How to Build a Screen Door
Because my back door opens out, I built a screen door for it long ago. I decided to build another one this time using PVC boards. What are PVC boards you ask? Well, they are just that – “boards” constructed from PVC. They are termite and rot-proof, they can be cut just like wood boards, and they are weather resistant! I found a really great article at The Family Handyman on using PVC boards and sheets. On a side note – I did not know it came in sheets (4′ x 8′) and have been looking for a supplier… I can build all kinds of cool stuff with a PVC sheet!
Anyhoo, to custom build a screen door, you’ll need the height and width of the opening minus 1/4″ (for a 1/8″ gap on all sides) from each measurement, and this will give you the finished dimensions of your door. There are many ways to style the lower portion of the screen frame. You can use vertical pieces like I did, horizontal pieces, a “plus” sign, etc.
- Lumber or PVC boards to construct the door frame
- Aluminum screen channel (to make a screen just short of the full length and width of the door)
- Screen channel corners
- Spline & Spline tool
- Screen material
- Non-mortise hinges
I bought a 1x10x8′ PVC board for $32.00 and ripped two 2-1/2″ “strips” off of it for the sides. I took the remaining piece and cut a 28″ piece to use as the center rail on the door, then ripped the remaining piece to 2-1/2″ for the remaining rails. the leftover piece (which measures approximately 1-3/4″ wide) will be used for the vertical pieces connecting the center and lower rails.
I drilled pocket holes in each end of the shorter rail pieces, as well as the vertical pieces for the lower portion of the frame.
Assemble the frame using 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws. Regular coarse-thread screws are perfect for the PVC.
Once the frame was completely assembled, I robbed the old screen off of the old door but to create a new screen, cut the screen channel approximately 4″ shorter than the height and 4″ narrower than the width of the door. Insert the screen corners to join the channel to each other. Lay the screen material over the frame, and insert the spline using the spline tool. Trim away the excess screen material. Pre-drill holes in the channel and secure the screen frame to the door frame using 1″ screws.
Install the hinges and a small handle on each side. Boom! New screen door! Sure beats the “redneck” screen door I used (for one day!)!
Until next time,