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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
Once the wood glue is dried and the plugs are sanded down, the holes practically disappear (a coat of paint will seal the deal):
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):
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:
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:
Then I used my utility knife to cut away the excess screen:
I covered the staples with door trim by attaching construction adhesive and letting it dry overnight:
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
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:
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:
For a final touch, I also attached a latch to be able to keep the screen door open if needed:
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.