How to Build a Screen Door

To build a screen door, begin by getting the dimensions of your door. This will allow you to get the right amount of equipment and materials for the job.

Required Tools and Materials

Circular saw
Utility knife
3/4-inch chisel
1-inch brads
1×1 lumber (cleats)
Several C clamps
Spade bits
Tape measure
Screen door hardware
Polyurethane glue
Glue brush
5/4 lumber (with a 1 ¼” frame)
1/4 x 3/4 screen molding
Staple gun
Several staples

Step 1

After cutting the boards to the desired length, slice the half lap joints. Put in a board on the jig to make cutting easier. Slice to half the thickness of the board. Take out everything between the cut lines. As you build a screen door, you’ll need to smoothen the joints with the chisel. Repeat the process for all the boards.

Step 2

Place the boards together without attaching them; just check if the pieces fit. If they fit, put on some polyurethane glue on the joints. Use the glue brush to apply them. Join the pieces using the C clamps. Make sure the joints are square. Check the door diagonals; the length should be similar. Allow the glue to dry.

Step 3

Install the cleats. Get the staples and staple the screen on the door’s face. But those who build a screen door can recess it too. To make the screen recess, glue and nail ¾” x ¾” cleats on the 5/4 wood frame. Make certain it is flush with the door’s insides.

Step 4

Now you can paint the wood or varnish it. Whichever you choose, give it time to dry. Note: apply the paint or varnish before installing the screen.

Step 5

Put the screen door on blocks. Clamp it in the middle of the door. Roll the screening on the entire door. Staple it at the rails of the door top and bottom. Be certain there is no slack. When you build a screen door, you’ll want it to be as tight as possible.
Staple the screening on the vertical pieces and the internal frame. Cut off any excess screening with a knife. Put some screen molding over the staples to hide them. Just put them over the screen channel.

Step 6

To install the screen door hardware, use a face mounted spring hinge. It should have a handle fastened on both sides of the screen door. Put the screen door at the door opening. Connect the hinges on the trim adjacent to the main door. Join a metal handle by screwing it on the wood of the screen. Install a lock if you want.

Tips and Warnings

Put goggles on when you cut the boards with the circular saw. Always use a tape measure to get the screen dimensions right. Different adhesives have different drying times; follow the one specified by the glue you are using.

If you’re going to build a screen door, always use galvanized hinges. This ensures your screen doesn’t make noises when it’s opened.

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