How to Build a Screen Door Out of an Old Window




About: There is nothing I love more then making something new and usable again that someone else would have thrown out or torn down!

If you’ve been following along then you know that Joe and I heat our house using wood in a large wood burning stove in our kitchen. From day one it seemed only natural to use the closet under our stair case (about four steps away from the wood stove) as wood storage all year. When the closet is full of wood it lasts us about two weeks and its become Joe’s Saturday ritual to cut more for us and replenish any wood we burned during over the week. Since day one I had my heart set on this closet being closed by an old screen door painted red. The only problem was, I couldn’t find a door to fit the space, so I decided that I had no choice but to build a screen door!

Step 1: The Window I Chose Was Tall But Needed Work

Which, left me a bit at a loss, as you guys know I really would much rather recycle then build totally from scratch, so we’ve been living without a door on our “wood closet” for several months now. Then I found this old window.

Step 2: I Cut Off the Window and Added Plywood

Probably not surprisingly it was when Joe was out in our “wood shed” outside, cutting wood when I looked along the side of the build and spotted this old window. I have no idea how long it had been there and couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it before! The moment I picked it up and leaned it against the garage, I knew it was all that I had been looking for. Tragically, the bottom screen was in too bad a shape to repair so I had to cut it off, so the window (already way too short) ended up FAR too short to be our door. So, I got to work.

Step 3: Using 1x4s Sandwich the Plywood and Window Together

We had several sheets of leftover plywood that had, actually, been being used as rolling closet doors in the house. I saved, it was solid 3/4″ plywood and I knew I would be able to use it on countless projects. I cut to the length I needed and set it at the bottom of the window then started piecing the whole thing together. I sandwiched the screen and the plywood with a 1×4 running entirely down either side, using screws as I went. Then, I flipped it over to the “front” and started framing it out with 1x4s around the bottom where the plywood was and 2x2s around the window.

Step 4: Add Hinges, Hang and Then Paint

The screen door complete, I added hinges and brought it into the house. I used regular door hinges but I only used two, this door didn’t weigh very much so I knew two would do. Once hung, I used wood putty on all of the screws holes and then sanded the entire door down with fine grit sand paper and my electric palm sander. Then, I taped off the screen and used Rustoleum Sunset Red paint.

Step 5: Three Coats

I did three coats of paint on it and, yes I know, Rustoleum was a bit over kill but this is a really rough environment for wood. One one side of the door is our wood stove and, meanwhile, its right smack dab in the middle of our kitchen. I also wanted to be able to clean the door really easily. I could have just as simply used latex red paint, then a couple of coats of poly acrylic but the quart sized can of Rustoleum was only $7 and I used very little of it and I figured I would use it again somewhere else, it was also the perfect color.

Step 6: Finished Door!

We’re extremely happy with our little screen door! Another good point for our using a screen door here, was that we wanted any wood we do have in our “wood shed” to be able to breathe and continue drying after we bring it into the house, just in case its still carrying any dampness after we dried it outside. I love that the screen looks old, I am playing with the idea of maybe painting it someday, but then it would lose some of its character.



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