DIY Custom Cedar Screen Doors

When I first bought my old 50’s-era home in 2015, I had a lot of grand plans for it. But like most DIYers, I’ve had a limited budget, and so projects have had to be prioritized. 

Fortunately, I recently had the opportunity to replace my old, ugly, torn up metal screen doors and build my own custom cedar screen doors. 

I’m super excited to be able to leave my front and back screen doors open, and let that Fall breeze waft through my home!

This project was very easy. All you need is some kind of table saw, a nail or staple gun, measuring tape or tools, a flat surface, pallet or wood for support, screening, CedarSafe planks, CedarSafe moulding, and patience! 

The finished, installed, custom cedar doors

Step 1: Measure & Frame

Step one is one of the most critical that you get right. Measure the opening for your screen door, and ensure that you’re new screen door is going to fit. 

Next, create the frame for the outside. You’ll need the top, middle, and bottom supports, as well as the sides. 

I like to use both wood glue and a nail gun, to ensure an extra secure door. 

Remember: You’re creating the outside frame, so you’ll want to put the side you’d like facing out, face down. 

Step 2: Add Supports

Begin to build the base that will be the support for your door. I used a combination of cedar wood and spare wood from pallets – this is a great way to recycle your old pallets and use them for something fun! 

Go through the same process as the previous step – measure, cut, and lay out the supporting frame for your door. 

As you can see in these pictures, I framed out where I wanted my screen to be installed. 

Step 3: Install Screen

Now for the screen part. 

I went out and purchased a heavy duty, fine mesh screening that came on a roll. I rolled out the screen, and cut it from the rest of the roll. 

Next, I stapled it into place. As you go along, pull tightly to remove gaps. This will create a tight, snug surface. 

I started by anchoring one of the sides, then began on the bottom, pulling the screen to fit snugly.

Finally, once your screen is secure all the way around, cut off any excess. 

Step 4: Measure & Install Planks

Once your screen is in place, measure out the boards you’d like to use for your door. I used a CedarSafe 35 sq foot pack, which comes in random lengths. 

I affixed the planks to the inside of my frame, with the smooth part facing outwards. Using the tongue & groove, I secured the planks from the top to the bottom, cutting them to length. 

Personally, I started from the screen going down, and then did the top. 

Optional 4.5: Install Doggy Door

I created a solid front door, but for the back door, I wanted to include a doggy door for my pups. 

I made sure that the doggy door would rest on the bottom pallet support beam, added a second support beam for the top of the door, and then measured out my planks to ensure that it would be held in place. 

For the sides of my doggy door, I used some of the smaller plank pieces that come in the random length box, cutting to size to ensure a smooth finish. 

Once all of your plank is installed, use heavy duty screws secure the door to the frame. 

Step 5: Moulding & Finishing Touches

Once the frame, screen, and exterior planks were all in place, I was ready to create the outside look. 

I used a base moulding for each section, but turned it different ways depending on its location. 

I used a piece for the very top, under the screen, and the bottom, which created a nice finishing look. 

Step 6: Stain or Finish

If you like the look of the doors, then skip this step! But, just as a warning, the color will fade with exposure to direct sunlight. 

The benefits of cedar, however, are totally worth it: 

  • Cedar naturally repels & resists moths, cockroaches, silverfish, and even certain types of other pests, such as fleas & ticks
  • Cedar is naturally mildew resistant, which is a great property for an exterior-facing screen door
  • Cedar looks and smells fantastic! 
  • CedarSafe only uses Green, All-natural products, and is made & manufactured in the USA – so you’re supporting local economies! 
For my doors, I decided to use a clear drying sealant – I just wanted to preserve the doors, and help them stand up to the large amounts of rain and direct sunlight they’ll be exposed to. I only sealed the outside, however – I want the inside to produce all those wonder Cedar qualities! 

Finally, install your finished doors. I added some cute metal door handles for the outside, and a closing spring and eye & hook latches to the inside.