One of the biggest problems with buying security screens and doors from places like Bunnings or online is that all these DIY places like to make it look easy. It is not easy. They may show you a video or two of how to install a hinged door or something similar. But these tend to leave out almost all of the difficult issues an installer is going to encounter on site. The variability when it comes to measuring and installing security doors and screens is huge.
It is not about the screen or security door itself that causes the variability issues. It is all the different windows and doors the screen or door is being installed to, and the different installation methods that can be used, that makes it so difficult. Even for the same type of window there are probably at least a dozen different types of installation methods that can be used depending on the brand of window. A dozen ways sounds like a lot but is rather conservative given the number of different window and door brands that have been installed over the last 100 years.
In addition to all the different window brands that have come and gone over the years, you have also to deal with the different styles of joinery. You would have to consider the number of various wooden joinery window and door manufacturers. Or the number of aluminium window and door manufacturers. Each one using their own extrusion profile which requires knowing how to measure and install the screen to that specific brand of window or door. Does that sound easy?
So, how does one learn about which way is the best way to measure and install to that particular type of window or door? Practice.
Most accomplished security screen and door dealers have installed thousands of security doors and insect doors over the years.
Lack of Skill
Most DIY screen and door buyers are completely unaware of the skills required to competently measure and install security screens and doors.
To put this in perspective – installing 1000 screens might get a trades person to a novice skill level. When you consider that a window and door trades person can easily measure and install 10 screens a day, 50 per week, or 2500 per year in his first year.
If you have installed 2500 screens and doors in your career, then you are no longer a DIY. But you can guarantee that a 2500 screen trades person is now aware enough of the pitfalls to start asking a lot of questions when they see something unfamiliar.
A DIY person’s lack of skill will only become evident when they attempt to install that screen or door they have ordered online, and then they find it doesn’t quite fit right.
It costs almost as much to DIY as it does to get a professional dealer to do it for you. Let’s examine a DIY Diamond Grille Triple-Lock screen door – Barrier grade.
Our Retail price for this door – fully installed – is approximately $500. Let’s bump it up to $525 for a super professional where their size accuracy is measured in millimetres and their installation prowess is clear. We went and looked at a few online screen sites. We could only find one site that sells an equivalent door. That site’s door was $478.37.
What? Only a $47 saving? Another retailer was $355.00 but that was for a single lock adjustable door. You can easily add $120 for a triple lock upgrade resulting in that door saving Mr. DIY $50.
It is easy to see why the cost savings are not there for the DIY buyer for comparable screens and security door products. When the amount of time it takes a qualified and experienced tradesperson to measure and install a security door is measured in minutes then the amount of money that tradesperson needs to include in that door is small relative to its cost. A good tradesperson only needs to charge $50 over the cost of a door to cover its measure, order and installation costs and he’ll make good money.
But $50 is a lot of money to me. I know how to do it. I can’t afford $525. Alrighty then! But remember, if you order that security door online for $478.37 and it doesn’t fit, then you will probably have to order another one that does.
Time? Why is time a problem? Simple. If you don’t have the skills, then it takes a DIY person much longer to achieve a substandard outcome compared to a skilled tradesman professional outcome being done in way less than half the time.
A single lock fly screen hinged door measured accurately to be installed to a rebated door jamb should take an experienced installer no more than 368 seconds to install.
We measure installation time in seconds because a good installer might take 350 seconds, an average installer 400 seconds and a poor installer 500 seconds.
A good installer will only bring onto site those hardware items and tools needed. No more, no less. They already have the hardware and required tools list in their head and the complete sequence they are going to use to install the fly screen door to this door jamb before they even start the job.
DIY cannot compete with that level of speed or competency
It is difficult for a DIY consumer to understand all the specifications required to order their item to be able to complete the job properly.
Even something as innocuous as colour presents a huge problem for many DIY consumers trying to match the screen’s frame colour to their window or door colour. Even professionals find this task difficult as there are many colours that look similar but are not.
Other specification issues, among many, when buying online can include lock height. How does that work? Where do I measure from? How accurate do my sizes have to be? Where do I measure to? And what does ‘lock side’ mean? It is the side where the hinges are or the other side where the handle is? Which side of the door do I look from? My door swings out, can the security door swing out too? (The answer to this question is no).
But these and thousands of other questions are what an experienced installer has already learnt the answer to and is on the lookout for. They know what specifications different items are available in and can advise the homeowner appropriately what will work and what won’t.
Buying security screens and doors online or from Bunnings is possible. We don’t recommend it though.
Save your DIY mojo for other much easier jobs. Use one of our qualified and professional dealers to do your screens for you instead – learn more here.