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How to Install a Retractable Screen Door

This pull-down screen door model is unlike anything you've ever seen

Retractable Screen Door

Instead of presenting a home improvement that takes two or three days to complete, here's a simpler project you can finish in a single day. And all you need are a few basic hand tools, a cordless drill/driver and a free afternoon. This is an easy-to-operate screen door that's unlike any you've probably ever seen. It doesn't swing on hinges or roll on wheels, but instead pulls down like a window shade.

Here, we're installing a Screenex Hideaway Roller Screen Door, which glides up and down as smoothly as a window shade. It consists of a fiberglass screen rolled up inside a 2-in. sq. aluminum case, or storage cassette. The cassette is installed horizontally over the doorway. Aluminum side tracks are mounted vertically to the doorjambs to support the edges of the screen. And because there's no track along the sill, there's no place for dirt and debris to collect and interfere with the screen. We installed the Screenex Model PD7283 in front of a 6-ft.-wide pair of French doors. Other models are available for doors ranging in width from 3 to 8 ft. There's even a way to use Screenex doors to enclose a two-car garage or open-air porch. Doors are available in white, almond and brown.

TIP: Before purchasing a door, measure the inside width of the doorway at the top and bottom of the opening. If the door frame is out of square by 1/4 in. or less, you can go ahead and order the screen door. If it's out by more than 1/4 in., you'll have to adjust the jambs to square up the frame.


Steps // How to Install a Retractable Screen Door
1 ×

Pull-down screen door

 
Step One // How to Install a Retractable Screen Door

Pull-down screen door

A pull-down screen door affords an unobstructed view through these French doors.
 
2 ×

Trim to Fit

 
Step Two // How to Install a Retractable Screen Door

Trim to Fit

1. Cut the rolled-up screen and aluminum storage cassette down to size with a high-tension hacksaw.

The retractable screen door glides as smoothly as a window shade and consists of a fiberglass screen rolled up inside of a 2-inch-square aluminum case, or storage cassette. The cassette is installed horizontally over the doorway. Start by using a hacksaw to trim the storage cassette and screen down to the proper width. It should be 1/8 in. less than the width of the opening.

 
3 ×

Re-Assemble the Parts

 
Step Three // How to Install a Retractable Screen Door

Re-Assemble the Parts

2. Snap the plastic end caps back onto the storage cassette after trimming it to size.

After cutting the cassette down to size, replace the plastic end caps, which simply snap back onto the just-cut cassette. Also replace the screen handle.

 
4 ×

Attach the Mounting Clips

 
Step Four // How to Install a Retractable Screen Door

Attach the Mounting Clips

3. Fasten two metal mounting clips to the head casing over the doorway. Use one screw per clip.

Next, screw two metal mounting clips to the head casing over the door. Make sure the curved lip on each clip faces in toward the doorway.

 
5 ×

Mount the Storage Cassette

 
Step Five // How to Install a Retractable Screen Door

Mount the Storage Cassette

4. Snap the storage cassette into the mounting clips, then mark its position on the side jambs with a sharp pencil.

Carefully raise the storage cassette to the top of the doorway and snap it into the two mounting clips. Mark a horizontal pencil line along each side jamb directly underneath the cassette.

 
6 ×

Install the Side Tracks

 
Step Six // How to Install a Retractable Screen Door

Install the Side Tracks

5. Cut the aluminum side tracks to length with a hacksaw, then slip them into place under each end of the storage cassette mounted overhead.

Take down the cassette and measure from the sill up to the pencil lines. Subtract 1/8 in. from those dimensions and cut the two aluminum side tracks to match. Reinstall the cassette. Slip the side tracks into place under the ends of the cassette.

 
7 ×

Secure Each Side Track

 
Step Seven // How to Install a Retractable Screen Door

Secure Each Side Track

6. Insert a short section of plastic pipe into the track to separate the weather stripping, then drive in a 1 1/2-in. screw.

Secure each side track to the doorframe with four 1½-in. screws. Insert a short section of plastic pipe into the track to separate the weather stripping, then drive in the screws.

 
8 ×

Test the Screen Door

 
Step Eight // How to Install a Retractable Screen Door

Test the Screen Door

7. Test the screen door by pulling on the center handle. It should glide up and down without hesitation.

Test the door by pulling the screen up and down a few times. Check to make sure that it remains within the side tracks at all times and latches securely at the bottom. Note that the tension on the screen is preset at the factory. However, if it ever needs to be adjusted, just pop off an end cap from the cassette and wind the screen a little tighter.

 
 
 

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