DIY Screen Door FAIL!

I am keeping it real with you today!  When you DIY as much as Ed and I do you are bound to run into a total FAILed project every once in awhile and one of these failures happened to us last summer. It was not so much a fail, but more a funny situation that we did not foresee.

We just remedied the FAIL to a WIN last night and I could not be happier!!!

Installing a retractable screen door

It all started with this door that leads out to the garage. I like it open in the nice weather to let a cross breeze into the house.

How to install a retractable screen door

So last summer we bought a wooden screen door. I went through the steps of removing the screening on the door so I could paint it white, then put the screen back in. We bought all the hardware to hang it and hung the door in front of this wood door successfully. I was happy.  I finally had a screen door to go with the white painted walls in my garage.

So why don’t you see it in front of the door in the photo above?

How to install a Brisa retractable screen door

The overhead garage door track is why!

After we had the door installed successfully and swung it open for the first time, it only opened about 20 inches and stopped.  At first we thought we hung it wrong, but then we realized the track that allows the garage door to raise and lower was in the way.

Good grief!… and a few expletives came out of our mouths. At first we were in shock and then we both looked at each other and laughed that we did not foresee this outcome….at all.  Clueless!   Neither of us had even thought about the overhead track impeding the swing of the door.

Normally when we run into a problem or a snag with a project, we can figure out a way to fix it. There was no fix for this unless we removed the garage door which was not going to happen.

How to install a screen door

So off the new, pretty, white screen door went and it has been leaning here ever since.

Fast forward to two weeks ago when I had to go to the Pella Window store to get a replacement crank for a casement window. While I was there I asked the sales guy how much it would cost to replace sliding glass doors that we have in the kitchen and living room. (A someday in the future project.) He took me to a door display and showed me one with a retractable screen door. I loved it, but not the price tag.

As I drove home I could not get the idea of having a retractable screen on the sliders that look out to the lake, so when I got home, I went online and started researching retractable screen doors. Some were nothing but a drape made of screening material which I didn’t want.  Others were made of wood, but cost too much. Then I came upon a Brisa Retractable Screen Door on the Home Depot website. I read through the listing and then headed over to the Brisa website. I forgot all about the sliding doors… this was the answer to our garage screen door failure.

Brisa Retractable Screen Door

I ordered the retractable screen door and it arrived a few days later,

Brisa retractable screen door that you can install in 30 minutes.

This is not a sponsored post. This retractable screen door is ingenious and very well made, plus it is… no pun intended... a breeze to install.

The retractable screen doors come in different sizes.  The size I bought will fit a door opening between 32″ – 36″ with no modifications needed.

Brisa retractable screen door modification

But if you have a smaller opening, like we did, all that is needed is two simple cuts on the track sections with a hack saw.

How to put together a Brisa Retractable Screen Door

Once we had the top and bottom tracks cut to 30″ long, we assembled the door. It consists of 5 parts that pretty much snap together.

How to install a retractable screen door

Once the door parts are snapped together, you simply place it on the outside of the door frame and screw it into the frame with screws that come with the door.

Brisa retractable screen door installation tutorial

Along the bottom track there are two grey plastic pieces (one for each side of the door frame) that you can cut with a craft knife or scissors to custom fit to your door frame.

Brisa Retractable screen door installed

The directions that come in the box and the Brisa website installation video show every step and just how easy the screen door is to install. 30 minutes and we were done.

To open the retractable screen door you simply press on the grey lever that is both on the inside and outside of the door. You can lock the door from the inside.

The screen is pretty much invisible so there two areas of double stripes on the mid-bottom and top of the screen so you don’t walk through it. If you look closely at the screen in the photo above you can see the stripes.

Note: Two other modifications may need to be made depending your door frame. We didn’t need to do these. One is you may need to add a wood sill under the door frame if your sill is short and the other modification is switching the way the handle faces on the door. Both are very easy to do and are shown step-by-step in the directions.

How transparent is the scree on a Brisa Retractable screen door?

