I have a difficult relationship with doors, and I’m not speaking metaphorically.
We’ve got pets (including one very old cat), heating vents that are only in the great room (living/dining/kitchen), and nieces and nephews that are at the age that they love to explore. Our house is also a berm-construction house, which means that the back rooms have really high humidity if the doors stay closed. These factors all combined means that we needed to keep doors open to keep our rooms warm, but it wasn’t exactly safe to do at all times.
For cats especially, but for a lot of pets and kids, baby gates aren’t exactly effective. After asking “gah, why can’t there be something like a screen door, but for the inside?” there was a “baskets!” moment of realization: there’s no big reason that screen doors wouldn’t work. In fact, they’re practically the perfect solution, with a few small considerations.
I’ve seen indoor screen doors used on kids’ rooms to provide a level of privacy while parents can still keep an ear on what’s going on in the room. They’re also great to keep air moving around a home that has high humidity, for letting light into otherwise dark rooms, or even as closet doors to “open up” the look of a small bedroom or pantry.
There are screen doors for almost all sizes of doors that you’ll find in a house available at most home-type stores. There’s also home recycler stores in most cities that sell used building supplies.
There are three big things to look at when you’re considering purchasing your screen door…
1. The hinges
Most indoor doors don’t have the space or setup for the extra set of hinges. So take a very close look at the frame around your door and see what space you have for hinges. If you don’t have much space, you may need to put smaller hinges on the screen door to make it all fit.
2. The doorknobs
Keep in mind that most doorknobs on your existing doors stick out into the space where your screen door will go. This leaves you two options: either plan on never having both the screen door and solid door closed at the same time, or get one of the screen doors that has a “slider” where the door handle will go.
3. The latches
Most indoor doors also do not have space for a true latch. If you do have space, you’ll likely have to carve out some of the doorframe. If you don’t have space in the doorframe, there are a few other solutions. Ours was to embed magnets in the wood of the screen door and glue washers to the door frame, which provides enough latch and resistance to dissuade cats.
You also have the option of making a screen door — in our house, we ended up gluing and screwing together four cupboard doors into one large “screen door”. Really any door shaped and sized piece of material can have hinges added to become a surprisingly functional design element in your house.
Anyone else discovered the “so wrong it’s right” mix-up of bringing the outside doors inside?