How to Fix a Sliding Screen Door that Sticks

How to Fix a Sliding Screen Door that Sticks

Most of us at some time or another, have experienced a screen door that is sticking. An ideally operating screen door should function easily, with a smooth gliding motion, allowing you to open and close it with one hand. You shouldn’t have to use any force. If your screen door is sticking, it’s probably more than just inconvenient – maybe some parts or materials have worn out or broken. If you have to continue to use force to operate the door, then chances are something will break anyway, and you’ll have to replace it. Learning how to fix a sliding screen door will save you unnecessary expense. 

First, pay attention to whether your screen door is making any unusual sounds. Is it just the sounds, or is it also difficult to move? If it is one, or the other, or both, you may benefit from the following tips and techniques.

  1. Check the track to see that it is clean. This I one of the most common issues with a sliding screen door – dirty track. Over time, that’s where dust, pet hair, and other small debris can accumulate, make the door stick, and hard to move. Vacuum the track using the crevice tool, and scrub gently to remove any dirt that is caked on. 
  1. Your sliding door will have a lightweight metal frame, which can bend or warp with a lot of use. If you want to check whether the door is bowed, you will have to remove it from the track. To do this the right way:
  • Grip the door from both sides, and gently lift up to engage the spring assembly;
  • When the wheels are clear off the track, pull the door toward you, then downward, until it is free from the frame;
  • Lay the door on a flat and level surface, then check if any of the corners are lifted;
  • If there is any bowing, gently bend the frame in the opposite direction until it lays flat;
  1. The tension on the door may need to be adjusted. Use the adjustment screws near the wheels, either on the top or the bottom of the door, to adjust the tension. Turn the screw clockwise half a turn, to raise the door, or counterclockwise to lower it. Then test the door to see if it stops sticking. 
  1. If the wheels are broken, or the spring-load needs to be replaced, you will need to remove the door. Use the method described above to remove it. To remove wheels, use a screwdriver to pry them out, and take them with you when you go to the hardware store, so you know you’re getting the exact replacements. 

If the problem is the spring-load, you will need a workable replacement part. If you have the parts, you may be able to drill the rivets out, and then rivet in a replacement. 

A sliding screen door that won’t shut all the way, doesn’t do anything to keep insects, dust, and debris out. With a few simple tweaks, you should be able to keep your door in good shape for years to come. 

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