So now the cross breeze can blow in without any bugs or birds flying in along with it. Having a screen door also brightens “The Hallway of Darkness”.    :-)

It only took a year, but this screen door fix is better than the original wood screen door. It costs a little more. I paid $180 for the door with free shipping.  So worth it and I didn’t even have to paint it white. YAY!  I am one happy retractable screen door owner!

Wooden screen door from Lowes

Any one need a 30″ wide, white wooden screen door complete with all the parts to hang it?  Come and get it, it is yours!

How to install a Brisa Retractable Screen door in 30 minutes. DIY home improvement projects. Screen door options for exterior doors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I was wondering what you thought about painting a stencil on the screen? We just had one put on the deck and I’m afraid people will walk thru it! Lol

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sheree –

      We love this door. Putting a stencil on the door was something I had planned to do and never got around to. After awhile we have gotten used to it. It is just my husband and I. If my kids were still living at home, I think I would have stenciled a design on it. I was thinking a H for our last name and the fact that the letter would look the same from both inside and outside the door. :-)

  2. Lisa G Wilcox says:

    This is awesome! I’m considering this for my front door!

  3. A retractable screen door is fitted on the highest or on the facet of the door which already exists keeping the requirements of the user in mind.

  4. Simply genius! And it looks good too :-)

  5. This is exactly what we need on our mudroom door. We had a screen many years ago and that just wasn’t the answer. I will be checking this brand out, nice to read the recommendation, thanks.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Bliss – It has been about 2 weeks since we hung the door and we LOVE it. I wish I had know about it sooner. There are a few different brands on the market, some like Phantom Screens are not DIY, though. The Brisa is a DIYers dream door. :-) The lines in the screen do help you see it, but Ed suggested that I stencil something across the screen just to make sure that everyone realizes that there is a screen in place and does not walk through it when they are not paying attention. :-)

  6. Glad you found a solution. May I ask where you purchased the original screen door? We’re looking for some like that for our Northern Wisconsin lakehouse. Alas, our larger dogs would go right through the retractable screen, trying to get at a chipmunk.

    PS: Your loons are now in Northern Wisconsin. ;o)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi SaraJane – I bought the door at Lowes. It is wood and already had screening in it. It comes in a few different widths and styles, too. I to painted it white.

      I miss the Loons. They are so much fun to watch. :-)

  7. Thank you for this post! I too have been researching retractable doors & was hesitant to make the purchase. It felt like such a gamble – would it perform as described?, would it really be easy to install? ect.

  8. Christine says:

    Hi Diane,
    The community we have our FL vacation home does not allow screen doors. We purchased the same door from Home Depot, except in the brown color. My husband installed it quickly and we love it!!!! I like the thin stripes at the top and bottom, however, I’m trying to come up with something flexible to install mid-screen. I’m 5’2″. I’m thinking of purchasing white yarn and “hand sewing” a star design mid-screen. Any suggestions on your end?

  9. mary heicher says:

    So glad it worked out so well in the end :)

  10. My mom lives in a senior facility with balconies that have glass doors but no screen doors. One lady had a retractable screen like this but it was $400 and had to be installed by Lowe’s. I’ll let her know about this so she can alert folks to a more affordable option (the facility will install things for residents). Thanks!

  11. Hi Diane,

    Love your blog! I’ve been following for many years. ?

    Just fyi…these doors work great in the interior too. We had one on our daughter’s bedroom to keep our cat out for a few reasons: She is allergic to cats (minor allergy discovered years into pet ownership) and to avoid the cat attacking her Guinea pigs which had an open-topped cage.

  12. Hi Diane,
    This post is terrific. The screen door is amazing and will let the good old South Carolina breeze flow straight through the house. Enjoy! Susie form The Chelsea Project

  13. Fantastic! I think you found the perfect solution…and it looks great too! ;)

  14. I just love this kind of door- pure genius! Question- doesn’t your HOA require that the garage vehicle door be kept shut?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Bettsi – I don’t live in an HOA neighborhood. We can do whatever we want to our house. :-)

    2. Wow. Now that’s a strict HOA. I think probably more dictatorship than HOA. My HOA is looking better after reading your comment. :)

  15. Ingenious. I did not know these existed. We will likely be getting one!

  16. Thank you! I looked at retractable screen doors for our double doors onto our deck many years ago. The price was out of our reach. This would be a great and less expensive option for our house.

