Screen doors aren't all the same, so it's wise to do some research before you buy a screen, or combination storm and screen door. Buying products for your home is similar, yet very different from going to the grocery store or buying a new pair of shoes. You know intuitively how long the food will last. You know how long new sneaker you wear every day will last, and some shoes (Jimmy Choos) you'll treasure forever.
Our houses have a much longer lifetime cars and most clothing, so you need to think through how long you want products like screen doors to last. You'll also want to consider the time needed for maintenance and long products will last until they need to be replaced.
For example, an inexpensive hot water heater may only last 6 years versus 12 to 14 years for a more expensive model. When you add up the costs for 2 cheap hot water heaters, 2 installations and disposal of one hot water heater, you're actually going to spend more money.
Real Cost = Product + Installation + Maintenance + Replacement
Tips for Buying the Right Screen Door
Buying products for your house can be challenging as you don't buy them very often and you don't use them often enough to really know what you like or don't like about them. There are a few exceptions like appliances you use everyday but how do you really think about your hot water heater when you take a shower? or give any thought to a door you open and close each day?
Here are the things you should consider when buying a screen door:
- Do you expect the screen door to increase your home's value and curb appeal?
- With your primary home, have you considered a combination storm and screen door?
- Do you have young children or other traffic that might damage the door, causing you to replace it in a few years?
- Consider your home's value, siding and other doors as you'll want to match this quality with the screen door you pick.
- Pick a door that matches your tolerance for more/less maintenance.
For example, some combination doors require you to swap the screen and glass panels twice a year, storing them in a safe place. For those who want to keep home maintenance chores at a minimum, buying a combination door where the unused panel slides down and is stored in the door, makes a lot of sense.
Consider Who Will Install Your Screen Door?
Running a handyman business for 8 years, including installing more than 100 storm doors (fewer than 10% were screen only), means I've learned the hazards of installing these doors.
- Large products purchased at box stores need to inspected before leaving the store as the odds of damage are high. My handyman business preferred building supply companies like Harvey Building Products, and I have their Lifetime Storm Doors on my house.
- Check the installation manual for any product you buy, to discover:
- How many pieces have to be assembled, a major problem for our storm door installation estimates.
- How many pages of installation directions are there, e.g. swing set manuals can exceed 50 pages.
- Homeowners never understood my 2 to 4 hour estimate, but I've seen 20 or more parts spread out across the front lawn to organize and assemble these doors, before we could start installing them. Sometimes parts are missing and with one door, it was designed so poorly we had to fabricate support pieces under the door.
What is your favorite type of screen door?
I hadn’t thought about checking the quality of our home to match it with the quality of a screen door, so I appreciate the tip that you gave to do so. My wife and I have been wanting to find a screen door for our sliding glass door, and it is going to be important for us to know that we could find the best one. To be sure that it will be the right choice, I will consider the quality of our home to help us choose.
Thank you for your great article on buying a screen door. My husband and I really want to get a screen door for our patio. I will definitely utilize all of your great tips and information when getting a screen door.
A screen door can be a great addition to a home if you know what you are looking for. Because of that, I love some of the considerations that the article encourages looking into before choosing one. I particularly like that you ask about choosing a partial storm door as well just to increase your home’s security.
Your advice to consider the time needed for maintenance and how long the screen door to last is something I would keep in mind while choosing for one. We just had our home finished; all that is left to do is to get a screen door for it. Having your tip should really get us our investment worth every dime we’ll spend on it. Thanks!