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How to Make Your Own Screen Door

There are some days in the heat of summer when you have to have the house all shut up, with the air-conditioning turned up full blast. However, there are other nights when the temperature cools just enough that a night breeze keeps you refreshingly cool. On those nights, nothing is better than having a breeze blow through the house, providing its brand of summer-time invigoration. And the best way to achieve this is with a screen door. A screen door lets you enjoy the breeze while shutting out the bugs. And during the winter, the screen door becomes a "storm door," shutting out the icy-hold air.

Do you need a screen door on your home? Instead of buying one, why not consider making your own? It's not that hard, and it's usually a lot cheaper. Here's how you can do it.

First, make sure you have the necessary materials. These include the door hardware, an ample supply of aluminum screen, an electric saw, tape measure, utility knife, ten "C" clamps, a chisel and square, paintbrush, polyurethane glue, a glue brush, lumber, screen molding (should be about 1/4 by 3/4 inch), a drill & spade bits, staple gun & staples, a nail hammer & nails or one-inch brads.

If you prefer, you can use your saw to cut the lumber to the necessary width for the door rails. It's easier, though, to just buy the lumber at the store cut to these dimensions. You'll also need stiles that are equivalent to the necessary height, and you'll need to make sure the rails are cut to the door's width.

Spread your boards out before you, and with a marker, label their faces, making sure they match the face of another one. Now inserting a board into a jig for guiding the saw, cut the lap joints. Set the cutting depth to half the thickness of the board. Start at a cut line, then with your saw, make as many passes as you need in order to get rid of all the material between your two cut lines. Repeat this for all of the board joints.

You'll now begin the process of assembling the door parts. First make sure that all of the pieces fit, and then apply polyurethane glue to the joints with your glue brush. Put the pieces together. Now use the "C" clamps and clamp the joints together forcefully. As you do this, measure the door's diagonals to ensure that you have a true square. Let the glue dry a while.

Once the glue has dried, you may stain or paint it. Now it's time to install the screen. After the paint or stain has had time to dry, spread some blocks on the floor and lay the door on it, making sure no part of it touches the floor. Clamp the door's center, rolling your aluminum screen around both the width and length of the door. Staple the screen to both the top and bottom, making sure the screen is taut. Now release your clamp, and again stretch the aluminum screen as taut as you can get it. Now on the outside of the screen, staple the aluminum to the stiles and the inside frame. Finally, use your utility knife to get rid of all excess aluminum screen, and then cut the molding to the right size. The molding will then also serve to hide the staples.

It's now just a matter of setting the door in the opening and attaching the hardware to the door and then hanging the door. Now you're ready to catch that summer breeze!

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