With the hot summer rapidly approaching here in Idaho I was looking for a cheap, easy way to get a better cross-breeze in our house. I had some pallets lying around so I figured why not build a screen door! The total cost of the project ended up being around $17-$25 (it would have been $17 but I had to run out and get more Kreg screws). Anyways, this is a quick and easy project that I was able to throw together in a weekend.
Step 1: Salvage Pallet Wood and Resaw
So the first step is to salvage your pallet wood. Normally I would take the time to carefully remove all nails and get a full board however, with the length of pallet I had I was able to just take a circular saw and cut the nailed down sections off the board. Anyways I just estimated that 3 inches would be a good width for the two sides of the frame so I went from there. *Bonus* My pallet boards were about 5" in width so I was able to use the remaining 2" width piece for the bottom, top and middle.
Step 2: Make Your Joints
The sides of the door are made of two pieces of wood joined end-to-end. All I used was a little wood glue and my Kreg pocket-hole jig. Now if you dont have a pocket hole jig you could easily get some steel mending strips from lowes (like $2 for 4) and in fact I had to use them on one side because I dropped the wood and broke the joint :(
Anyways, just glue them up, Kreg it, and let the joints dry for a few hours (oh and use a wood glue thats good in exterior applications.)
Step 3: Sand Both Sides & Paint
This is an optional step. I sanded my door to get a nice smooth finish for paint. But you could keep the rough exterior look. Before I sanded, the door reminded me of the screen doors at the summer camp I went to as a kid. Either way would look good.
We had a little leftover exterior door paint from a recent project so I decided to paint it to match the exterior door but you could just as easily put a nice layer of poly on it.
Step 4: Add the Screen
I bought a roll of aluminum window screen from lowes (it was about $7) and I chose the dark finish because I didnt think the shiny screen would go good with our house. It was just big enough to cover the whole door with a little extra on the sides. I stapled the screen with a staple gun and 1/4" staples. I was actually really surprised at how well the staples held the screen to the door! After I stapled the screen I went around a cut off the excess with an old pair of scissors.
Step 5: Finishing Steps
I hung the door with a screen door kit I got from Lowes for $6. It includes 2 spring loaded hinges, a handle, and a hook and eye screw for "locking" the door. As you can see from the picture I added strips of pre-painted window screen trim (about $3 for 8 ft). All in all the door works great! The hinges make sure the door shuts behind you and now I have a great cross breeze in my house!
Feel free to ask questions, this is my first instructable so I might have missed some things!
I know there are pre-made screen doors that you can get for about $20 but making this was so much more rewarding! Also my house is from the 40's so the bottom of the door frame is 1-1/4" wider than the top so custom was the only way to go :)