Installing a Storm Door


Installing a Storm Door

A storm door, as simple as it is, provides many benefits to your home. It can add years to the outward finish and surface of your entry door, it helps to insulate and weatherproof your entry door, it provides additional security and it improves the appearance of your house, all at the same time.


When you buy your storm door, look for a model that has a solid inner core, low-maintenance finish and a seamless outer shell. You can find a storm door to complement just about any house style. Look closely at your current door; however. If it juts out beyond the trim by even the slightest amount, you will have a bit of extra carpentry to do. Take off the trim and replace it with a new layer of wood thick enough so that the door no longer juts out. Nail the trim to the new layer of wood.


Storm door frames allow for a small degree of accommodation to your existing door opening, but it is important to measure the opening carefully. Find the dimensions from the inside edges of the entry door’s brick molding. Subtract approximately 1⁄4 inch from the width of the opening to arrive at a suitable storm door size. Any difference in opening size can easily be adjusted and compensated for when you install the storm door frame.





Step 1: Temporarily secure the rain cap with a screw


Some brands require installing the rain cap (the top part of the storm door frame) first; others install the cap later. Install the rain cap now if the directions that came with your door say to. If not, follow the manufacturers’ directions.



Step 2: Position the hinge-side Z-bar

Most doors are made so that you can hang them with the hinges on either the left or right, using the same Z-bar. Put the Z- bar against the opening on the hinge side and mark the top with tape.



Step 3: Measure opening height and cut hinge-side Z-bar

Draw a cutoff line this distance from the underside of the top Z-bar. If the sill slants, follow the manufacturer directions. Cut along the line with a hacksaw.



Step 4: Place door in opening and secure with screws

With the exterior door closed, place the storm door in the opening and push the hinge side up against the jam. Make sure it is plumb and level. Open the storm door and install the remaining screws to secure the hinge side Z-bar.



Step 5: Adjust top Z-bar and secure with screws

Secure the top Z-bar with screws provided with a 1/4-inch gap between the bar and the door. Check with a level to make sure it’s plumb and check to make sure that the door opens and closes freely. Adjust if necessary, and install the remaining screws.



Step 6: Measure latch side of door and cut Z-bar

Measure from the bottom of the rain cap to the top of the sill on the latch side of the door. Mark the measurement on the side Z-bar and cut with a hacksaw. Make sure you adjust the cut to match the slope of the sill.



Step 7: Position the handle side Z-bar and secure with screws

Cut the hinge side Z-bar as in step 3
Place it in the opening, tight against the rain cap. Adjust it so there’s a 1/4-inch gap between the bar and the door’s edge. Screw it in place. 



Step 8: Install the handle set, expander sweep and door closer

Install the handle and associated hardware. Slide the expander off the bottom of the door and install the sweep. A sweep is either a wide strip or a U-channel with weather stripping across the bottom. Read your door’s directions carefully. Position the sweep so its weather stripping touches the sill; screw it in place. Complete the installation by installing the door closer. Loosen or tighten the closer as necessary so the door does not slam shut.