How does door work?
September 30, 2014 8:26 AM   Subscribe

I have to replace a screen/storm door, and when I measured it, it was 80" x 33 1/3". That's... not a normal size, is it? How do you buy a new screen/storm door when the size is so wonky? They seem to come in 32" and 34" widths, what should I do?

Obviously I'm having a pro install it because I'm not handy, but I don't even know what I'm supposed to buy. Am I supposed to measure something else? The door frame? Do I need to buy some sort of spacers?
posted by juniperesque to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Your screen door may be "officially" 34 inches, despite its actual measurements. Head to Lowes or Home Depot and check with someone working in their door section.
posted by thomas j wise at 8:36 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

with no info on the type/condition of the door frame, & with appropriate tools, I'd buy the 34" door & trim it to fit.
But since you are having a pro install it, just have the pro buy the size he/she wants & figure out the fit....
posted by TDIpod at 8:37 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

You can have a custom door made, or you can install a spacer whose real name is apparently a Z-bar extender. If you're not too concerned about the price, just have a Lowe's/Home Depot-type place do the whole thing for you. They will send someone out to measure the opening, order the appropriate custom door, and come back and install it when it's ready. I especially recommend this if you decide to go the custom route, because if you measure even a little bit wrong and order a size that doesn't work, you can't return it.
posted by slenderloris at 8:38 AM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Is 33 1/3" the measurement of the current storm door? The measurement of the exterior door? The 32" and 34" sizes describe the size of the opening you want to mount the door in. Each of these fit a range of rough openings. Here's a sizing chart from Anderson/EMCO.
posted by advicepig at 9:15 AM on September 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

Buy the smaller door. It's much easier to reduce the size of the opening than it is to increase the size of the the opening or trim the door - and it's pretty much impossible to reduce the size of a metal door given the hinge mounts and latch. Also most screen doors have a flange that, with a little trimming allows for compensation. This is 101 type stuff for any professional - it might add five minutes to the process, which at most should take fifteen minutes and only that long because they have to unload and reaload tools.

This is very much not a problem. The door installer people see this every day.
posted by vapidave at 10:18 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I just saw that the page I linked to has a handy "how to measure" graphic above the rough opening sizes. Note how the opening measurement is measuring the exterior door trim, not the width between the door jambs.
posted by advicepig at 11:59 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

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