Adding a storm door to the front of your house not only increases security, it can also look nice and allow plenty of light into a typically dark area of the house. However, before you rush out and buy a door, it’s important to make sure the one you want actually fits. This article will guide you through the correct way to measure a storm door; just refer to Step 1 below to get started.
- Check for obstructions.
Before taking any action, you should first take a quick look around the door to check for potential obstructions that could affect your storm door installation.
Look for the location of door handles, exterior lights, the mailbox, and even the doorbell. In some cases, these items can interfere with the installation of the storm door or prevent it from closing properly. If this is the case, you may need to relocate them or switch to smaller door handles.
Look at the location of the posts on the front porch to see if the storm door will have enough room to swing out once installed. At this point, you may also want to decide which way you want the storm door to open. Do you want the right handle and left hinges (left hinge out) or the left handle and right hinges (right hinge out)?
- Measure the height of the door.
Measure the height of the door in 3 places from the top of the bottom sill to the bottom of the top trim (also known as the header).
Place the tape measure at the top of the sill (which is usually made of concrete or silver/brass metal) and stretch it to the bottom side of the top piece of exterior trim.
Do this on the left side of the door opening, the center of the opening, and on the right side of the opening and make a note of each measurement.
Typically, you’ll get measurements between 80″ and 81″ on newer homes and 96″ and 97″ on older, larger door openings.
Highlight the smallest of the three measurements, as this is the one you will be working with.
- Measure the width of the door.
Measure the width of the door from left to right, from the inside of the trim to the inside of the trim (or the inside face of the brick mold).
Do this in three places: at the top of the door opening, in the middle of the door opening (around the handle), and at the bottom of the door opening. Write down all three measurements.
Highlight the smallest measurement, as this is the one you will use.
- Estimate the measurements of the door.
Take the smallest measurements of the width of the door and the height of the door and write them in “width x height” format.
For example, if your smallest width measurement was 36 inches (91.4 cm) and your smallest height measurement was 80 inches (203.2 cm), then you would enter 36″ x 80″.
This is the measurement you will use when purchasing a storm door. If you want to be completely sure that your measurements are accurate, repeat the process a second time.
- Buy a standard size storm door.
All pre-installed storm doors come in a variety of standard sizes, which vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer. So all you need to do is match your personal door measurements to the closest standard size.
Choose a storm door manufacturer like MAS Home Improvement and refer to the door opening sizing guide to match your measurements.
For example, following MAS Home’s sizing guide, a door opening measuring 35-7/8″ x 80″ would require a standard size 36″ x 81″ storm door.
- Use a Z-bar.
Sometimes your door is wider than standard size storm doors.
In this situation, it is possible to purchase a Z-bar extension kit to fill in the extra space between the door edge and the storm door.
This is a convenient option that saves you the hassle of ordering a custom sized door. However, it is only possible if the door opening is less than one inch wider than the largest standard door size.
- Request a custom storm door.
If your door has unusual measurements that do not fit the standard sizes, you may need to order a custom sized storm door. Once you do this, you are ready to install the storm door yourself. Happy installation!
This can be more expensive than the cost of standard size doors, but it will be worth it if it is a properly fitting storm door.
Most major storm door manufacturers offer a service for ordering custom sized doors.