A lot of home owners these days prefer handling their own DIY home maintenance and upgrade projects as opposed to hiring professionals. In cases where the task at hand is installing a storm door, a variety of specialized tools and skills come into play. Storm doors require proper installation if they are to serve their intended purpose.
A door provides access to the world outside while preserving a house’s privacy. Typically, doors are also used to mark partitions or rooms in a house. Normally, a house’s front door is supposed to ward off unauthorized entry. However, additional protection against bad weather is necessary.Storm doors perform this function while allowing in light and ventilation. This article is aimed at highlighting how to install a storm door properly, the tools you will need and a few pointers to look out for when installing a storm door.
What is a storm door?
A storm door is a type of exterior access door that is installed right in front of an ordinary door with an aim to protect it from extreme weather while allowing ventilation. Typical storm doors comprise interchangeable window or glass panels that allow visibility. The glass also prevents flying insects from gaining access to the house. Storm doors can be made of aluminum, wood, fiberglass or PVC plastics.
Aluminum Storm Doors
Aluminum is the most widely preferred door making material. This is because aluminum is corrosion resistant. This means that storm doors made out of this metal don’t need frequent painting in order to protect them from the elements of weather. These types of storm doors are available in varying thicknesses which can accommodate replaceable glass or screen panels. However the doors corners that hold the frame together are the main drawbacks as they tend to crack; compromising the doors’ strength.
PVC Plastics Storm Doors
The main advantage with using plastics to fashion a storm door is plastic’s ability to mimic natural wood’s appearance. PVC storm doors are corrosion resistant and offer impressive strength. These types of storm doors however require steel to provide the strength required of a door. There are major environmental and health concerns surrounding the manufacture and use of PVC. The material may release toxins either through its useful life or disposal.
Wooden Storm Doors
Typically, wood has been the standard choice for doors in most homes for years. Wood that is thicker than an inch is recommended in cases where glass panels are involved. As the wooden door frame thickens, so does the strength increase. Naturally, wood is predisposed to warping and will require some maintenance every once in a while. Wood also absorbs moisture which may affect the applied paint causing chipping and/or peeling of the same.
Fiberglass Storm Doors
These storm doors are extremely strong. As is the case with PVC Storm Doors, Fiberglass materials incorporate chemicals with an aim to slow down the detrimental effects of ultraviolet radiation. The material however is rather expensive.
Types of storm doors
The types of storm doors available are as follows;
- Full view: A full view storm door entails a full length glass pane. It is efficient in letting in light.
- Ventilating: A ventilating storm door entails 2 glass panels and one or two screen panels on the same door at the same time. This type of storm door is convenient in cases where cross ventilation in the house is needed; minus the inconvenience of removing and storing glass or screen panels.
- Rollscreen: This is a hybrid of the full view and ventilating storm doors. The door’s screen is connected to the top window of the storm door.When not in use the screen automatically rolls up on a tensioned mechanism to the top of the door giving a full-view storm door when the screen isn’t in use and a ventilating storm door when in use.
How to install a storm door: a step by step guide
The tools and skills necessary to properly install a storm door are within most homeowners reach. One doesn’t really need to be a master carpenter to install a storm doors. The basic tools you’ll need are;
- Portable Power Drill.
- Spirit Level.
- Measuring Tape.
The first thing to consider when installing a storm door is the kind of storm door you want. This concern basically trickles down to personal preferences and the functionality requirements. For instance, is the storm door for ventilation, energy efficiency or additional security? Decide whether you want a full view, ventilating or roll screen storm door.
Get measurements for your storm door
Before making that all important storm door purchase, measure the height and width of your current door opening. To obtain the correct measurements, measure the width of the inside door opening trim, and measure the height of the door opening from the threshold to the header underside. Getting the correct storm door parameters allows you to order or purchase a custom fit door. After ordering the correct size of storm door, the installation bit follows.
Determine the hinge side of the storm door
Before beginning the installation it, you need to determine which side the storm door hinges on. Most storm doors will hinge on the same side as the entry door, however in some cases you will need to hinge the door on the opposite side. Using a small piece of duct tape, mark the hinge side of the storm door.
Install a drip cap
A drip cap is the top part of the storm door frame lined with fuzzy fabric strip preventing rain water from leaking behind the storm door. Position the drip cap along the center of the door opening while pressing it tightly against the brick mold. Using a pencil, mark the position where the screws will go. Using a power drill, pre-drill the holes and set the drip cap down. Most experts recommend screwing the drip caps once the storm door installation is complete.
Attach the hinge to the door frame
The hinge is an aluminum component which attaches to the hinge-side of the storm door. To attach it, lay the door frame on its side, with the hinge-side facing up. Align the hinge with the side of the door and use the power drill to screw the hinges bar into the frame of the storm door. Once attached, the hinge bar will often extend beyond the bottom of the door frame. This requires removal to ensure that the door frame fits into the opening.
Fit the storm door to the opening
Hold the storm door in place and secure it into the door opening, ensuring that the top of the hinge bar is in line with the drip cap. Use a spirit level to make sure the storm door is plumb. Ascertain that the door is squarely fittedin the opening by opening and closing the storm door a couple of times to make sure it swings freely. Once content with the door's position, use a power drill to secure the remaining hinges using screws. Alternatively you could use a hammer to drive nails in place of screws to hold the door in place.
In summary, storm doors are a necessary addition to any household. They further reinforce the role ordinary doors play. Once you’re done installing the storm door, make any necessary adjustments and tweaks. The power drill doubles up as a screw driver in this case too.
I hope you found this article enlightening and useful. Leave a comment, suggestion or thought in the space provided below. Feel free to share with a friend or two. All the best!