Those hearty souls who live in northerly climates undoubtedly already know what storm doors are, but those people who live in more temperate regions may not. A storm door is an additional exterior door that is installed over the door built into the house.
The purpose of a storm door is to act as insulation by trapping a layer of air between the regular door and the storm door. Adding a storm door may save energy because of its insulating qualities and also because a tight fitting seal on a storm door will cut down on air leakage.
Storm doors are available as solid doors, or as doors with glass panels for visibility. Some of the versions with glass windows also include slide in screens; the glass can be exchanged for the screen during the summer months, creating a screen door. The storm doors with glass panels are not appropriate for use with doors made of certain types of materials, however. While the sunlight allowed through the glass can be beneficial by providing light and warmth to enter the house, that direct sunlight can be damaging to primary exterior doors made of fiberglass or metal that have vinyl or plastic coating or trim.
Installing a storm door yourself requires a lot of precision measuring, and a toolbox full of tools. Since getting an exacting fit is critical to maximize the value of your storm doors, it is sometimes most cost effective to hire a professional for installation. This upfront investment may pay for itself many times over by lowering your energy bills through the coming years.
Whether you install them yourself or hire a professional, there are some components of storm doors that you should carefully examine before you make a purchase:
- Material: Personal preference and style design will dictate your choice of wood, steel or aluminum; anodized or baked enamel finishes may be best because they will not rust.
- Hardware: Check hinges, catches and locks; good quality hardware will last longer and is an indication of an high quality storm door.
- Weather stripping: Choose the best weather stripping you can afford, this will create the best seal and save on energy bills.
- Corner joints: Ensure that there are no loose or poorly built corner joints, this will keep out the cold and postpone the need to replace the storm doors.