I bought a storm door to for the front of my house, and realized too late that there's no inset in the front door frame to install one.

enter image description here

My options at this point appear to be to A) Forget it and return the door, or B) replace/modify the door frame. Replacing the door frame sounds like a moderate-level difficulty project, something I'd probably be more comfortable having a contractor do. I'm guessing this would cost a couple thousand dollars.

Am I understanding my situation properly? Are there any options I haven't considered?

  • 1
    I suspect the main problem will be that the storm door will hit on the main door's door knob/handle.
    – mike
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 6:24
  • 2
    There are "surface -mount " storm doors; I had a dying one on my back door and replaced it w/ a new one for proper insulation and slightly better security. I was able to do the upgrade one-man, though it would be easier with two. You _might _ need to install a dummy header, buy outside of that i don't see a problem in the photo ...?
    – keshlam
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 3:37
  • "I bought a[n inset] storm door"... FTS. "surface -mount" +1.
    – Mazura
    Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 19:59

4 Answers 4


You dont state what your problem is. You can install the door to the outside of the door frame. It looks like the top sticks out farther than the sides so you either have to add a board the thickness of the distance to the outside of the side frame. If you need more room for the frame flange at the top you can add a 1x2 board to the top of the door . With the thick door frame the bottom of the screen door may not hit something so you will have to look at that.

Installing a screen door is not an easy project even on a standard door. Especially the first time so if you're doubting yourself you might want to hire someone.

  • I've installed doors without any problem before. The problem is the lack of inset on the outside of the door frame. The interior door is mounted to an inset 36" wide. But there's no inset on the outside of the door frame, meaning there's nowhere wide enough to attach the storm door. The only thing that makes sense is to create an inset somehow. Commented Sep 23, 2013 at 19:47
  • If your saying the screen door is too wide then just get a 34" screen door. The manufacture will state a range of min-max rough opening for each sized door.
    – Justin K
    Commented Sep 23, 2013 at 20:05

Routing and a bit of chiseling at the corners and the bottoms of the 2 legs shouldn't be too expensive if hired.

Good time to buy and learn to use a router. The transom is a bit tight, so you might need a rabbet plane or a oscillating multitool. Just get a accurate drawing of what size rough opening the storm door wants.

Alternatively, you could attach to the face of your present molding (since it looks relatively flat) and then create 'inset' by adding the right thickness molding alongside the storm door, to hide its edges. You can rip it out of a stock molding. Since the clearance at the top is so tight, you won't even need miters


Your door appears to look just like mine. You need to build out both of the door posts, so they line up with the brick mold on the header. You need to find a piece of material to do this bearing in mind that it must support the weight of the storm door. (Mine was 2-1/8") Now measure the opening between the existing door posts. If your is like mine, then it's only 35" between the left and right posts, and you'll need 36" to hang your new storm door. So be mindful of this when you scab the new pieces on the door posts.


Shop around for a door that you like that comes with a free install. It may be a bit more then without an install at another store so consider the difference the actual install cost. Check for sales late spring early summer.

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