Do You Need To Install A Storm Door On Your House?
The other day a friend reached out to me to ask, “Do you need to have a storm door?”. As I talked with her about my personal thoughts on adding a storm door to a front entry door, I was reminded of the many times I have had the exact same conversation with our clients.
When I considered why that might be, it became clear that there seems to be a general lack of understanding about the purpose of storm doors. Those who like them tend to have very strong opinions about why they are an absolute necessity for every single home. We have even heard about storm doors from people coming through our open houses, usually saying things like “you forgot to install the storm door” as if it was an absolute requirement.
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I was curious what the statistics were on the amount of homes that have storm doors versus those who do not. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any “official” statistics so I decided to take things into my own hands and set up a poll online asking people if they did or did not have a storm door on their home. I also made it possible for them to leave a response about why they did or did not have a storm door, if they so desired.
I was actually surprised to see the final results showing that over 65% of the people polled did NOT have a storm door anywhere on their home, although some of the participants who did have storm doors had them on more than one of their exterior access doors. Of course the one thing that did come back as I expected based on past experiences were the written responses. In addition to answering the poll, over 50% of the participants also responded expressing their very strong opinions about whether or not people should have storm doors on their homes.
That said, instead of launching into my personal option on storm doors, I want to give you information about why you might, or might not, want one. Then you can decide for yourself if having a storm door on your home is necessary or not.
Let’s start with the basics…
What Is A Storm Door?
Storm doors are usually an aluminum mounting frame with an aluminum frame that has either glass, screens, or a combination of the two in the center panel of the door. There are many variations available on the size of the center lites, some are full view and others offer smaller windows depending on the purchaser’s preference.
Storm doors are mounted on the outside, or in front of, an exterior door. They are typically seen on front entry doors but can be installed on all access doors depending on their intended purpose.
Generally, they are seen on single doors, but there are also options for french door style storm doors as well.
Are Storm Doors Required By Building Code?
To put it simply - No, storm doors are not required to be installed on exterior doors according to the 2018 International Building Code.
Why Do People Choose To Install Storm Doors?
Even though they are not required, many people may choose to install them on one or more of their exterior access doors for a few different reasons:
Increased Air Flow -
When selecting a storm door with screens, the door can be closed and locked and the screen will still allow air flow throughout a home. This is especially nice in the summer and in homes without air conditioning.
A Buffer From The Elements -
Specifically when dealing with older entry doors, there can be issues with air and water penetration into the home from gaps or non-functioning seals around exterior doors. A storm door offers a second layer of protection between the interior and the outside elements.
A storm door can also protect the front door itself from exposure to the elements which can potentially mean extending the time between repainting or replacing the door.
Added Security -
For many people, having a second locking door between themselves and the outside allows them to have a feeling of added security. That said - If you are considering installing a storm door specifically for added security, we would encourage you to consider purchasing an actual security door. As a security door made of wrought iron is going to be a stronger option than a storm door.
Why Wouldn’t Someone Want To Install A Storm Door?
There are quite a few reasons why people choose not to install a storm door on their home as well:
Not Convenient or Cost-Effective -
Storm doors are one more door that has to be opened and closed every time someone goes in and out. This can be seen as a hassle for some people with many steps going up to their door, older people, people will small children or people with pets.
Cost always play a part in home updates as well. Buying a sort of “second door” for the exterior is just not in everyone’s budget! On top of the cost for the door, hiring someone to install a storm door can cost anywhere from $150-$350 or potentially more depending on how complicated the install could be.
Sometimes it is all about the curb appeal! Some people do not like the look of storm doors or do not feel they match the overall style of the home.
Even storm doors with large lites will still block out some portion of the front door itself. If someone does not want to impact the look of their front door, especially if it is a custom door, they may opt not to install a storm door.
More stuff = more work! Adding storm doors means more potential for problems. Storm doors are just another part of the home that will need maintenance and cost money to be repaired or replaced in the long-term.
Common maintenance problems people see with storm doors:
Needing to replace the door closer - Storm door closers wear out over time which means that the door may not stay closed and can swing open on it’s own or the door may slam shut repeatedly and be a danger or nuisance.
Door may need to be adjusted - Weather changes can affect the ability for the storm door to fully close or to latch properly which can mean having to adjust another door.
Damage to the door frame - To install a storm door, screws are put into the wood door frame around the existing exterior door. These holes made by the screws can become potential places where water can penetrate the wood and cause rot in the frame over time.
Although storm doors are often not necessary, and are not ever required by building code to be installed on exterior access doors, many people still select to have them on their homes. Whether or not a storm door is right for your home depends solely on your personal preference, how you use your space, and whether or not you feel it will be beneficial in the long term when factoring in the additional cost and maintenance.
I want to hear from you! Do you have a storm door or are you planning to get one? What would be your reasons for or against installing a storm door?