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How to Fix a Sliding Screen Door that Sticks

Although it serves an important function, your screen door should also be easy to operate, with a smooth gliding motion that allows you to open and close it with just one hand. A sticky screen door is more than just an inconvenience, however; over time parts and materials can break or wear down from the forcible operation, which can lead to a premature replacement.

Sliding Screen Door Repair

If your screen door is making unusual sounds or is difficult to move, you may benefit from the following tips and techniques:

1. Clean up the track.

One of the most common issues with sliding doors is a dirty track, where dust, pet hair, and other debris can accumulate over time. Vacuum this area using the crevice tool and scrubbing gently with a stiff brush to remove any caked-on material.

2. Straighten the frame.

The metal frame around a screen door is typically made from a lightweight material which can bend or warp with repeated use or contact. To check if the door is bowed you’ll need to remove it from the track:

  • Grip both sides of the door and lift-up gently to engage the spring assembly.
  • As the door rises and the wheels clear the track, pull the door toward you and downward until it is free from the frame.
  • Lay the door on a flat, level surface to see if any corners are lifted.
  • If bowing is detected gently bend the frame in the opposite direction until it lays flat and reinserts.
3. Adjust the tension.

Adjustment screws are located near the wheels on the top or bottom of the door, which release or create tension on the wheels effectively raising or lowering the door. Turn the screw clockwise half a turn to raise the door or counterclockwise to lower it and test the door to see if it resolves the problem.

4. Replace the wheels or spring load.

To replace broken wheels or the spring-load, you’ll need to remove the door using the method outlined above. To replace wheels, carefully remove the wheels from the top and bottom of the door using a screwdriver to pry them out and take them with you to your local home improvement or hardware store to purchase replacements. For the spring-load version, if you have a workable replacement part, you can sometimes carefully drill the rivets out and they rivet in a replacement. Clean out the tracks, insert the replacement parts, and reinstall the screen door.

How to Fix a Swinging Screen Door

A screen door that won’t close all the way does little to keep insects, dust, and debris out. Read on for tips on how to repair a screen door efficiently and effectively with just a few simple tools.

1. Locate the problem.

Determine exactly where the door is sticking before deciding on a remedy. If the edge of the door is hitting the frame try tightening the screws on the top, middle, or bottom hinge on both the door frame and the door, being careful not to over-tighten and strip the screws.

2. Remove excess material.

Remove the door from its hinges and use a wood plane to shave off thin layers of wood from the problem area until the desired thickness is achieved. Since this process is irreversible be careful not to remove too much material from the door.

3. Check the pneumatic closer.

This piece prevents the door from slamming shut and also contains a piece to lock the door in an open position. If this piece is malfunctioning, you will notice it does not pull the door completely closed and can even prevent the door from shutting all the way. These are easy to replace if needed.