how to install a wooden screen door

two people looking at their wooden screen door from the driveway of their home
Tools Needed
1 Tape Measure
2 Screwdriver
3 Drill
4 Drill Bits
Materials Needed
1 Pencil
2 Paint or Stain
3 Paint Brush
4 Rags
Total Cost
Find a handyman
Estimated Time
2-3 Hours
Skill Level: Advanced
The total cost and duration may vary when hiring a handyman!

Project Overview

four different styles of wooden screen doors shown side by side

One method to help improve airflow through your home, especially on temperate spring or fall days, is to leave your doors open. But, most people want to keep a barrier between the outside world and the interior of their home, especially if they have small children or pets. A screen door can be a perfect solution, helping to let gentle breezes come through while keeping bugs out.

Installing a wooden screen door is actually pretty simple, and most homeowners can manage this project with tools they have on hand. Plus, premade screen doors and hardware kits aren’t particularly expensive, making this a cost-effective option to make your home more comfortable.

Step-By-Step Instructions


Measure And Purchase Your Door

front door of a house with a screen door

To make sure you purchase a properly size door, you want to measure the existing exterior door and the associated opening. Record the heights and widths, and take the information with you to help you buy the right door.

Once you have the measurements, you can head to the home improvement store and buy a door and the hardware kit. Often, you’ll want to buy a door that is just slightly smaller than the door frame to allow it to swing comfortably. Often, you’ll have multiple styles to choose from, allowing you to select options that reflect your personal style.

You may see finished and unfinished doors available. Finished doors will be painted or stained, and typically sealed, making them suitable for immediate installation. Unfinished doors may need to be painted or stained and sealed before you put it up.


Paint or Stain

person using a paintbrush to paint a door a dark brown color

If you choose an unfinished door, you’ll want to paint or stain it, and apply sealant (if necessary), before you hang it. For paint, you’ll want to apply one coat, let it dry, and then add a second coat. Take care to avoid runs and drips with each coat.

For stains and sealants, follow the directions on the package to achieve the desired result.


Mark Out the Hinges on Door

up close of a door hinge

Now that the door is ready, you’ll need to identify where the hinges need to be located on the door. Typically, you’ll want the hinges on the screen door to be on the same side of the door opening as the hinges for your exterior door. Determine which side of the door should be located towards the interior.

If you have two hinges in your kit, one will need to be located about 8 inches from the top of the door while the second should be placed about 10 inches from the bottom. If you have three hinges, you’ll place the top and bottom hinges 8 inches from each end and the third hinge in the center.

With the door on a flat surface, use the tape measure to help position the hinges, with the hinge itself pointed towards the exterior of the screen door. Then, using the pencil, mark the screw holes.


Drill Door Pilot Holes

person using a powerdrill to pilot holes in the door frame

After the positions of the screws have been marked, you can set the hinges aside. Use a drill with a slim drill bit to create a pilot hole for each screw. Drill to a depth no deeper than the length of the screws included in the kit.

Realign the hinges, with the hinged side pointing towards the exterior of the door, and attach the hinges using the provided screws. You may be able to add the screws using a traditional screwdriver or with a drill, if it proves difficult.

Keep rotating the screws clockwise until they are flush with the door. Repeat the process for each hinge.


Prepare the Door Frame

person using a powerdrill to drill pilot holes in the door frame

Once the hinges are attached to the door, you’ll need to mark the locations of the screw holes needed to connect the hinges to the door frame. First, get a ¼ inch thick spacer, such as a spare piece of wood, and use it to prop the bottom of the door while you align the screen door in the opening.

Carefully shift the screen door into the open position, making sure to maintain proper spacing, and mark the screw holes for each hinge. Take the door down and set it aside.


Attach the Door

person positioning a door slab in the doorway

Using the same drill bit and depth measurement as before, drill pilot holes for each screw location. After the pilot holes are handled, you can realign the hinges on the door frame. Then, using a screwdriver or drill to add the screws to each hinge.

Now that the door is up, you can add a simple door pull to each side. Place the door handle in the desired location and use a drill to secure it with the included screws. If your kit comes with a tension spring, you should have two hooks and a spring. Attach the hooks based on the manufacturer’s instructions, as the required placement may vary from kit to kit.


At this point, you are ready to enjoy your new wood screen door. Do keep in mind that, if your door doesn’t come with a tension spring, you may want to add a small locking mechanism to keep it in place when your exterior door is open. Otherwise, you’re all set.

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