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Installing a Storm Door Handle

Installing a Storm Door Handle

Installing a storm door handle is easy once you know how.  For this lesson we are going to discuss the installation of the classic hardware. 

For all practical reasons this can apply to the trigger, elegance, and the Italian handset’s (hole pattern has some variation for Italian).  We will assume this is a new door that does not have any holes drilled in it for the handle. 

Step 1: Locate handle height:

The handle can be located at any desired height on a storm door.  How high you want the handle can be based on the level you stand on to open door. 

Keep in mind that the level of the inner floor is probably higher then the exterior…you must compensate for this difference.  You may want to keep hardware close to the height of the inner door hardware for looks. 

It is not required, but most doors are.  Careful not to interfere with the operation of the inner door handle.

Step 2: Locate handle inset: 

The standard way to locate inset and marking holes for drilling is to use the template that comes in the handle kit.  Most of the time this method will work. 

The hole pattern is going to work all the time, but how near or far from the wood jamb may vary.  There has to be enough clearance so once the handle is secured on the door you can mount the striker or catch without interfering with inside handle. 

You can check the clearance by holding the inner black handle up to the door from the inside with the door closed.  If the tip of the handle is about 1/16th of an inch or less from touching the wood jamb it’s perfect. 

If its too far or touching jamb then move in or out until it is the correct distance, mark upper and lower holes with a pencil.  I also recommend putting a pencil mark around upper and lower inside corners of handle to assure exact location of handle after drilling.

Note: There are stricker shims if the jamb is too far in from the side rail of storm door.

Step 3: Drilling the holes:  

This step can be a little tricky…Don’t worry there’s a good amount of tolerance for inner holes being parallel with the outer ones.   In steps 1 & 2 you have located where you want the handle. 

Now using the two marks you made while holding up the black handle make the the third mark in the exact center of your two pencil marks.  If using the template to drill holes press firmly with pencil on the center of hole locations making sure a visible mark is on door. 

You may also etch the centers by carefully drilling through the template paper making a drill mark on the door (Do Not drill through door while holding template). 

At this point I recommend using a 1/8″ or 9/64″ drill bit to make a pilot hole in the inner 3 locations.  Then working from inside switch to the 5/16″(per instructions) or I prefer a 3/8″ drill bit (a little more forgiving). 

Open the door about half way and firmly holding the door from moving.  Drill the three inner holes, and then go back to the first hole, holding the drill as straight , level and parallel as you can drill through the outer portion of door rail. 

Keep the drill on high speed and press lightly when drilling to avoid binding.   Look through the holes and see if it looks parallel…if not…don’t worry about it now.    

Do the same procedure for the middle and last hole.  The middle hole is the most crucial as the shaft of the push button has to operate freely without binding.  

Note: How to adjust holes; perform this adjustment after Step 4 so outer handle can be fitted in holes to check adjustments. 

Working from outside put drill-bit through outside and inside holes and carefully ream out hole until it is parallel or until handle goes through all holes and center shaft operates freely. 

Remember there is a certain tolerance for these holes when reaming, keep size small enough that the handle will cover it. 

Step 4: Assemble outer handle: 

There’s only a couple pieces to assemble here.  Unwrap handle, push-button, shaft, spring and plastic hold-down. 

Place button through back of handle…it can only fit in one way (see photo).  Then put spring on shaft and insert as shown in photo.    Shaft will seat in the button like a puzzle piece. 

Place spring over shaft and seat around bottom round base.  Last, place the black plastic piece over shaft and two screw mounts and push firmly down on both ends of plastic until it is seated.  The piece may bow a little because it is tight this is normal. 

Step 5: Final assembly:

Place outer handle that was just assembled from the outside through the holes that were drilled.  It should slip in and pressing on button operate freely. 

Visually look at handle alignments to assure handle is straight and re-test push-button if handle is moved.  If required remove handle and do adjustments noted in step 3. 

Many times reaming can be done to center hole only and using 3/8″ drill-bit may eliminate the need to ream hole entirely. 


When all is aligned and operating freely, place outer handle through holes and at the same time place shaft into inner handle center and look through holes to visually see screw seats. 

Take machine head screws and fit through holes of inner handle trying to thread into seats.  This takes a little patients.  Don’t tighten the first screw until the second one is seated and threaded into seat. 

Then tighten screws making sure that inner handle lines up with upper and lower corner pencil marks you made in step 2.  If all is straight and level drill small 1/8″ or I like 7/64″ hole at base of outer handle where seat screw fits and carefully tighten.

Note: Putting a lubricant on threads of screw will insure a good tight fit without damaging screw. 

Your done and the storm door handle looks beautiful!!!  Good Job.

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