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Storm doors protect the finish of your exterior door from weather. Like a screen door, they let in light. Unlike screen doors, they form a barrier to the rain, snow and wind. Storm doors can also save energy. They can prevent warm air from escaping and stop cold air from entering your home. Learning how to hang a storm door is a relatively simple task.
When replacing a storm door, quality and design matter. Look for one that has a solid inner core, a low-maintenance finish and a seamless outer shell. Read on for the basic steps on how to install a storm door.
Buy the Right Size
Before you measure for a storm door, determine which door swing direction and handle placement you need. That's the "handedness" of the door.
Figure out the handedness by simply opening the door. Stand in the doorframe with your back along the hinges. If the hand by the doorknob is your right, it's a right-handed door. If it's by your left, you have a left-handed door.
Then, make sure you measure correctly for your new storm door. Accurate measurements are critical to ensure your new door fits. Using a tape measure:
- Measure the height of your door frame from the top to the threshold. Measure on the left, measure on the right and in the middle. Use the shortest number.
- Measure the width of the door frame in three places. Measure 6 inches from the top of the frame. Measure 6 inches from the center. Measure 6 inches from the bottom of the frame. Use the narrowest width.
Write down these measurements to purchase a storm door in the correct size. If your measurements are too far off any standard door, consider custom storm doors to get a perfect fit.
Install Rain Cap and Hinge-Side Z-Bar
After you’ve got your door, decide which way you'll want it to open. Storm doors can open from the left or the right. Most storm doors can hang with the hinges on either side using the same Z-bar.
First, temporarily attach the rain cap.
- Place the rain cap at the top of the frame. Also called the drip cap, this part is put in above the door frame to stop rain.
- Attach it with a screw on the hinge side of the rain cap.
Next, cut and install the hinge-side Z-bar.
- Put the Z-bar against the opening on the hinge side of the door.
- Mark the top with tape.
- Measure the height of the door opening.
- Measure from the underside of the top Z-bar to the top of the sill.
- Use these measurements to mark a cutoff line on the hinge-side Z-bar.
- Cut along the cutoff line with a hand saw or hack saw at a slight slope to the outside.
Tip: If your door sill slants, refer to the door manufacturer's directions for installation.
Hang Storm Door
Installing your new door will require lifting it and holding it up while attaching it. You may need help to make the project easier.
- Close the storm door and put it into the opening.
- Push the hinge side up against the jam.
- Make sure the side Z-bar touches the bottom of the top Z-bar.
- Place a level on the hinge-side Z-bar. Adjust the door until it is plumb and level.
- Secure the door with screws.
- Open the door and use the remaining screws to secure the hinge-side Z-bar.
- Adjust the top Z-bar. Leave an even 1/4-inch gap between the bar and the door.
- Screw in the Z-bar.
- Check to make sure the door opens and closes freely. Make adjustments if necessary.
- When everything works, secure the storm door with the remaining screws.
Cut and Attach the Handle-Side 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. Cut it to length using with a hack saw.
- Make sure you adjust the cut to match the slope of the sill.
- Put the handle-side Z-bar in place. Maintain a consistent 1/4-inch gap along the entire length of the door.
- Attach the Z-bar with screws.
Install the Handle Set, Expander Sweep and Door Closer
- Install the handle set and associated hardware of the new door lock.
- Slide the expander off the bottom of the door and install the sweep. Cut off any extra sweep.
- Install the expander on the bottom of the door using the provided screws.
- Make sure the sweep’s weather stripping covers the width of the sill evenly.
- Install the door closer. Adjust the speed of the door by loosening or tightening the door closer.