How to Fix a Sliding Screen Door That Sticks

sliding screen door

Doors that stick can be quite annoying and inconvenient. Screen doors that have to be jerked or wiggled in order to get them to open will wear out much more quickly. Sometimes parts will even break, requiring a replacement sooner than you expected. Fortunately, the situation can often be remedied before a replacement is necessary. Follow these tips to fix a sliding screen door that sticks.

  1. Give the track a good cleaning. Sliding door tracks are notorious for trapping dust, dirt, pet hair and other debris. Over time, this grimy buildup will cause the door to catch and skip on its track, so a clean track is essential to keep your door sliding smoothly. To clean the track, first use a crevice tool to vacuum out as much of the debris as you can. Then take a stiff-bristled brush and gently scrub off any stubborn caked-on material that remains. An old toothbrush is perfect for this task. 
  1. Check the tension. Many people don’t realize that the height can be adjusted on a sliding screen door. Watch the wheels closely as you open and close the door; if you notice breaks or spaces as the wheels rolls on the track, the height needs to be adjusted. This can be done by adjusting the screws, one for each wheel, located near the wheel assembly at the bottom or top of the door. A clockwise turn will lower the wheels, causing the door to become higher, while a counter-clockwise turn will do the opposite. It may take a few tries to get it right, but if the tension is the problem, once adjusted the door should start sliding easily again.
  1. Reshape the frame. Generally, sliding screen doors are made of a lightweight metal such as aluminum, and over time they can become bowed or bent. If you think this might be the problem, you must take the door out of its track to fix it. To remove, grasp the screen door on both sides and lift up, then out and down as the spring assembly engages and the wheels come clear of the track. Once out of the door frame, lay the screen door out on a flat surface so you can take a good look at the frame. If it appears warped, carefully bend the frame in the other direction until it lies flat, then fit it back into the door frame. 
  1. Install a new wheel assembly. To replace damaged wheels or a broken spring-load, you will need to remove the door from the door frame as described previously, then use a screwdriver to pop out the wheels. Be sure to take the wheels with you when you go the hardware store for replacements to make sure you purchase the right ones. New wheels can be installed in the same way you removed the old ones. If you have a spring-load version and are able to find replacements, remove the rivets using a grinder and drill, chisel and hammer, or rivet removal tool. Then you can rivet in the replacement.

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If you’re looking for an affordable handyman to fix your sliding screen door or work on some other household project, Handyman Connection can help you. By contacting us at 1-800-88-HANDY, we can advise you of all the home maintenance services we have available, then connect you with an experienced craftsman perfect for your needs. Give us a call today!

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