Storm door closers prevent storm doors and screen doors from swinging recklessly, or flying open in strong winds. This short article and video will show you how to install them in 15 minutes or less!
(The following content contains some affiliate links.)
The WRIGHT DOOR CLOSER has great reviews, and a great price!
TOUCH N’ HOLD has a good “step-lock” closer as well:
Storm Door Closer Installation Overview
Storm door closers play an essential role in protecting your home. Without them, storm doors and screen doors will inevitably fly open. Often, this damages porches, siding, exterior trim. Not to mention, the storm doors themselves!
For this reason, I strongly believe that every storm door and screen door should have at least one door closer installed. Of course, two closers is better! Fortunately, closers have become extremely affordable lately.
A couple of outstanding door closer manufacturers
Wright Products–and similar companies–offer light-to-medium duty door closers for $20 or less. These closers can be used singly for lighter doors, or in pairs for heavier doors.
Companies like Andersen and Emco offer higher quality closers that come with “step-on” locking mechanisms that replace the old tab-style lock.
In either case, colors tend to be variable, but installation is much the same. So, pick a closer that suits your budget and a color that will match or blend in with your door, and you’re ready to install!
Step 1: Determine Your Door Closer Location
Depending on what type of door closer you’re using, you can mount the door closer at either the top or bottom of the door.
Are you using a “step switch” closer (which you can lock by stepping on a button)? If so, mount the door closer at the bottom of the door. Or, are you’re using a single closer with a manual locking tab? If you are, you’re probably better off mounting at the top of the door for ease of access.
Do you need two closers?
Importantly, is your storm door is especially heavy? Even worse, do you live in a very windy area? If so, you should mount a door closer in both locations.
Double closers add an extra measure of security. They pretty much ensure that the door will never fly open wildly or close too hard. If you frequently feel the wind pulling your door open, or you hear it rattling and banging during storms, consider doubling up on closers.
Step 2: Mount Jamb Bracket
The “jamb bracket” for the door closer is a triangular component that anchors the closer to the house.
As its name implies, the jamb bracket mounts directly to the door jamb. That’s the flat face perpendicular to the door itself. Your doors hinges are screwed to the jamb. Its position determines the location and function of the entire door closer. Consequently, its very important to get it set in the right place.
Positioning the door closer is important
You may mount your door closer at the top or bottom of the door. In either case, always be sure to line up the jamb bracket with the center of the door rail. The rail is the piece of wood that runs horizontally at the top and bottom of the door. (The vertical pieces of the door are called “stiles”)
Set the jamb bracket 1/4″ back from the front edge of the jamb. That is, the edge closest to the storm door. Be sure that the rounded bulb at the end is pointing towards the door.
Mark, drill, and attach your door closer bracket
First, hold the bracket up at its ideal location. Next, use a pencil to draw circles in the screw holes. Now, set the bracket aside. That way, you can easily drill pilot holes at these pencil marks with an 1/8″ drill bit.
When the holes are drilled, just hold the bracket back in place and mount it by driving screws through the pilot holes. Pre-marking and pre-drilling make all of this much easier. Having both a drill and a driver helps, too! See the link above.
Step #3: Pin The Door Closer Assembly
With the jamb bracket in place, step inside the house and shut the door. Insert the flattened rod of the door closer arm into the slot on the jamb bracket.
A short pin that came with the assembly. Line up the holes on the jamb bracket and door closer rod. Insert that pin, from the top down, through these holes. After that, you can just let the door closer hang there. Be sure that the jamb bracket is firmly attached.
As a side note, some door closers come with little rubber bands that fit over the bottom of this pin. The rubber band will keep the pin from popping out. But, in most cases, gravity alone holds the pin in place.
Step #4: Pin And Position The Door Bracket
Pin the small, rectangular “door bracket” to the other end of the closer arm. Use the longer pin from the kit. The flat face of this bracket should directly touch the flat rail of the door.
Rotate the door closer arm upward until it is parallel with the jamb bracket. Have someone eye it from a distance to say when it looks level.
When the door closer is in the best position, draw pencil marks in the screw holes on the bracket. Swing the door closer out of the way and pre-drill at these pencil marks. Then, move the door closer back into place and attach the bracket to the door using two supplied screws.
(Note: Some door closers come with a temporary plastic spacer tab that locks onto the hydraulic rod to maintain a little tension on the closer during installation. These tabs can just be popped off at this point.)
Step #5: Adjust the Door Closer
Nearly all door closers have an adjustable “close rate”. That’s the speed at which they shut without human interference. Getting the close rate right is crucial to your storm door functioning properly.
To change your door’s close rate, just use a Phillips screwdriver to turn the little screw located at the end of the door closer arm. Clockwise turns usually increase tension; counter-clockwise turns back the tension off.
Test the closing speed few times
Test your door’s close rate by pushing it all the way open and letting it go. You want the door to swing to within several inches of shutting, pause there, then finish shutting gently on its own, fully latching into place. (Watch the video above for a good real-time example.)
Also remember that storm doors will often shut differently when your main door is closed. Air pressure trapped between the two will affect the close rate, so try to find a tension that works for both situations.
Storm Door Closer Installation Wrap-Up:
Well-installed storm door closers will typically just vanish into your door assembly. They sit out of the way at head-level or foot-level. Normally, their smooth functioning lets you forget all about them.
Do you have storm doors or screen doors on one or multiple entrances in your home? If so, I highly suggest adding a door closer on every door. It will save you money and hassle in the long run!
(Also, storm doors themselves are great energy savers. HUD offers some good pdfs on energy conservation here.)
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