Add a Retractable Screen to French Doors Add a Retractable Screen to French Doors

What You'll Need
Retractable screen door
Tape measure
1 1/2 inch drywall screws

French doors add a delightful flourish to a house and can opening out on to the garden or your wooden deck. On a beautiful summer’s day, it’s lovely to leave them open so that air can circulate effectively. However, French doors don’t have screens, so bugs can easily enter your home. The solution is to install a retractable screen. They work well with French doors, are largely hidden from view when not in use and, best of all, you can install them yourself with just a few tools and very little skill.

Step 1 - Measure

To know what size of retractable screen you need for your French doors, you need to be aware of how square the doors are as the screen needs to be attached to the frame. You’ll be fine if they’re within a quarter of an inch of being square but if they’re any more than that, you’ll need to make sure that you square the area of the door frame before you begin to fit the screen. You can do this by using a shim or by cutting.

Step 2 - Cutting

Retractable screens come in several sizes so you will probably need to make some cuts for it to fit your particular door frame. As the screen pulls down like a blind, it stores away in the recessed area at the top. To achieve the right fit, disassemble the screen and cut the storage area to the correct size using the hacksaw.

When this is done, you’ll also need to cut down the screen to fit the frame. Use the hacksaw again, and when this stage of the job is complete, put the screen and storage area back together. Like a blind, the screen should snap out of the storage area.

Step 3 - Mounting Clips

The storage area for the retractable screen attaches to the space above the French doors with mounting clips. Hold the storage area above the door and use a level make sure it’s straight. Make the line with a pencil and use this as a guide for the mounting clips.

Use drywall screws to attach the mounting clips to the frame of your French doors and clip the storage area in place on the clips. Put a pencil mark under the storage area on each side of the door.

Step 4 - Tracks

The screen slides down in tracks and the next step is to install them in the correct position. First, remove the storage area then measure the door frame from the bottom up to the top of the storage area. Use the measurements to cut the tracks so that they fit the space correctly.

Now, put the storage area back in place. The track should slip easily under each end of the screen storage area. Using a level, make sure the tracks are straight then screw into the frame on each side of the French doors using the drywall screws.

Step 5 - Test

Now, pull the screen down then let it retract a little. Repeat several times to check your work. Although the manufacturer will have set the tension on the screen, it can be adjusted if you prefer. There is not track at the bottom of the door so the screen will be flush with the ground when fully extended.

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