Six Fundamentals you Need to Know When Adding or Replacing Screen Doors

January 20, 2010

When you need to add or replace screen doors there are many options for functional designs, materials, and styles to consider.

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Screen Doors: Functional Designs, Materials, and Styles

Functional Designs for Screen Doors

  • Swing. Screen doors on hinges generally swing out (away from the house) to open. However, swing doors can also be installed to swing into the house.
  • Sliding. Many patios use sliding screen doors, especially in installations with double wide glass doors where one panel remains stationary. The sliding screen door does not take up any additional space as it simply slides over the stationary panel. Sliding screen doors operate with glides or rollers that fit into tracks at the top and bottom of the door frame. Sliding screen doors are usually mounted on the outside of the entry door, although they can also be mounted inside the house. Sliding screen doors are the best choice if you use a doggie door panel with your sliding patio door.
  • Retractable. The newest innovation in screens is the retractable screen door. The advantage of retractable screen doors is that when not needed, they disappear into their housing that can be installed to the right or the left of the door opening on either the inside or the outside of the door jamb. When retracted, they permit easy passage and allow for an unobstructed view through the glass (presuming the glass is clear). If retracted at least some of the time, these screen doors have the advantage of staying somewhat cleaner than conventional screen doors simply because they are not exposed to the elements as much.

Common Screen Door Materials

  • Swing screen doors come in a wide variety of materials including wood, aluminum, vinyl, fiberglass, and steel, while sliding and retractable screen doors are made with either aluminum or vinyl frames.
  • Wood is the easiest material to paint, so if you are looking for a custom color, and you are on a strict budget, consider wood. It is also possible to paint fiberglass, aluminum, and steel although not as easily as it is to paint wood. Vinyl cannot be painted, but high-end vinyl screen doors usually offer several color options, with the color baked into the material.

Popular Screen Door Styles

  • Swing screen doors offer the most style choices. Many swing doors have decorative grilles in styles from simple grids to elaborate ovals and laser cut ornamentation.
  • Some metal and wood swing doors have solid panels or kick plates on the lower half of the door.
  • Sliding screen doors may have kick plates and may offer decorative grilles, although the styles tend to be simpler.
  • Retractable screen doors, by design cannot have kick plates or grilles.

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