A quality storm door can be a great investment to protect your entry door from the harsh elements and still let in natural light when you need it. There are some factors to consider before installing a secure storm door, such as the direction your entry door faces. If your entry door receives direct morning or afternoon sun, a lot of heat can build up between the two doors, affecting their quality.
Fortunately, such a challenge can be mitigated by building a shade for your doors, or simply opening the main door when there’s someone home. So you can proceed with buying a storm door that is both stylish and functional, and even fit it yourself. Here are the key steps for installing a storm door:
Step 1: Get the tools and materials you need
For a storm door installation project, you’ll need:
- Drill and drill bits
- Hack saw
- Tape measure
- Safety glasses
- Casing nails
- Masking tape
- Wood shims
- Your storm door
Step 2: Temporarily install the rain cap
Your door should come with manufacturer’s instructions on how to install it yourself. Many manufacturers recommend that the homeowner secures the rain cap before proceeding with the installation, while others prefer that you install it after the storm door is in place – make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
The rain cap, also known as a drip cap, is the top section of the storm door frame. Usually, one of its sides is fitted with a strip of fuzzy fabric to keep water from seeping behind the storm door.
To install the rain cap, centre it along the top of the door opening and hold it firmly in order to mark where the screws will be added. Set the rain cap down and use the drill to pre-drill the holes. Then reposition the rain cap and fasten it using just one screw for now.
Step 3: Fix the Z bar on the hinge side
Storm doors are typically designed so they can be hung with hinges on either side with a single Z-bar using hinges. Position the Z-bar on the hinge side against the opening and use the tape to mark the top. Measure the opening height and then cut the hinge-side Z-bar to size.
Note that the hinge side of the storm door does not necessarily have to match that of the entry door. You can choose to hinge it on the opposite side if there is an obstruction that will keep it from swinging open fully, such as a porch pillar or mailbox.
Step 4: Measure the opening height
Determine the opening height and mark the cutoff line at this distance on the Z-bar. If the still appears slanted, check the manufacturer’s directions to correct it. Then cut along the marked lines with the hacksaw.
Step 5: Secure the storm door in the opening
Close your entry door before attempting to place the screen door in the opening. Place it properly, checking the plumb and level, and push the hinge side upwards against the jam. Now you can open the storm door to secure the hinge side Z-bar with the remaining screws.
Step 6: Adjust the top Z-bar
With the top Z-bar about ¼-inch away from the door, secure it using the screws provided. Use a plumb to check that the door is level, and ensure that it opens and closes properly. Make the necessary adjustments and put in the remaining screws.
Step 7: Install the latch-side Z-bar
With the top of the Z-bar pushed against the drip cap underside, hold the bar against the latch-side of the door opening firmly. Close the storm door and confirm that the space between the bar and the storm door is 3/16-inch long (using the measuring tape). Still in this position, drill a pilot hole in the top, middle, and bottom of the bar and secure it with screws.
Step 8: Fix the handle set
There are different types of handles with different installation procedures. So you should refer to the manufacturer’s guide for specific guidelines on the installation. Before the installation, ensure that the handle of the storm door will not hit against the handle of the entry door when closed to avoid repositioning it later.
Step 9: Install the expander sweep
If the expander sweep is not already attached, and there is a gap between the bottom of the storm door and the threshold, simply slide the back strip of rubber onto the truck and trim any excess. Adjust the sweep onto the bottom of the storm door until the gap is completely closed to create a tight seal that keeps rainwater out.
The final steps for installing a secure storm door are installing the closer mechanism (top and bottom) and attaching the striker plate. Simply follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid any problems.