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This storm door has a retractable insect screen. Its operating system includes a concealed screen that rolls up and out of sight when it’s not in use.
Photo by Pella
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This self-storing storm door is made of aluminum skins permanently bonded to a solid core. Strong, tarnish-free brass hardware is used.
Photo by Pella
Question: I feel air leaks around my doors, so I thought about adding storm doors. I’d prefer ones with screens, but my budget is limited. Is it worthwhile adding storm doors? What should I look for?
Answer: Even though a door is relatively small as compared to the entire wall area of a house, just one door can allow a significant amount of energy loss. Even insulated doors often have some glass, which decreases insulation value, and inadequate weather stripping will allow air to leak through.
Before buying anything new, make sure your primary doors are as airtight as possible. Adding storm doors can certainly improve the energy efficiency of almost any house, but they are not designed to correct the efficiency problems of an old, warped primary door.
If possible, buy replacement weather stripping for your existing doors from the original manufacturer. If you can’t find it, most home improvement stores sell many styles of generic weather stripping that should fit. Pry off the old door molding, fill any gaps around the framing with non-expanding foam insulation and caulk around the door frame.
When you’re ready to buy a storm door, pay attention to the quality of the door’s construction. That’s important for a nice appearance, long life and security. Plus, the door must withstand a lot of abuse, so don’t just pick the cheapest one. From just an energy-efficiency standpoint, though, the most important factors are the dead-air space between the storm and primary doors and how well wind is blocked.
Buying an aluminum storm door and installing it yourself is a typical low-cost option. They’re very lightweight and made to fit standard-sized openings, so installing one is a simple do-it-yourself project.
When you see the door on display at the store, attached to a wooden frame, the aluminum frame will feel very strong. When you open the box at home, you may find the unattached aluminum frame strips are somewhat flexible. Be careful not to kink them during handling. Apply a generous bead of caulk on the back of the aluminum frame when screwing it to the door frame.
If you plan to use natural ventilation during the summer, a self-storing, triple-track storm/screen door is the most convenient option. The screen panel has its own vertical track in the door, so it never has to be removed. At the end of winter, just slide one of the glass panels down and slide the screen panel up for ventilation.
A fairly new design of storm/screen door uses a spring-mounted, roll-up, retractable screen, built into the door. When you are ready for ventilation, just lower the glass and pull the screen down as far as you wish. This design is attractive because the screen is hidden away during winter without having to remove and store the screen panels.
When your budget does open up someday, some very attractive, allwood-frame storm/screen doors are available. These are strong and secure but do require some regular maintenance, similar to any wood door. For added security, ornate, wroughtiron storm doors are available with deadbolts and very tough, break-inresistant, stainless-steel screens.
Send questions to Energy Q&A.
The following companies offer storm/screen doors:
Cumberland Woodcraft,(800) 367-1884
Homeguard Industries,(800) 525-1885
Provia Door,(877) 389-0835