How to make a wooden screen door instructions
Backyard | Build | Garage | Outdoor Projects

How to Build a DIY Screen Door

For some reason, flies love to hang around in our garage.  

As annoying as they are in the garage, they are even worse if they make it inside the house.

I finally got tired of chasing after flies in the house and decided to install a screen door leading into the garage.

Now, in traditional Just Measuring Up fashion, I wasn’t about to just buy one from the store.

How to build a diy wooden screen door tutorial

I had lots of wood leftover from previous projects, so I decided to just make my own door. I just needed to buy some hinges and insect screen.

DIY Screen Door Design

I had a basic idea of what I wanted the scrap wood screen door to look like.

So I had a quick session on the table saw and miter saw using the scrap wood that I had laying around, and here is what I came up with for the screen door design:

How to build a DIY screen door - lining up the wood pieces in a pattern

DIY Screen Door Materials

Since I was retro-fitting a custom door in the door frame, the dimensions were customized to fit within the existing doorway trim.

Here are my exact dimensions:

Dimensions for making a custom screen door from scratch

How to Use Scrap Wood to Make a DIY Screen Door

The long boards for the screen door I cut with my table saw, while the triangle trim inserts were done with left over scrap wood using my miter saw.  I used whatever surplus boards I had lying around the garage.

If I were to buy boards from the store, I would be fine with just two 1′ x 10′ x 8′ boards.

Next, I had to join the pieces together to form the screen door. There are lots of different ways to join these pieces. I opted for the simplest method of using pocket hole screws. I used my trusty Kreg pocket hole jig.

Here is my Kreg pocket hole jig in action, connecting the pieces to make the scrap wood screen door:

Using my Kreg jig pocket holes to build a screen door

How to Make Pocket Holes for the Scrap Wood Screen Door

Making pocket holes with a jig is really fast and produces very strong joints. Here are what some of the joints look like:

Using pocket hole plugs to build a screen door

Pocket holes joints do leave visible holes. Normally, I don’t mind them.

However, I wanted this screen door to have a more professional finish.

So I filled the holes with these pocket hole plugs and a touch of wood glue:

Building a screen door using pocket holes

Once the wood glue is dried and the plugs are sanded down, the holes practically disappear (a coat of paint will seal the deal):

Making a wooden screen door with pocket hole plugs

Using Triangle Inserts for the Design

In making the scrap wood DIY screen door, I didn’t use any pocket holes for the triangle inserts.  I just used some construction adhesive and two finishing nails.

Here is the assembled scrap wood screen door (it’s looking great so far):

DIY screen door made from wood for a garage door

Installing Door Hinges on the DIY Screen Door

For my particular set up, it was more practical to install the hinges on the outside of the screen door frame (rather than inside, like typical door hinges are).  

So rather than screwing the hinges directly into the screen door trim (which would be hideous and not very strong at all), I decided to make simple mounts for the hinges.

I cut out a small segment of the existing doorway trim, and inserted a block of wood. This piece of wood was both glued and screwed into the doorway to make a strong mount for the hinges.  

Here is what one of the mounts looked like for the DIY screen door:

How to make a screen door fit

Attaching the Screen to the Door

After my wife painted the door, I proceeded to attach the screen to the door. I wrapped the door really tightly with the screen and stapled the perimeter of the windows with my staple gun:

How to make a wooden screen door for a porch or garage - working with the screen

Then I used my utility knife to cut away the excess screen:

How to build a screen door out of wood - attaching the screen to the wooden door

I covered the staples with door trim by attaching construction adhesive and letting it dry overnight:

Adding hinges to the DIY garage screen door

Attaching the DIY Screen Door Accessories

While attaching some of the screen door accessories (like hinges, handle and magnetic catch), I realized some of the screws were a bit too long.  

They were sticking out the other side of the door. I remedied this by shortening the screws to the thickness of the door.

Trimming the Screws

To trim the screws, I drove them into a scrap piece of wood. Then I secured the wood in a vise and used my handy Dremel to cut off the protruding parts of the screws (via a reinforced cut-off wheel).

I made sure to wear gloves and safety goggles for this, as lots of sparks fly when cutting metal.

Here’s a picture showing my screw trimming station:

How to make a wooden screen door from scrap wood

Attaching the Screen Door

To attach the DIY screen door, I placed it in the doorway  and positioned it in place.

I needed a 1/8″ gap between the door and the frame. So to ensure a consistent gap along the entire perimeter, I used several wooden shims underneath and along the edges of the screen door.

Once I was satisfied with an even 1/8″ gap, I screwed on the hinges to lock the screen door in place.

For the moment of truth, I pulled out all the wooden shims and watched the screen door swing freely.

Next, I attached the door handle and a long spring to self close the door.

However, I noticed that even with the spring in place, the screen door didn’t remain closed all the way (there was about half an inch of a gap). So I used a magnetic catch to keep the door pulled in all the way.

The DIY screen door made from scrap wood was complete!

Here is the finished homemade screen door for the garage:

How to make a wooden screen door instructions

For a final touch, I also attached a latch to be able to keep the screen door open if needed:

Step by step instructions on building a screen door

The DIY screen door only took a few hours to complete (although I had to wait extra time for paint and glue to dry).

Since I reused extra wood left over from projects, my total cost for the DIY screen door was around $30 (for screen, hinges, spring, handle).

And, the flies? They can longer get into the house.

And that, my friends, is a win.

Wooden DIY screen door for the garage door
Easy instructions for making a DIY screen door tutorial
Wood screen door painted white on the garage entrance

10 Comments

  1. Lianne Harris says:

    Its fascinating to see how its all put together! Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

    1. Thanks so much, Lianne!

  2. Thanks for sharing. And yes, those flies can be a real nuisance! Blessings to you.

    1. Totally! Thanks – you too!

  3. As always, a very useful project! Great job, guys!

  4. This was super helpful! I’m screening in my porch and need to make some doors.
    Thanks so much.

  5. This was a very well written piece. I was able to follow it and build a screen door that replaces a sliding screen. It works very well for our cabin.
    Thank you

    1. Awesome! So happy you could follow it well!

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