Installing Retractable Screen Doors

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Installing retractable screen doors is not difficult for a DIYer. If you have the right tools, you should be able to finish it in the afternoon. These screens are a great way to allow fresh air to enter the home while excluding bugs.

Before you buy the screen, you should make sure the doorway is square and is suitable for installing this type of screen door. This tutorial is for mounting a side-moving screen door. If your door sill sticks out in front of the door frame, you will need to buy a sill adapter from the retractable screen door manufacturer so that the screen door will fit the frame.

Make Sure the Doorway is Square

Measure the door frame width at the top and bottom and the height. If it is out of square by ¼ inch or more, you will have to adjust the door jambs to square it up before installing the retractable screen door.

Mount the Door Tube

With 3 screws or the mounting clips (if included), hang the main retractable door tube (the screen storage cassette) on the hinge side of the door. Make sure it is parallel to the existing door frame.

If you are mounting a screen that is installed across the top of the door, working similarly to a window shade, you will attach it according to the directions, at the top of the door frame rather than on the side. You will have to cut the screen to size and reassemble the parts.

Mount the Upper Guide Rail

When the tube is hung, mount one upper guide rail with another 3 screws. Use a carpenter's square to get the rail at right angles to the tube. This is important. The screen will catch and bind if it is not square to the tube.

Mount the Lower Guide Rail

Mount the lower rail and open the screen so as to bring the lower rail into the correct position. As you pull the screen door to the closed position, screw down the bottom rail.

Install a Sill Adapter if Needed

If the door sill extends past the casing, the lower track may have to be attached to the top of it with some screen doors. This may create a tripping hazard. If the sill is behind the door casing, a sill adapter will be needed just in front of the existing sill, flush with the casing.

Retractable screen doors lock closed with a magnetic catch and are easy to use and maintain. They will tolerate most situations where a pet or person walks into them without damage but you have to be careful with rambunctious children and large running dogs. The only drawback is that you have to return it to the manufacturer if it gets ripped.