By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Nothing beats a screen door for keeping pesky bugs out and nice cool breezes coming in. Now, in addition to the traditional models that swing on hinges or slide in a track, there's a new type of screen door that retracts and blends with the door frame housing, providing a clear, unobstructed view. Think of a window shade on its side and you get the picture.
You'll find retractable screen door kits sold at home centers and online by typing "retractable screen door kit" in a search engine. They mount inside a doorframe with either a left- or right-hand operation. The components include the screen housing, a top and bottom track and sill plate, and two door pulls. The retractable screen doors come in several colors and sizes to fit most single, double and slider doors. For the unit to function properly, all corners of the door must be square or less than 1/4-inch out-of-square.
A handyman service will charge $220 to install a standard height retractable screen, which includes labor and material; but you can buy the unit for $145 and install it yourself, saving 34 percent.
Have an accurate sketch of your door with measurements of its width and height. You'll need an electric drill with bits, a Phillips screwdriver, hacksaw, file, carpenter's square and measuring tape. Since you're working at the top and bottom of the door, it's useful to have someone help you line up the tracks while you're installing them. Assuming the doorframe is square and free of hardware it'll take an hour or two to install the screen.
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That sums it up. Knowing the average cost to install a retractable screen lets you compare doing it yourself with what you can expect to pay a contractor. To customize the cost to where you live add your ZIP Code in the cost box.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020