Screen Door Vs. Storm Door: What Is The Major Difference?

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante

It is tempting for any homeowner to maximize sunlight and keep pests away. The two most common ways for a homeowner to allow natural light into the house are with screen doors and storm doors. So, let’s settle a common debate amongst homeowners: screen door vs. storm door.

Storm doors allow more light in and are typically more durable than screen doors. Screen doors help keep pests out, but they don’t offer as much visibility as a storm door does. However, storm doors cost an average of $550, whereas screen doors cost $300 or less in most cases.

Storm doors last much longer than screen doors because they are made of tempered glass. Retractable screen doors are a great option if you want the benefits of both a storm door and a screen door. Follow along as we explore the difference between screen doors and storm doors.

Screen Door vs. Storm Door

Screen doors and storm doors are both fixtures of modern homes. While they serve a similar purpose, they are unique in terms of function, construction, and appearance. Let’s take a look a the key differences between screen doors and storm doors.

Screen Door

A framed screen built to match your door; screen doors are a modern commodity since 1887. The main appeal of screen doors is that they help keep bugs out of your house. Another important factor of why screen doors are so popular is that they improve the airflow in your home.

You can simply open your door and leave your screen door shut and get the best of both worlds. This allows you to enjoy improved ventilation without worrying about bugs. However, screen doors aren’t known to be extremely durable, and small bugs can get through.

They are generally made of aluminum and mesh cloth which leaves them vulnerable to wear and tear. Environmental factors such as humidity and rain can cause a screen door to rust and weaken over time. However, screen doors are a great way to keep bugs out of the house while you enjoy the fresh air.

Storm Door

Storm doors are typically made of double-pane glass which is infinitely more durable than a screen door. The inclusion of glass gives homeowners an unobstructed view of the yard or deck. Storm doors allow you to see outside whether the weather is beautiful, or a storm is raging.

A storm door’s frame is durable and typically made of steel or aluminum. Most storm doors latch on their own which is helpful, especially if you have pets. You won’t have to worry about your pets or children getting out into the yard unsupervised with a storm door.

International Building Codes require storm doors to be made out of tempered glass. You can still break tempered glass, but it is made to break into pieces that are easier to clean up.

Types of Storm Doors

There are 3 main types of storm doors that each have their unique benefit. Full-length storm doors come to mind immediately for most homeowners, but that isn’t your only option. Let’s take a look at the types of storm doors.


High-view storm doors offer the most privacy of any type of storm door. Half of the door is made up of wood, vinyl, or aluminum, and the top half is made of tempered glass. This allows for more durability but still lets you see outside into your yard.

They look great whether you install a high-view storm door that leads to the front or back yard. Some high-view storm doors allow you to remove or lift the glass to allow the fresh air into your home. However, that may not be the best option if you have a serious bug problem, but it’s nice to have the option.


Mid-View storm doors consist of a wood or vinyl panel at the bottom and two panes of glass separated by a thin strip in the middle. Some homeowners even install a dog door in the bottom panel to allow easy access. You can still easily see outside with a mid-view storm door, and they barely limit your view.

Mid-view storm doors are the perfect option if want the durability of solid panels and the visibility of glass. Bugs will stay out of your house and you can allow natural light in with a mid-view storm door.

Full View

Full view storm doors are what most homeowners think of when they picture storm doors. They provide you with a full, unobstructed view out into your yard or deck. The top and bottom of the frame are made of aluminum or steel and the rest of it is made out of tempered glass.

One of the few downsides to full view storm doors is that you need to clean them regularly. It is easy for smudges to appear on a full view storm door. However, full view storm doors are the best option if you want to maximize natural light and keep bugs out of the house.

Are Screen Doors Outdated?

Screen doors are not outdated and countless manufacturers still produce them. Modern twists, such as partial screen doors, help keep screen doors varied and contemporary. Homeowners continue to implement rustic themes in modern homes, and screen doors are a great way to do that.

Modern screen doors have different appearances and frames, but you can still find traditional-looking doors. Storm doors are more modern in the sense that they were created more recently. However, screen doors have a nearly 200-year history that won’t likely stop anytime soon.

Is a Screen Door the Same Thing as a Screen Door?

Screen doors and storm doors are not the same thing but they serve the same purpose. Some manufacturers may refer to a screen door as a storm door, but that isn’t quite true. The term “storm door” wasn’t used until people began to produce glass doors.

Screen doors came first and date back to 1887 and some manufacturers refer to them as storm doors. It isn’t incorrect to refer to a screen door as a storm door. They function the same way and allow sunlight into your home.

However, you may confuse some homeowners if you refer to your screen door as a storm door. The distinction between the two helps you know what type of material you are talking about. Storm doors are made of tempered glass and screen doors are made of aluminum and mesh cloth.

Which is Better?

Storm doors are better if you want the most natural light that you can get. However, screen doors require less maintenance and are a great way to prevent pests from coming inside. Screen doors are also more affordable and rarely cost more than $300, but often cost less.

Storm doors are more expensive and cost an average of $550, but they can cost much more. Screen doors last for an average of 25 years, that is unless there is a dramatic event or severe weather. The cost of storm doors varies widely based on the material that you choose for the frame.

Storm doors last for 37 years on average because of the durable materials and construction. It is uncommon to need to replace a storm door before the 30-year mark unless something happens to the glass. Screen doors are more affordable, but storm doors have better visibility and typically last much longer.

Retractable Screen Door

Retractable screen doors are the best option for homeowners torn between screen doors and storm doors. Many homeowners install a retractable screen door over a sliding glass door or set of glass doors. This allows you to open the glass door completely without letting bugs into your home.

Retractable screen doors typically cost less than $200 and you can install one without professional help. They are more durable than standard screen doors due to limited sun exposure. You can simply retract the screen when you don’t need it to protect it and make it last longer.

Summing It Up

Storm doors are more durable than screen doors but they are much more expensive. A storm door can cost over $1,000, but you can expect to pay $550 on average. Screen doors are consistently cheaper and cost an average of $300, but are often much less.

Full view storm doors provide the most visibility, but they are high-maintenance due to smudges and pollen. Mid-view storm doors are a great option if you want to protect the glass from accidents, door slamming, and foot traffic. High-view storm doors have the least visibility but are durable because most of the door consists of solid frames.

Consider a retractable screen door if you want the benefits of both a storm door and screen door. You can slide a retractable screen door in front of a storm door which offers the benefits of both. Screen doors and storm doors are both modern commodities, but storm doors are simply more durable.

Related Guides

Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

More by Nick Durante