizes would apply to bifold doors that have a
wood frame around the inside of the opening. A five-foot wide (60-inch)
set of bifold doors with a wood frame would require an opening that was
five-foot two-inches in width (62 inches), and the height would again be
82 inches. For bifold doors that will be going into a drywall-wrapped
opening, the rough opening width should be equal to the net width of the
doors – in this example, five foot even – and the rough opening width is
the net door height plus approximately three-quarters of an inch, which
is typically 80 ¾ inches.
set of bypass doors, which are doors that slide past one another
horizontally on an overhead track, the openings are a little different,
and again depend on whether the doors have a wood frame. For bypass
doors with a wood frame, the rough opening is the net width of the doors
plus one inch – 61 inches for a five-foot pair of doors – and the height
would again be 82 inches.
bypass doors will be going into a drywall-wrapped opening, make the
rough opening one inch less than the width of the doors – in this
case, 59 inches – which allows for the thickness of the drywall and
creates an overlap for the doors where they meet in the center. The
height may vary somewhat with the size of the track, but is typically 80
¾ inches to 81 ¾ inches high.
common door is the pocket door, which recesses into a frame inside the
wall. When creating a rough opening for a pocket door, you want to make
it twice the width of the door, plus 2 inches. So, for a two-foot
six-inch (30-inch) pocket door and frame, the rough opening should be
five-foot two-inches (62 inches). To allow for the track and the
overhead portion of the pocket frame, the rough opening should be 84
inches high instead of the 82 used with other types of prehung doors.