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Installing a New Storm Door

Last weekend, we deciding that installing a new storm door was absolutely necessary.  We had gotten the most mileage possible from our old storm door, using duct tape to hold the glass in place and removing the broken pneumatic cylinder.  The old storm door did little to keep anything in; the dog could push it open with her nose.  And the blasted thing slammed shut so loudly you could hear it all the way down at the garden and barn. The loud slamming actually had one benefit: it alerted us that the dog had gotten loose and was running wildly.  Multiple times our poor mailman has been seen making a mad dash from our doorstep (where he'd just left a package) back to his truck, as he frantically tried to avoid confrontation with our escaped dog.  The old door had to go, and a new one would keep the dog contained while also improving the security and appearance of the front of the house.

We purchased the new door from Home Depot (here's the model we selected).  Options in storm doors have changed quite a bit since we had last installed one many years ago.  The door we selected is a "self-storing" door, which means that the glass does not need to be removed in order to open the door's window.  You just use a lever at the top of the window to move the glass down, and at the same time the retractable screen rolls down into place.  Quite a handy invention.  

The door is your typical sturdy aluminum frame with multiple color options.  As you can see, we chose one that is painted white to go with our house trim.  Since our house has southern exposure, the front of the house gets warm from the sun during the day. We chose a storm door with plenty of glass window so that we could leave the front door open and warm the house with the sun that streams through the storm door's windows.  The solar gain is amazing in the winter; we can turn off the heat in those parts of the house that are nearest to the storm door.  The door has a deadbolt lock so we can feel comfortable having the front door open during the day with the storm door locked.

Of course, installing a new storm door was not quite as easy as the product claims.  The two hours required stretched to five hours for us.  It involved multiple squabbles and a good amount of head-scratching as we tried to understand the many pages of step-by-step instructions.  Not all the tools required were provided, but luckily we had a hole saw, drill and other tools to get the job done.  

After the door was installed, we realized we ended up with a number of spare parts.  We also determined at one point that the new storm door didn't align perfectly within the door frame.  But then, what does align well in an 80-year-old house? Unable to see how to fix the issue we continued forward, and once the installation was completed you couldn't tell.  

Stepping back to admire our handiwork, we were quite pleased overall with the finished installation and are grateful to have a new, secure door that keeps the dog contained and doesn't slam loudly enough to wake the dead whenever it's used.  Our confused dog Mojo, however, is still smashing her nose into it whenever she wants to go outside.