A door closer can help prevent screen doors from slamming shut, which is ideal if your hands are full as you enter or exit your home. So how can you install a screen door closer? We did the research to bring you the answer.
Door closer installations generally differ depending on the type of product. Pneumatic screen door closers will often require the following installation steps:
- Pull the closer’s rod until the hold-open clip is below the lugs.
- Drive the screws into the jamb bracket to secure it into the door jamb.
- Slide the closer’s nose into the bracket.
- Attach the bracket to the closer’s opposite end.
- Mark the location where the bracket will rest naturally.
- Unhook the bracket, then screw it onto the door.
- Reattach the closer to the bracket.
- Test the door closer.
As for a hydraulic door, here’s a quick preview of the installation steps:
- Line the included template to the door’s hinge line.
- Drill the screw holes.
- Make sure that the closer is level and at the correct position.
- Install the piston.
- Attach the arm.
- Fix the long arm of the closer on the door frame.
- Lock the arm and place the dust cap.
- Test the door closer.
It’s important to be careful during the screen door closer installations to help prevent costly mistakes. Continue reading as we tackle the details on how to install pneumatic and hydraulic screen door closers in greater detail. Without further ado, let's get into it.
What Is A Pneumatic Screen Door Closer?
As its name implies, a pneumatic screen door closer works by using compressed air to automate the closing of the door. The device produces a linear or rotary motion to compress air to close the screen door safely.
How To Install A Pneumatic Door Closer
Installation of a pneumatic screen door closer is a fairly easy DIY job that may only require about 10 minutes to complete. Take note that a typical pneumatic door closer should have the following parts:
- Door bracket
- Jamb bracket
After accounting for all the items needed for the installation, ensure that the hold-open washer rests on the closer's main barrel. If it doesn't, push this part down before proceeding with the steps below:
- Check to see if the hold-open clip is touching the closer’s barrel. If it’s not, pull the rod out gently using a screwdriver in the pin hole. Stop until the hold-open clip is below the lugs.
- Drive the screws into the jamb bracket and the jamb. Ensure that the screws are flush against the door. Additionally, if the door has less the 1-3/4-inch thickness, leave a ¼-inch space between the door and the jamb.
- Close the door, and slide the closer’s jamb-side nose into the bracket. Insert the pin to secure and hold the screen door closer in place.
- Attach the door-side bracket to the closer’s opposite end. Take note that different screen door closer models may have different ways to attach to door brackets. Check the owner’s manual or consult with the manufacturer if you’re unsure as to how your specific closer fastens to door brackets.
- Use a pencil or erasable marker to mark the location on the door where the bracket will rest naturally.
- Unhook the bracket from the closer before screwing the bracket to the door. Then, reattach the closer to the bracket.
- Move the hold-open washer to ensure it’s above the rod’s lugs.
- Test the door closer by opening and closing the doorway.
You can also watch the video below to help you install a pneumatic screen door closer:
What Is A Hydraulic Door Closer?
Unlike pneumatic screen door closers that use compressed air, hydraulic models use fluid to close doorways automatically. However, commercial establishments often use hydraulic door closers more than residences.
Therefore, hydraulic closers need to comply with the American Disabilities Act (ADA) which means the device should allow the doorway to provide a minimum clearance of 32 inches. This distance is sufficient to allow safe passage for a single wheelchair.
How Do You Install A Hydraulic Door Closer?
Many hydraulic door closer kits already have the necessary materials for a proper installation. Here are the items that should be included:
- Hydraulic door closer
- Hex bolts
- Lock washers
After checking if these materials are present, proceed to follow these steps for the installation:
- Follow the template that should come with the kit. Line the template up with the hinge line of the door and mark important areas, such as where to drill the screw holes.
- Drill the screw holes into the doorway. Make sure to use the appropriate drill bit, depending on the door's material. Use a 3.5 mm bit for drilling into wooden doors and a 5.1 mm bit with an M6 thread for metal doors.
- Hold the closer assembly by the marks to ensure that the device will be at the correct level and position upon installation.
- Install the piston, but make sure that the adjustment screws are on the same side as the door's hinges.
- Attach the arm to the center spindle on top of the piston. The longer side of the arm should be facing away from the door hinge.
- Place the long arm against the door's frame. Then, mark the areas that need drilling to secure the arm on the frame.
- Lock the arm and spindle by using the appropriate bolts and screws. Place the dust cap on the opposite side of the spindle to secure it.
- Test the hydraulic closer by opening and closing the door.
If you want a visual representation of the steps mentioned above, check out the video below:
Is A Hydraulic Screen Door Closer Better Than Pneumatic?
Hydraulic screen door closers can be better than pneumatic options in certain areas. However, not every hydraulic door closer on the market exceeds in performance and quality when compared to pneumatic variants.
For instance, hydraulic closers are usually better when installed on security doors since they often make little to no noise when opening and closing. On the other hand, pneumatic door closing systems can be a better option for buyers on a tight budget.
Many pneumatic door closers might also be easier to install than hydraulic ones.
Aside from using hydraulic or pneumatic door closers, you can also check out the following post to help prevent screen doors from smashing against their frames: How To Keep Your Screen Door From Slamming?
How Do You Fit A Screen Door Closer?
Here are the steps to help you fit a screen door closer:
- Mark the height and depth of the closer to the door’s hinge side.
- Drill a hole based on the depth indicated in the marked spot.
- Insert the door closer’s cylinder into the hole. Make sure that the part is flush against the door’s material.
- Remove the cylinder and chisel out the pencil line carefully.
- Reinsert the cylinder and test if the door will close properly. If not, remove the cylinder again and chisel out more of the marked area.
- Rotate the anchor plate with a pair of pliers.
- Position the cylinder to the door’s edge and drill pilot holes into the doorway.
- Take out the anchor plate carefully and reposition it using the holding clip.
- Extend the position of the plate using the chain slack.
- Remove the holding clip with the pliers.
Take note that fitting and installing a screen door closer properly might depend on the doorway’s location.
To find out if you can install a screen door inside your home so you can install an automatic closer correctly, read through this post: Can You Put A Screen Door On The Inside?
What Do S And L Mean On A Door Closer?
The S and L on a door closer signify the closing speed of adjustment valves. The "S" stands for the sweep speed valve adjustment, whereas the "L" specifies the door closer’s latch speed valve adjustment.
Take note that adjusting these valves only needs to be ¼ or 1/8 of a turn for each adjustment. Otherwise, making significant revolutions can result in unscrewing the valves, causing the closer to lose pressure.
Hydraulic and pneumatic screen door closers have different installation steps, as they are slightly different in form. Despite the differences, installing hydraulic and pneumatic door closers is reasonably easy and friendly for DIY beginners.