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There’s nothing like throwing open your front door and letting in the fresh air. But that doesn’t mean you want creepy-crawlies or nosy neighbors coming in too!
That’s where a storm or screen door comes in. It lets the good things in and keeps the bad things out.
But how do you know if your home needs a storm door or screen door? Is there even a difference?
The truth is, not all doors are made equal.
From the outside, storm doors and screen doors may look the same, but there are differences in their construction that could affect the safety, appearance, and comfort of your home.
In this guide, we’ll give you the lowdown on storm and screen doors and what they can do for your home.
We’ll also compare them on security, longevity, weather protection, and price, and find out which comes out on top.
As a bonus, we’ll even look at combination doors and see if they give you the best of both worlds. Read to find out more? Let’s get started.
What is a Storm Door?
A storm door is an external door that protects your internal door from the elements. It’s available in aluminium, steel, wood, and fiberglass, and it can be customised with pet doors, locks, and retractable screens.
Storm doors also have glass panels that provide full-view, mid-view and high-view windows, depending on how much visibility and light you prefer. These panels can be double glazed or covered in a low-e coating, which control the amount of heat transferred through the windows. As a result, they can keep out extreme temperatures, wind, and moisture.
What is a Screen Door?
Screen doors are comprised of a flyscreen surrounded by a frame, just as the name suggests. They are installed outside an exterior access door and allow light, air, noise, and wind to enter the house.
Usually made from lightweight aluminium, fiberglass or wood, they are less sturdy than storm doors, but they still provide security and style to your home.
Why You Need a Storm or Screen Door
While you might think that a storm or screen door is an unnecessary expense, think again! Here are five ways that a storm or screen door can benefit your home:
- Enhances security to protect your family and valuables
- Keeps out extreme weather like heat, frost and snow
- Provides insulation that reduces heating and cooling costs
- Improves curb appeal
- Increases the value of your home
Which is Better: A Storm Door or Screen Door?
We know that storm and screen doors are designed to provide light, ventilation, and security to your home. But there are fundamental differences between the two that can determine whether you buy one or the other. Let’s examine them across six performance categories and see how they compare.
Most storm doors are made of sturdy materials like steel and double-glazed glass. Some even have steel or aluminum inserts that reinforce them further. And since there’s no flyscreen, you’ve got more hard space to install grilles and multi-point locking systems, making them resilient and intruder-proof.
Screen doors, on the other hand, provide only minimum security. This might be adequate if you live in a safe area or in the country, but they won’t protect you elsewhere. Screens, particularly if they’re inexpensive, can be easily cut or slipped out of their casings, making it easy for intruders to break into your house – even while you’re home.
Some high-end screen doors can be made from steel and reinforced mesh, which improves their security, but your average screen door – which most people buy – won’t be.
When it comes to protecting your family, home, and valuables, there’s no doubt that storm doors come out on top due to their tough exterior, reinforced glass, and premium locking systems. However, if you buy a steel screen door with reinforced mesh, you can get the same level of security as a storm door.
According to manufacturers, screen and storm doors should last decades – if they’re looked after properly! But environmental factors may affect their longevity. For instance, sun, rain, and snow may cause these doors to discolor or deteriorate.
However, if you have a storm door made from sturdy materials like steel and aluminium, these effects won’t be visible for a long time, if at all. If you can, try to avoid PVC or fiberglass doors. While they’re popular with homeowners, PVC can be prone to toxic emissions when exposed to heat and fiberglass can become brittle when exposed to UV light, so choose carefully.
By comparison, Screen doors are not as strong, which means they can warp and fade if they’re made from aluminium, vinyl or low-quality mesh. Wear and tear, particularly from children who slam doors and poke their fingers through the mesh, may also result in weak hinges and holes in the screen.
When you compare the two, it’s clear that storm doors are built to last, particularly if they’re made from steel or heavy-duty aluminium, while screen doors are weaker and may need to be replaced regularly. As a result, storm doors are the clear winner in this category.
