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Exterior June 4, 2003  RSS feed

Steps to installing a storm door

Steps to installing a storm door

Choose a storm door based on the size and style of your home.Choose a storm door based on the size and style of your home.

A quality, prehung storm door will last for years, cut down on drafts, and reduce your heating and cooling bills. Most door manufacturers sell prehung doors in kits. The kits include all the hardware you need to install the door, such as hinges, pneumatic closers and latches. You can complete this project yourself with basic tools and careful attention to detail.

Before you buy

Measure the height and width of your door frame carefully before you visit the store. Make sure you have the information needed to find the correct size.

Most storm door units can be adjusted slightly to fit into a door frame. The parameters for this adjustment vary by manufacturer. If your opening is too big for a standard door, you can install a Z-bar extender - a device that fills in the extra space between the door and frame. If you do not want to use a Z-bar, you can order custom doors, which can be made to fit almost any door opening.

Fastening the hinge-side Z-bar to the door:

1. Place your storm door on the saw horses.

2. Decide which way you want your door to open.

3. The hinge-side Z-bar comes temporarily attached to the door with a few screws. If you don't need to change hinge sides, drill the remaining holes for the hinges and secure with slotted screws.

4. If you do need to switch sides, remove the hinge-side Z-bar, reinstall the screws, move the Z-bar to the other side of the door and put it into place.

Fitting the door to the opening

Tools & Materials

+ Power drill with 5/16", 1/8", and 3/32" drill bits
+ Hacksaw
+ Pencil
+ Pliers
+ Center punch or nail
+ Level
+ Hammer
+Phillips screwdriver & slotted screwdriver
+Utility knife
+Pair of sawhorses
+Tape measure
+Shims
+Storm door


1. Take an outside measurement of the opening height to accommodate the slope of your sill.

2. With the door in the closed position, place it in the opening and check the fit. Use the manufacturer's instructions to determine shimming requirements.

3. Mark and cut the hinge-side Z-bar at a slight slope to the outside.

4. With the door in the closed position, place it in the opening and push the hinge side of the door tightly against the jamb. Secure it with screws. The tighter you get it against the wood, the better.

5. Open the door and install two jamb screws at each hinge.

6. Put the drift cap (top Z-bar) in place, adjust for an even gap with the door and secure with screws.

7. Measure and cut the latch-side Z-bar just as you did with the hinge-side Z-bar.

8. Attach the latch-side Z-bar, leaving an 1/8" gap between it and the door.

Installing the expander sweep

1. Slide the bottom expander off the door.

2. Slide the plastic sweep through the expander channels. To make the sweep slide smoothly through the channels, apply a mild liquid soap to it.

3. Once you have the sweep in place, crimp the metal channels closed, then cut off the excess sweep.

4. Reattach the expander to the door.

5. Slide the expander down so it touches the entire length of the sill.

6. Install two screws to hold the expander firmly in place.

Installing the latch

Depending on the style of the door you've chosen, hardware may differ. Use the template that came with your purchase to drill the latch holes. Keep your drill level and make sure the storm door latch doesn't interfere with the primary door hardware.

1. Use the detailed drawings in the instructions provided by the manufacturer to assemble the latch.

2. If you chose a door with a lock, install the deadbolt.

3. Attach the strike plate and shim if needed.

Installing the closer mechanism

1. First, make sure the door opens and closes freely. Adjust if necessary.

2. Fasten the door jamb bracket to the house door frame.

3. Slide the hold-open washer onto the rod.

4. Connect the closer to the jamb bracket with the short connecting pin.

5. With the long connecting pin, attach the door bracket to the front hole of the closer tube.

6. From inside your home, with the door in the closed position, level the closer and mark the location for the bracket. Fasten the door bracket to the door with 5/8" screws.

7. To slow the door's closing, adjust the bypass valve on the door's closure mechanism until it closes at a speed you like.

8. Mount the safety chain, if included with your door, to allow a 90-degree opening of the door.u

Project and photos courtesy of Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse. Check out their Web site, www.lowes.com.