How to Make a Deck Door
A deck door will separate your indoor living space from the outdoors. It's important that you match the deck door to the existing architecture of the home. You can purchase a pre-hung deck door system or make a deck door yourself. Building a door will require woodworking skills and knowledge of doorway systems. Here is one way that you can make one on your own and install it, assuming that there is already a door frame in place.
The project calls for the construction of two identical doors that will be installed in the doorway opening, and operate much like a set of French doors. The doors will be built to size and allow for the installation of the windows when complete.
Step 1: Measure
Measure the existing deck door(s) to get the correct width and height of the finished product.
Step 2: Cut
Transfer the outer measurements to the wood pieces being used to construct the new doors. You will construct the doors like a picture frame with solid corners and no protruding screws or nails. The first door you construct will look like a frame and will allow the window to fit snugly inside the center opening. Use the woodworking tools to form a tongue and groove system at the corners, which will also be secured with nails or screws. The finished frame will need to be solid and sturdy on its own, without the support of the window. Follow the same steps on the second door.
Step 3: Sand
Sand the wood down until it is smooth to the touch. Take all sharp edges away and sand both the inside and outside of both of the doors. The area for the hinges and hardware is just as important to sand smooth.
Step 4: Prime and Paint
Be sure to choose a good primer and a tough paint that's meant for outdoor use. You can also stain the doors, since they are made of a good quality wood. If you do choose to stain them, protect the stain with a few coatings of polyurethane. It's easier to do the painting now versus when the window is installed.
Step 5: Test for Fit
Mark where the hinges will be attached then cut the wood to allow for the hinge. Attach the doors to the frame and test for fit. They should swing freely and not stick anywhere. If there is a point that sticks, use sandpaper to take off a little material at a time until it is smooth and fits gently in the frame. You'll be applying weather stripping, so some space will be needed for that.
Step 6: Install the Windows
Install the windows per the manufacturer’s instructions and use the wood trim to cover up the joints. Make sure to paint or stain the molding the same color as the door.
Step 7: Install
Install all of the door hardware to the deck doors and test for fit and swing. Install the weather stripping kit and test for leaks.
Making a deck door can be a rewarding project. You can make a set of doors that goes perfectly with the design of your home. There are so many varieties of custom doors on the market today that many people choose to not do the work themselves. It is a skill to be able to do woodwork, and with practice the doors you make will be stronger and sturdier than those you can buy pre-made.