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Suggested wood choice for building a porch screen door ?

784 Views 19 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Knockonit
We have a screened porch that a previous owner had built. The structure and roof were done well but their choice for the screen door was a cheapo PVC thing with plastic spring hinges that can be found at the orange and blue big box stores. We want to replace this door with a screen door hung from barn door hardware so that we have more usable floor space inside the porch or outside on the deck. I can't find any place that stocks a door wide enough for this, so I'm going to build one. My problem at this point is figuring out which wood to use (that I can get).

It's going to be painted. I figured douglas fir would be a good choice, but I can't find anyone around that sells it (central Virginia). I need a wood that will hold up in hot sun, rain, humidity, and occaisional snow. Will clear pine hold up if primed and painted? Any other suggestions suited for outdoors that will sand and take paint easily?

Being hung as a barn door, I don't expect to worry about it sagging. I figure I will just use pocket hole joinery, plug the holes, sand, and paint. I'll also be installing a doggie door in a lower panel.
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FrankenShop, what I would do is buy a prebuilt wood screen door for your opening which I'm assuming is 32"or 36" wide. Once you get home add 1-2" or so on to each stile to increase the width. It's not structurally going to be supporting anything, it's just going to be overlapping your trim, so exterior wood glue and clamps is all you should need. Your height should be okay but you may have to add on there as well, but again it's not structural as your roller assembly will be fastened to your top rail. Your door will already have screen in it so build a frame for your dog door as shown in your diagram and add it to your door (pockets screws and exterior glue?) and staple the screen to it. Cut the screen inside the opening. Install the dog door and the trim on the dog door will cover the edges of the screen and your staples. Add some sort of brush style weather stripping to your door trim to help keep out "most" of the bugs.
FrankenShop, can you post a picture of the general area where the door is going, like the opening and the current door to give us a better idea? In theory a sliding barn door takes up more usable space than a swinging screen door. You have to have room for the door to slide so you can't have any light switches or thermostats behind it, nothing hanging on the wall, no windows (protruding trim), no furniture up against the wall, etc. With a screen door I'm assuming that it's always going to be shut unless you are passing through it. You have to have a path/walk-way to pass through it, that's the same space that the door will use so you aren't losing anything. You're not going to place something there that you have to walk around every time you enter or exit through the door. Yes, in your case it will have to swing inward because of the awning. I would reframe the opening down to fit a standard 36" screen door. Like I stated, pictures sure would help.
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