Front Door Protection
Because storm doors are usually made from weather-proof materials, you don’t have to worry about your front door getting damaged. Whether it’s raining or snowing, you can rest assured that it’ll remain protected from the elements.
When you look at screen doors, the mesh provides little protection. In fact, if you have a wooden front door that’s exposed to rain, it can swell and make it difficult to open and close. What’s more, if you leave your front door open, with only the screen door to protect you, carpets, floorboards, and nearby furniture could get water damaged – particularly if you don’t have a canopy over your entrance.
When you look at the protection each door provides, it’s clear that a storm door leads the race with its barrier design. However, if you have a patio or a front door that’s sheltered, it may be not offer you any additional protection. In that case, a screen door may be a more appropriate choice.
Extreme Weather Protection
It doesn’t matter where you live, storm doors can stand up to heat waves, snow, rain or ice. But even if you don’t experience extreme weather conditions, you can still enjoy the sunlight without letting exhaust fumes, wind or insects into your home.
Unlike storm doors, screen doors only have a mesh exterior, which can allow rain, wind, and allergens inside, particularly if you leave your inside door open. If you know bad weather is coming, you’ll need to close your front door to protect your family and possessions, and instead of two insulating doors, you’ll only have one.
As you can see, storm doors are clearly the best option if experience harsh summers and cold winters. But if you live in a temperate climate and your front door is undercover, you may not need this level of protection. In that case, a screen door may be a better option for your home.
Because of their insulating layers, storm doors seal out the cold and heat, which means you can control the temperature of your home more effectively. In fact, your air conditioners won’t have to work as hard. Why? Because you’ve got a sturdy barrier working hard to stabilise atmospheric conditions!
On the other hand, screen doors allow outside conditions to enter your home, thereby reducing or elevating the temperature inside. This may be fine if you want a cool breeze in spring, but it may not be desirable if there’s an arctic gale blowing. This means you’ll have to close your front door to stabilise the temperature, or even ramp up the air-conditioning to compensate for the seepage.
As a result, storm doors are the winner when it comes to energy efficiency. While the purchase cost may be a little high, you’ll save thousands in air-conditioner running costs further down the track.
Due to their resilience, storm doors can be expensive. Depending on what they’re made of, how large they are (single or double) and whether they have high-view or full-view doors, they can range from $150 to $1000.
Screen doors cost far less because their materials aren’t as rugged and most of the door is made of inexpensive mesh. However, prices can vary depending on whether they’re made of wood or aluminium, or whether their mesh is reinforced or not. As a result, prices can start at $50 and go right up to $300.
If you’re on a tight budget, screen doors are the best option in this category, but be aware that you won’t have extreme weather protection. Of course, this might not be an issue if you live in a warm climate or you’ve got a generous patio.
Storm door prices will depend on size, material, and glass coverage, but you could probably get a low- or mid-range storm door at the same price as a high-end screen door. This would give you the protection you need at an affordable price.
What About Combination Doors?
If you want airflow in summer and protection from snow in winter, you can always get a storm door with a retractable or removable screen. A common complaint about storm doors is that they lack ventilation, but a combination door gives you the best of both worlds! If your budget allows, choose a retractable option so you don’t have to remove and store the glass panel whenever the temperature drops or spikes!
After weighing up the pros and cons, it’s clear that storm doors – even at the lower end of the scale – provide more security, energy efficiency, and protection from the elements.
If these qualities are a priority for you, then storm doors are the best option for your home. While they can be twice the price of screen doors, they provide long-lasting comfort and save you money in the long run.
For added flexibility, you might want to consider a combination storm door with a removable or retractable screen. Not only will you have the added strength and security you desire, but you’ll also be able to ventilate your home and enjoy the sweet scent of jasmine at the start of spring!
On the other hand, if you live in a warm climate and your front door is adequately sheltered, you may not need a storm door. Instead, a screen door will allow the free flow of air and provide the security, style, and protection you need.
I hope this article helped you make the right choice for your home. For more household hacks and buying tips, check out our articles below.
Have a great day!