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Forum topic by swarfrat posted 06-16-2014 03:59 PM 1154 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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swarfrat

39 posts in 922 days


06-16-2014 03:59 PM

We have a screened porch built by the previous homeowners, and it’s about a 6 foot drop. Since we have a toddler now who’s literally testing the limits (pushing on the screens), I need to put up safety railing. That’s almost done – the longest span between studs is 27.5 inches, so I just went with 2×2 top, bottom rail and balusters. I built the frames up, and then I’m using pocket screws to fasten the sections in place one they’re painted. (I pocket screwed the ballusters too, probably not the fastest choice. I ended up following up with 18ga brad nails to keep the balusters from twisting.)

The piece I haven’t completely figured out yet is the door. There’s about three feet drop of stairs out the screened door, so I think it essentially needs to be built to similar standards as the railing. But that’s a thick door. The top rail is at 36” from the floor. I made several 3 7/8” ‘GO’ block gauges and one 4” ‘NOGO’ gauge, and used them to layout my balusters.

I’ve never built a door before, and I understand it to be moderately tricky, but in the interest of matching the rest of the railing (function wise and appearance wise) I figured I’ll need to make this one myself.

How would you tackle this one? There’s not a lot of meat, I woudln’t expect solid wood of those dimensions to be stable. Plywood and pocket screws? Hardwood? There is a landing outside the door, so code may not require the door to be built to the same specs as the railing, but even if my son is safe, I still need to protect the screen door from him.


10 replies so far

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sras

4392 posts in 2596 days


#1 posted 06-16-2014 04:11 PM

If you can find some wood screen doors to study as an example, that would help.

This is a future project for me.I have been working through the details but have not started any design work. Here are my thoughts to date:

I am considering a mild hardwood that is good for outdoor exposure (not sure what that is yet).

As for structure, I have been leaning towards 5/4 stock (just over 1” thick), 3 to 4 inches wide. Joints would be either full half laps or motise & tenon. To bottom of the door will have a solid panel around 10 inches tall for extra stability.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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nicksmurf111

361 posts in 917 days


#2 posted 06-16-2014 04:55 PM

I would just build a standard mortise and tenon door with a large screen (that’s what I’m thinking when you said screen door) and just put a metal screen protector at the bottom made out of some kind of expanded metal. They sell pre-made ones at the home center. Use a standard screen door latch, then a lock above that out-of-reach for the kiddos. I would not fret over my children’s safety when it comes to steps if they are old enough to walk forwards down them.

This is what I had in mind (note: I don’t think these are not very nice looking).

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Screen-Tight-PetGuard-Series-36-in-x-80-in-Wood-Century-Screen-Door-WCEN36PG/204004990

Screen protector/pet grill:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Unbranded-36-in-x-30-in-White-Pet-Grille-40922710/202087604

I’d suggest not making the exactly matching, but rather complementary. If you match the rails exactly, it will be a play on your eyes. I’d lean toward 5/4 stock also. If you don’t like the pet grill, you could make vertical rails, and place them in the door where the bottom panel would usually be.

-- Nicholas

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swarfrat

39 posts in 922 days


#3 posted 06-16-2014 04:56 PM

The rest of the porch has a 12” solid bottom already, so it makes a lot of sense to incorporate that into my door. I hadn’t really considered laps since getting the pocket screw jig. (new hammer syndrome), but geometry trumps materials almost every time.

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nicksmurf111

361 posts in 917 days


#4 posted 06-16-2014 04:58 PM

Yeah, then just make a panel high enough so the kid can just look out above it…

I’m one of those people who don’t like pocket screws. You won’t be able to hide them well in a screen door.

-- Nicholas

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swarfrat

39 posts in 922 days


#5 posted 06-16-2014 05:08 PM

The existing door is a rickety pvc door with an eye hook that can’t be opened (non-destructively) from the outside. What you’re showing probably would be sufficient, but I’m thinking about continuing the baluster pattern, and using a heavy fiberglass pet screen on the bottom half, and a more normal weight screen above 36”. (What’s already on there is heavy fiberglass pet screen – courtesy of my previous cat managing to escape by destryoing the screen once. It is noticably darker than the rest of the screen though.)

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nicksmurf111

361 posts in 917 days


#6 posted 06-16-2014 05:10 PM

They sell all kinds of different screens. I was so confused the first time I went shopping for one.

-- Nicholas

View Knothead62's profile

Knothead62

2581 posts in 2427 days


#7 posted 06-16-2014 07:18 PM

Check out the expanded metal as it could have sharp edges plus little fingers could get caught in the openings. A solid piece of plexiglass might be the way to go- guards the screen and lets little eyes see what’s on the other side of the door.

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swarfrat

39 posts in 922 days


#8 posted 06-16-2014 07:33 PM

The kid is just 17 months. He’s able to walk up stairs, but usually crawls going up, still needs work going down. But that’s changing rapidly right now. He can climb into adult chairs even if his feet can’t reach the ground. He’s not super destructive (Thank God. One of my autistic nephews once took a 2nd story window OUT and was planning to do a super man out the window before he got caught), but my son is a determined problem solver.

I did find a vinyl door similar to what I was planning to build, for less than lumber cost, so I may just go that route. I just hadn’t seen anything but simple screen doors with large openings whenver I’ve looked in the past.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_207511-958-5BAR36H_1z0wz1b+1z11ad4+1z11pp6__?productId=3371362&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar|1%26page%3D1&facetInfo=36.0|Vinyl

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bold1

262 posts in 1314 days


#9 posted 06-16-2014 07:47 PM

Our screen door opens inward, so I simply fastened a plexiglass panel over the bottom half of the door with mirror clips. No air flow there now, but I can take it off if I ever want to.

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nicksmurf111

361 posts in 917 days


#10 posted 06-16-2014 08:21 PM

I saw a similar door on the Home Depot site and was wondering if that’s what you were thinking about. I have a 2 year old and I think he’s just starting to understand that he’s not allowed to beat on the screens. All of mine are storm doors, so I install the glass for the winter time.

-- Nicholas

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