The Ins and Outs of Storm Doors The Ins and Outs of Storm Doors

Combination storm doors (windows, screens and combinations thereof) are designed for installation over exterior doors. They are sold almost everywhere, with or without installation.

Installation You can save a few dollars (15% to 20% of the purchase price) by installing doors yourself. But you'll need some tools: hammer, drill, screwdriver and weather stripping. In most cases, it will be easier to have the supplier install your doors himself.

The supplier, or you as the installer, must measure all the doors frames where you want storm doors installed. It will take anywhere from several days to a few weeks to make up custom sizes and install them. Installation should take less than one-half day.

Before the installer leaves, be sure the doors operate smoothly and close tightly. Check for cracks around the jamb and make sure the seal is as air-tight as possible. Also, remove and replace the exchangeable panels (window and screen) to make sure they fit properly and with a weather tight seal.


Door finish: A mill finish (plain aluminum) will oxidize, reducing ease of operation and degrading appearance. An anodized or baked enamel finish is better.

Corner joints: Quality of construction affects the strength and effectiveness of storm doors. Corners are a good place to check construction. They should be strong and air tight. If you can see through the joints, they will leak air.

Weather stripping: Storm doors are supposed to reduce air leakage around your doors. Weather stripping quality makes a big difference in how well storm doors can do this. Compare several types before deciding.

Hardware quality: The quality of locks, hinges and catches should be evaluated since it can have a direct effect on durability and is a good indicator of overall construction quality.

Construction material: Storm doors of wood or steel can also be purchased within the same price range as the aluminum variety. They have the same quality differences and should be similarly evaluated. The choice between doors of similar quality but different material is primarily up to your own personal taste.

Courtesy of Michigan State University Extension

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