EMCO 100-Plus Storm Door Install Tips
Andersen has been in the door and window business for a long time and they've made their DIY installation process easy enough for those with basic skills, tools, and a willingness to study the instructions. Installing Andersen's EMCO 100-Series Plus storm door went smoothly even though we've never installed a storm door before. *Note - this isn't a tutorial about how to install a storm door - it's a few tips learned from our storm door installation.
Emco 100-Series Plus storm door:
Emco storm doors come in several models starting with the 100 Series. There are two models of the 100-Series storm doors, and the difference between the 100 and the 100-Plus storm doors is the installation process. The 100-Plus offers the 2-Hour Easy Install option while the 100 does not. There was a $30 price difference but since we hadn't installed a storm door before the extra cost seemed warranted, and since the 32" door (sort of) fit inside our Chevy Trax we didn't have to pay for delivery so we saved a bit of money there.
Most of the Emco storm doors are designed to be installed within standard entry doors that have brick molding. If you have an older entry door you'll need to find out if the storm door will fit within your door's trim, or if you need to do some kind of build out. We have a standard 32" pre-hung entry door with brick molding that's maybe eight years old, so the storm door fit without any issues and we didn't need the shims that came with the storm door package. We bought the storm door at Home Depot and the installation charge would have been $125, but the door guy at Home Depot said that the install cost included measuring your existing entry door to make sure the storm door would fit, and included delivery of the storm door, so if you can't fit the door into your vehicle and have to pay for delivery it might be worth another few dollars to have the door installed. Your Home Depot might have different policies.
Tools you'll need:
Most of the drilled holes required a 1/8" bit which is included in the package, but you'll need to supply a 3/32" drill bit for drilling the latch strike, and a 5/16" bit for the door handle. Both bits are normally part of any basic drill bit kit that most homeowners have on hand such as the DeWalt 14-Piece Titanium Drill Bit Set (Amazon) which will have all the drill bits you'll need for the install. In addition to Amazon, the drill bit set is also available at most hardware/big box stores for around $15-20. The other tools Emco recommends are: a drill, screwdrivers (flat, phillips), pencil, tape measure, pliers, scissors, center punch, hammer, gloves, and safety glasses. All the screws and hardware needed for the install are included in the door package. There's a fair amount of holes to drill and screws to install so don't forget to charge your cordless drill the night before. If you don't have a cordless drill, any decent drill like this Black and Decker will work just fine.
Tools you might not need:
The door sweep that came with the storm door was all one piece so it didn't require sliding the sweep into a channel and crimping the channel as shown in the Emco video (no need for pliers), and the sweep fit the length perfectly so it didn't need to be cut (no need for scissors). The instructions said to use a hammer and center punch to mark the holes for drilling the sweep, but I just marked the locations with a pencil then drilled the holes, so no hammer or center punch was needed. Your storm door might have different components.
In the instructional video they recommend placing the door on sawhorses to install the sweep and spacers, and while you can certainly drill the holes and install the sweep with the storm door on the floor, once that step is done you'll add the spacer clips to the door then lift the door into place in the opening. It's not that easy to cleanly lift the door from the floor in one smooth motion, and because the spacers are needed to align the storm door in the opening, they need to be kept in place when lifting the door. It's much, much easier to lift the door from a set of sawhorses. Obviously, if you have someone there to help you lift the door (I didn't) the sawhorses probably aren't necessary. We have a pair of old Stanley folding sawhorses and they've paid for themselves in terms of convenience and safety many times over. The ones we have don't seem to be available anymore, but these Worx folding sawhorses on Amazon don't look too bad, and they come with removable clamps. The image below shows our DeWalt Titanium drill bits (two sets, one unopened), and our Stanley folding sawhorses.
Emco storm door installation instructions:
The instructions are very detailed and Emco has divided the pieces and parts into small color-coded bags which correspond to each particular color-coded section of the instructions. Even so, it helped immensely to watch the 20-minute installation video on the Andersen website for clarification, and during the actual door install I kept the video running on the computer to double-check the steps. The Emco video installs a 400-Series storm door instead of a 100-Series Plus door, but the overall installation process was similar (except for the door handle) and helped to clarify some of the unfamiliar terminology.The image below shows the color-coded bags on the left and an inset of an instruction page on the right. The instruction page shown is referencing (top right) the hardware contents of the yellow bag.
Emco two-hour easy install:
Once underway, the actual storm door install took just over an hour - 30 minutes to install the door itself, and another 30+ minutes to install the door handle, door closure, and make final adjustments. That time frame doesn't include reading the instructions, getting familiar with the pieces and parts, watching the 20-minute Emco video, re-reading the instructions, re-watching the video, and setting up the workspace (sawhorses, drop cloth, dustpan and broom, etc). The total time invested was probably closer to four hours once we unloaded the storm door from the car.
Install tips for the Emco storm door handle:
The instructions tell you to check clearances so the storm door handle clears your entry door hardware, and this step is very important. They include a paper template and the instructions suggested measuring down 39.5" for the centerline of the template, but 39.5" would have interfered with our entry door deadbolt and the storm door wouldn't have been able to close. The measurement ended up being 42.5" from the top of the storm door to the centerline of the paper template instead of the 39.5" suggested measurement. The 42.5" measurement was determined simply by holding the latch plate in place on the jamb where it wouldn't interfere with the entry door hardware, marking the centerline of the latch plate, then measuring down from the top of the storm door to get the measurement. Your door measurements may be different.
Spend as much time as you need on this step because if you don't get it right and drill the three 5/16" holes into the storm door in the wrong place, there won't be any easy or aesthetically pleasing way to fix the mistake. *Note - we have a fairly new entry door and ended up needing both striker shims so don't throw away any unfamiliar pieces or parts.
Final tips for installing the Emco storm door:
- Don't throw anything away after unpacking the door. We initially thought the orange spacers were packing material to keep the door from sliding around in the shipping box, but they were an important component of the install.
- When cutting open the box, stay close to the dotted cutting line that's shown on the box. There's not a lot of room to play with and you might scratch the door with the knife.
- If the door has to be left outside and it might rain, the main instructions are under the door and not in a plastic bag so you might want to take them out of the box. Ditto for the small box that contains the hardware instructions.
- The instructions are based on the color-coded bags so don't open the bags until they're needed, or if you want to open them to become familiar with the hardware, at least put the parts in separate marked plastic containers.
- Just snug the door sweep screws - don't tighten them, especially the last screw on the hinge side. Once the storm door is in place you'll need to adjust the sweep using those screws and the thickness of your entry door might make it tough to get the screwdriver into the last hinge-side screw perfectly straight.
Andersen EMCO 2-Hour storm door installation video:
Here's the Andersen Emco 2-Hour Easy Install storm door installation video:
The install wasn't as bad as we thought it would be and the storm door makes a big difference by taking away the bare look of the entry door while also allowing us to keep the bugs at bay, as well as adding another small layer of energy efficiency. With just basic carpentry skills and the patience to read the instructions several times over, you shouldn't have any problems installing a storm door on your own.