Storm doors, similar to storm windows, are meant to be installed on the exterior side of an exterior door to protect it allow the passage of air through the opening, protect it from the elements, and create an insulating air space. Storm doors are primarily geared towards living spaces and residential applications. The most common material available for storm door construction is wood, aluminum, plastic, and fiberglass:
Aluminum is arguably the most popular storm door material type currently. It has excellent resistance to corrosion and will not require frequent painting like wood or steel. Strength and cost increase as the thickness of various models increases.
Wood screen doors are typically 1″ or less thick and require painting/staining maintenance.
PVC and Fiberglass are also very corrosion resistant. Many PVC storm doors require additional steel frames within to provide adequate strength. New advances in technology and PVC mixtures have brought about increasingly stronger doors resistant to UV ray degradation, yellowing, peeling, cracking, expansion/contraction, and warping. PVC doors are welded at the corners which is extremely useful in keeping them from separating or falling out of square.
Just like with fiberglass storm windows, fiberglass storm doors are very strong and durable but they bring about additional cost.
There are 3 mains types of storm doors:
Retractable Screen(or Rollscreen) storm doors house a screen that can be rolled up into the frame of the door manually.
It’s a relatively new concept which is more or less a hybrid of the full view and ventilating storm doors. The screen is typically connected to the top window of the door and rolls out as the glass pane is moved downward. When the glass panels is moved back to the top position the screen rolls back up onto a tensioned dowel at the header of the door. This provides full view when screen is rolled up, and ventilating when screen is rolled down, also eliminating the need for storage parts.
Full View storm doors commonly have both an interchangeable full screen and glass panel.
Ventilating storm doors have a half or full screen that is typically fixed to the door with two glass panels as well. The glass panels can move up or down to expose the screen.
When a primary door adjacent to the storm door is a major visual piece, full view storm doors are typically used. Some storm doors may have the option for a lever/knob lock or deadbolt, to add an additional element of security. Standard stock sizes are commonly available and custom sizes can be ordered and obtained within a couple weeks. Storm doors typically have glass panels or sashes that can be interchanged with screens depending on users choice and season. Many storm door systems come with a mounting rail and hardware kit which is often proprietary. ALso a closer is typically installed at the base of the door, providing assistance to pull the door shut slowly and properly to engage the weatherstripping.