Installing a storm door is one of the smartest home solutions you can make before the cold fall and winter months. It’s a relatively simple project that only requires basic tools that you may already have on hand.
Installing storm doors is one of those remodeling projects you can feel confident in, as the rewards far exceed the two hours of work and the minimal cost of materials.
What does a storm door do?
Before purchasing a door, familiarize yourself with its features, as some homeowners have misconceptions about them. In some cases, a storm door may not be necessary for your situation.
Storm doors are aptly named because their primary purpose is to protect your exterior door against the effects of weather in general and storms in particular. Second, they help preserve the heated indoor environment by mitigating drafts.
Storm doors go to:
Reduce drafts passing through exterior door weather stripping.
Protect your door from direct contact with rain and accumulated snow.
Provide more light to your room in good weather. With the front door open and the storm door closed, it acts as another window.
Storm doors will NOT:
Prevent flood water from entering your home. Also, accumulated snow will eventually seep through the storm door seals if left in place too long.
Act as a thermal barrier on a par with other more effective thermal barriers such as sealed glass windows and insulated walls.
They are not a panacea for all winter-related ills. If you have a covered entryway that reliably prevents all kinds of moisture from reaching your front door, adding a storm door won’t add value.
According to the US Department of Energy, a storm door will provide minimal benefit if you already have a newer, more insulated front door. Your energy savings may not be worth the cost of purchase and installation.
How to install a storm door
Without the need for complicated shims, storm door installation is a less exacting process than slab door or hanging door installation. Most install within two hours. An assistant is always helpful for a second hand. Most of these weigh less than 60 pounds.
Measurement and orientation of doors
Using a tape measure, find the height and width of the finished door opening. This is the space defined by the inside of your door casing. Most storm doors are reversible, but generally you should install the door so its hinges are on the same side as the front door.
If it has a screen and if the glass is removable, remove both. This will lighten your load, making installation easier. Both can be easily snapped into place.
Install the hinge plate
- The hinge plate, also called the hinge track, is the long metal section from which the door is hung.
- Using the hacksaw, cut the hinge plate to be as long as the inside vertical measurement of the door opening.
- Attach the hinge plate to the storm door with the included fasteners.
- Attach to door opening
- Place the storm door in the door opening.
- Position the hinge plate side of the storm door to the front of the door casing (not inside the casing). This is where it’s great to have a helper because that person can hold the door while you bolt it into place.
- Use your level to make sure the door is plumb (vertical). Even if your door casing isn’t perfectly installed, your door should still be plumb.
Install drip cap
- The drip cap, or track, is a short metal section that goes over the top of the storm door to prevent rain from seeping behind the door frame.
- Run a bead of caulk on the drip cap, then screw the front of the door cover on.
- Install the jamb on the other side
- The jamb is the vertical section of metal where the door latch will hook into.
- Screw this jamb in place with the provided screws.
- Make sure the door opens and closes properly.
- Fit the door closers, the handle and the kick plate
- If your door came with latches, attach it now. Typically, you’ll install one on top and one on the bottom.
- Install the door handle, latch, and strike plate.
- Test the door to make sure it opens and closes, the latches lock, and do not conflict with the outer door.