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Old 08-19-2010, 12:58 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: KS
Posts: 420
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Building Screen Door

I have an odd size opening for my 2nd floor deck door so instead of paying hundreds for a DYI kit, I'm building my door from scratch. I ordered 2x6 douglas fir stock from the local lumber yard and I'll rip it down for my needs, but I have a few questions....

1) What is going to be my strongest/best option for the joint between rails and styles? I have a biscuit cutter attachment for my router. I have a pocket screw jig. ....and I could cut a motise and tenon joint with my router. The door will be painted, so I can plug and hide the pocket screws. This sounds the easiest, but will it hold up outside? Everything would be glued as well.

2) Since the lumber will be 1-1/2" thick, I'll have to plain it down to size. I've noticed most of the better doors are 1-1/8" thick. Is that the thickness I should go with or should I maybe go with 1-1/4"? I'm guessing 1-1/2" would be too thick, but maybe not.

Thanks for any input.

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Old 08-20-2010, 09:17 PM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Western Masschusetts
Posts: 575

Building Screen Door

just to confirm: you're building just a screen door and not a regular solid door, right?

i wouldn't hesitate to recommend the mortise and tenon joint for rails/stiles.

for just a screen door maybe you could get away with pocket screws and butt joints.

all the screen doors i've ever seen are always so dinky and lightweight that, even installed correctly, they quickly settle/warp/twist, etc... such as to not properly open/close anymore. partly it's probably the cheesy cope/stick joints and finger jointed wood.

but my point is, don't intentionally make your stock thinner, unless you need to do it for the opening's sake.

i would glue the mortise and tenon, and also reinfornce with either dowels or screws.

good luck.

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Old 08-21-2010, 11:25 AM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: KS
Posts: 420

Building Screen Door

It is just a screen for a rarely used deck off my 2nd floor. I plan on doing 1-1/4" for the thickness with 2" stiles and 5-1/4" rails. At this point I'm leaning towards mortise and tenon joints and probably will dowel them as well. I agree everyone I've seen looks like crap after a year or two....hopefully, I can build myself a better one!
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