I replaced a dozen storm doors this year, and the best by far is the Andersen 4000 Fullview series, priced at $279 – $319.00 at Home Depot. Construction is similar to the less expensive 3000 series, but the unique mechanism for switching screen and glass panels in the 4000 models makes it worth the difference in price.
Lower end units use thumb screws to hold the panels in place, which worked but is unsightly. Andersen answered this in the 2000 and 3000 series by using plastic strips that snap in place around the panels. These strips are hard to get in without a hammer and block, and even more difficult to remove without breaking them. Most homeowners never switch the glass and screen panels because of this difficulty. Not so with the 4000 series.
The 4000 series storm doors have mechanical locking tabs hidden in the door frame that are operated by the handle. Simply push the safety button up, allowing the handle to be raised to a vertical position. This disengages the tabs, and the glass or screen panel comes out by simply leaning it toward you. Put the other panel in place, and turn the handle back down to its normal position. You’re done– it takes less than a minute.
Both the 3000 and 4000 series storm doors are thicker with a solid feeling, and have redundant weatherstripping that makes them airtight when installed properly. Be sure to read and follow all instructions. The frame legs and door edge cover will have to be cut to fit your door opening. Installation takes approximately 3 hours.
*Update: The series now comes pre-hung, cutting the installation time in half.
If you are removing an older door, this is a good time to repaint the exterior door casings before installing the new storm door, especially since the aluminum frames on these units are about 1/4″ narrower than older models, and old paint lines will show.