Today we’re going to talk about probably the EASIEST and CHEAPEST project you’ll do this spring: how to change the insert on your storm door.
- Active Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Cost: $0
- Help Needed?: Nope!
- Difficulty: Beginner for sure
With spring showing signs that it may actually be here to stay in Northern Virginia (that’s always up for debate here), I’ve started doing a few things around the house that I consider my version of ‘Spring Cleaning’. For me, spring cleaning isn’t all about cleaning–it also includes things I do in the spring to get ready for warmer weather, like changing out the glass for the screen in our storm door.
I love to have the windows open to get that nice spring breeze, before the oppressive heat and humidity show up. Changing the glass out for the screen in our storm door is like adding one giant open window to the front of our house. And, it lets Sadie, our pup, patrol the neighborhood for those invading FedEx and UPS trucks from the ground, and not our living room chair.
If you’ve never done this before, it’s really straightforward and only takes about 15 minutes to complete, once in the spring and once in the fall.
And, make sure you read through my instructions before you start and make sure they line up with your door. Some newer doors have different types of installation, so check with your manufacturer if you’re door seems different.
What if I Don’t Have a Screen, Just the Glass Insert?
When we moved into our home, the screen insert for the storm door was missing. I was worried that meant we had to install a new storm door (an extra $200-$300 we didn’t have with all the other new home expenses).
But, I found the model number of our storm door on the inside edge and went to the manufacturer’s website. They sell replacement parts, and a new screen insert was only $30! They shipped it to our house in just a few days, and of course, as luck would have it, it was bent and wouldn’t fit. But, the customer service at Andersen Windows & Doors was amazing and shipped us a second one for free, without us having to return the first one!
Here’s the best news of the whole project (if you weren’t already loving that it only takes 15 minutes): you don’t need ANY supplies! No power tools, no screws, not even a hammer or a screwdriver! All you need is the storm door insert, and a friend to help–the glass door is VERY heavy. You can do it by yourself if you need to, but I wouldn’t the first time, just in case you run into any issues.
Step 1: Lock the Storm Door Open
Open the screen door most, if not all of the way, and slide the little brake, or “Hold Open Clip” (yes, that’s actually its name on some models), to the end of the closer (the thing that makes the door close).
Step 2: Lift the Handle Up
Once the storm door is propped open, lift the handle up 90 degrees so it’s out of the way of removing the glass insert.
Step 3: Remove the Latch Rails
Now, let’s get down to business. To get the glass insert out, you need to remove the 4 latch rails holding it in place on the door (these are the long plastic strips around all four edges). To do this, you need to start at one end of one latch rail, and with the tips of your fingers, push the latch rail out until it unsnaps. You’ll have to do a little bit at a time, working your way down until you get the whole latch rail off. Then, repeat with the other three. I usually remove the two short ones first, and then I remove the two long ones.
Be careful when you remove the last two latch rails–the glass is really heavy, so if it starts to come out, you’ll have to hold it in while removing the last latch rail. This is where it may be helpful to have a friend helping.
Step 4: Remove the Glass Insert and Store for the Summer
Again, the glass insert is VERY HEAVY, so carefully (and with help if needed) remove the door from the insert.
Before I store the glass insert, I usually wipe it down, especially the edges. We store ours in the shed, so I know the glass is going to get dirty, but if I don’t remember to clean the edges before installing it in the fall, at least it’s been cleaned once that year.
Step 5: Clean the Storm Door
This is the one time you’ll have access to the inside of the storm door, so it’s a great time to clean all the dirt and pollen that’s accumulated over the last year. I just use some Clorox Wipes, since they’re easy, and wipe down the whole door, inside and out. It takes five minutes, and somehow during the year, I never think to clean the door–just the glass insert.
Step 6: Place the Screen Insert into the Storm Door
Now, grab your screen door insert and place it in your storm door.
Step 7: Replace the Latch Rails
Replace the latch rails in the opposite order you removed them–long rails first, then short rails. These can be a little tricky to place in but you need to sort of pinch the shorter edge inward so the edge of the latch rail lines up with the door. You’ll hear it snap in place. It’s hard to explain, so if you don’t quite get it from my description and picture, try watching a You Tube video on it. You’ll know you’ve done it right if the whole thing snaps in place.
Step 8: Unlock the Door Handle and the Door Closer
That’s it! All the hard work! Now just unlock the door handle (i.e. turn it back so it’s horizontal) and open the door closer so it swings again, and you’re all set!
See? Super easy to do, even if you’ve never done it before. And, now you get to enjoy the nice breeze and the pretty spring weather!
Have Questions? Looking for More Front Porch Projects?
Have you changed a storm door insert before and have any tips you want to share? Let us know in the comments below! Or, you can always send us a direct message on our Contact Us page, and we’ll get back to you ASAP!
Looking for More Projects?
Lastly, make sure you review our Disclaimer before completing any projects we discuss on our site.
Want to Save This for Later? Pin It!
How to Change the Screen Insert in a Storm Door
- Lock the storm door in the open position
- Lift the handle upwards until it locks up
- Remove the 2 short latch rails first by pushing the top of the rail it with your fingertips until it unsnaps. Then repeat with the 2 long latch rails.
- Remove the glass insert and store.
- Clean the storm door frame if desired.
- Place the screen insert into the storm door
- Replace the 2 short latch rails–start with the top latch rail. Pinch the latch rail with your fingertips and push them into place. You need to push them into place until the snap. Continue along the whole rail. Once you latch the two short latch rails, repeat the same steps with the 2 long rails.
- Lower the door handle to it's normal position
- Unlock the door, so it closes