Installing a Storm Door

This story shows how to install a storm door.


A high-quality storm door correctly installed provides a good measure of protection against the weather. If you also apply weatherstripping, you'll have a doorway that is nearly as well insulated as the surrounding wall. In addition, a storm door prolongs the life of the entry door by protecting it from the elements.

Many storm doors are flimsy affairs made of single-thickness aluminum, with poor weatherstripping and hinges that are likely to come loose. You'll save money in the long run if you buy a quality unit. Look for substantial weatherstripping around the glass panes and the door itself. The frame and hinge should be sturdy enough to stand up to wind gusts. The door frame should be insulated or made of clad wood. The door bottom should have a thick rubber seal that can be adjusted and, when necessary, replaced.

Inspect the opening where the storm door will be installed. The frame and molding should be fairly square and reasonably smooth, so the storm door can seal well. At the bottom the sill or threshold should be an even plane so the door's sweep can seal at all points.

Prestart Checklist

About 3 hours to install a storm door

Tape measure, drill, hammer, level, tin snips, hacksaw, pliers, framing square, caulk gun, screwdriver, nail set

Measuring, leveling, fastening

Measure the opening and purchase a storm door to fit.

Storm door with latch and other hardware, caulk

Step 1

Uncrate the door and remove screen panes as recommended by the manufacturer. Position the metal drip cap against the brick molding at the top and temporarily install it with one screw only. (These steps may not apply to all doors; follow the manufacturer's instructions.)

Step 2

Measure the distance from the underside of the drip cap to the sill. Determine which end of the hinge-side Z bar is up. Measure and cut the bottom of the Z bar. If the sill is sloped, make an angled cut that follows the slope.

Step 3

Set the door in the opening, with the top of the Z bar butted against the end of the drip cap. If needed, adjust the position of the drip cap or trim the bottom of the Z bar. Temporarily fasten the door with screws at the top and the bottom.

Step 4

Check for plumb. Test that the door operates smoothly. Adjust as necessary and finish fastening the Z bar. Close the door. Adjust the drip cap so there is a consistent gap of 1/8 inch between it and the door. Drive screws through the remaining holes to attach the drip cap.

Step 5

Measure and cut the latch-side Z bar. Hold it up against the end of the drip cap and drive two screws to hold it in place. Test the fit of the door and adjust the Z bar's position as needed to achieve a consistent 1/8-inch gap. Drive the rest of the screws.

Step 6

Close the door and check that it seals snugly against the weatherstripping at all points. If needed, adjust the positions of the Z bar or the drip cap. Insert the handle parts from each side and drive screws to attach the parts. Attach the latch and adjust so the door closes tightly.

Step 7

Slip the sweep onto the bottom of the door, close the door, and adjust so the sweep's fins touch the sill and compress slightly. Drive screws to secure the sweep.

Step 8

Install the closer and perhaps a wind chain. Some doors come with a cover that fits in a channel to hide the screws. Cut it to length and snap it in place.

Comments (3)
sarmientosusan1 wrote:

can I hang a 31x80 metal storm door in an 32x80 doorway?

3/21/2015 03:11:53 PM Report Abuse
patbagley1 wrote:

does not say which side to have henges on. Same as main door or opposite of the main door???

1/24/2011 05:49:16 AM Report Abuse
anonymous wrote:


5/21/2010 05:18:55 AM Report Abuse
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