What is a storm door and how do I install one?

If you live in a city that normally has a lot of storms, such as: Fort Myers, Florida or Abbotsford, BCInstalling a storm door can provide additional security, protection and insulation for your home. In fact, it can extend the life of your door, provide relief from the sun and prevent unwanted pests from entering. While storm doors have been around for a while, advances in technology have enabled storm doors to meet the needs and wants of homeowners.

If you’ve considered installing a storm door or are just hearing about it, read on to determine if a storm door is right for you and how to install one.

What is a storm door?

A storm door is a second exterior door that is installed in front of an exterior door that is used to protect your home from inclement weather. Usually they are made of aluminum and have foam insulation in the middle. For safety, they can be made with laminated safety glass and a multi-point lock.

Do I need a storm door?

A sturdy storm door can add an additional weather barrier to your home and protect your entry door. Before installing a storm door, consider:

Your local climate – If your exterior door is exposed to weather conditions such as rain, snow, sleet, hail or extreme temperatures, a storm door can protect your door. However, if you live in a warmer climate, you may not need such protection.

The insulation of your exterior door through – You may not want or need a storm door if you have a well isolated outside door.

Choose the right storm door for you

There are many design options when choosing a storm door. Most storm doors have removable or retractable glass and screen panels, while some door styles allow you to remove the glass panel used in winter and replace it with a screen for warmer weather. A self-storage storm door is equipped with a screen that rolls up or down to provide summer ventilation or cold weather protection.

a blue house with beautiful shrubs and a storm door

Measure and order your storm door

First select and install a storm door, measure the dimensions and determine which way the door will open.

To measure the height:

  1. Measure the distance from the top of your door frame to the bottom.
  2. Measure right, center and left to allow for any deviation.
  3. Use the smallest number.

To measure the width:

  1. Measure across the doorway, 6 inches down from the top of the frame.
  2. Measure 6 inches down the center, across the doorway.
  3. Measure across the doorway, 6 inches up from the bottom of the frame.
  4. Use the narrowest width.

Order a storm door that fits those dimensions, or have one custom made if you have a non-standard doorway.

How do I install the rain hood or drip call?

When your new door arrives:

  1. Install the rain cover or drip call along the top of the door frame. Then attach it according to the manufacturer’s instructions with a screw on the hinge side.
  2. Attach the Z-bar to the hinge side of the door, again following the instructions. Mark the top with tape.
  3. Measure the height of the doorway.
  4. Measure from the bottom of the top Z-bar to the top of the sill.
  5. Use these measurements to mark a dividing line on the Z-bar on the hinge side.
  6. Use a handsaw or hacksaw to cut along the cut line with a slight slope outward.

How do I install a storm door?

It is best to have a partner assist you for the installation.

  1. Close the storm door and insert it into the opening.
  2. Push the hinge side up against the door lock. Make sure the side Z-bar touches the bottom of the top Z-bar.
  3. Place a spirit level on the Z-bar on the hinge side and adjust the door until it is plumb and level.
  4. Secure the door with screws.
  5. Open the door and use the remaining screws to secure the Z-bar on the hinge side, then adjust the top Z-bar. Make sure to leave a 1/4-inch gap between the joist and the door. Screw in the Z-bar.
  6. Check that the door can open and close freely. Make adjustments if necessary. If everything works smoothly, secure the storm door with the remaining screws.
  7. Attach the remaining Z-bar to the latch side of the door, following the same directions as for the hinge side. Then install the handle, door sweep and door closer.

Installing a storm door can be a multi-step process. However, with the right tools and care, installing them can help you save money in the long run and keep your exterior door looking great all year round.

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