  17. We added one of these to our back door when we built our deck, specifically so our wheelchair-user daughter could access the deck more easily—works well!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Debbie – This is good to know. Another reader asked about wheelchair access.

  18. Great idea! My daughter actually just purchased one from Costco, which is her cross breeze dream come true :) Loving your lake house adventures…have a great summer!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Michelle – My daughter just bought a house and will be moving in June. She wants one of these doors. I will take a look at Costco and compare. :-) Enjoy your summer too. I can’t believe it is here.

      1. I remember that screen door fail. :-) I guessed you’d find a solution – you always do.

        Almost all houses had screen doors (because few had A/C) when I was a child, and I’ve especially missed having one when the grandchildren come because they have a hard time with the heavier doors and wind up leaving them “almost” closed (at best) when they come and go. :-) I’ve also stumbled across the Brisa doors online too, so I’m glad to know they are good. They would be perfect for the doors to my deck. And a breeze on those less than blistering days would be great.

        I don’t know if the Brisa doors are just a seasonal item at Costco, but those come and go quickly. I’m going to check them out there too.

  19. I had one of these and loved it. However, my cats quickly learned to “punch” it and spring it open. Mine did not have lock.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Deb – Those 4 legged fur babies… they are pretty smart. :-)

  20. Theresa Stewart says:

    Love these screen doors! LoL please tell me the ‘Stang is your not Ed’s.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Theresa – The ‘Stang is Ed’s and that is exactly what we call it. :-) I have a Mini Cooper.

  21. Hilarious. I love when DIY’s go wrong and you have to improvise. I’d say it happens to me on a weekly baisis. Lol. Love your blog. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Melissa – All we could do was laugh. :-) DIYing is fun, but things do go south sometimes. The wood screen door is going to go to a local family shelter, so that is a good thing. Thanks for reading.

  22. Gail Vernali says:

    Wow that’s awesome and your problem is solved! We just put a screen door on our garage entryway or I would have taken your finished screen door! Looks great and so do you !

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Gail – Well if you need another door, you know where to find it. :-) Actually my neighbor is a volunteer of a local group that sets up homes and shelters for ones in need. That is where the door is probably going to go.

  23. This is an awesome fix! Do you think this would work for a door that is accessed for someone in a wheelchair? We have been desperately trying to find a screen that would allow my sister to exit the door, but also keep the bugs out when it is left open.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Deborah – Another reader named Debbie, also left a comment that she bought the door just for her daughter who has a wheelchair. She said it works well. So I think the answer is Yes it will work for someone in a wheelchair.

      1. Thanks! I think we are going to give it a try.

  24. Linda Weeks says:

    Ooh! A doggie could put the kabosh on that, I’d think. I am so glad that you posted this, I am going to look at the possibility of putting one on our front door! I would so love to be able to leave that open to enjoy the breeze! ( I only have one little cat, with no claws)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda – Sad that I no longer have any pets, but I don’t miss the messes they can make. I don’t think a cat with no claws could rip it. They may find it nice to lay by if the sun comes in an creates a sunny spot for them to birdwatch. :-)

  25. Yeah, Diana! I love it when a problem comes with a pretty easy solution. I have a client with one of these and i’ve admired it! It can be kind of hard to close (his is probably about 4 years old) sometimes, but the ability to have a screen door is worth it in my eyes! I wonder how it would hold up to my 12 lb. Shih Tzu pawing on it to come in???

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mary – My Shih Tzu, Schnitzel (no longer living) used to paw on the screen doors in my previous house. He never ripped them, but he did make impressions in the wire screen. The retractable screen is softer and would move with the pawing. I am not sure if it would rip or not. If it was very strong pawing, it may. :-(