How to Repair a Sliding Patio Screen Door
The first sign of a patio screen door that needs repair is often improper rolling on the door track. A few simple steps can be taken to correct this problem. Another common repair need is screen material that has become worn or ripped. There are two different types of screening material: aluminum or fiberglass. Each of these needs special consideration if replacing screen material is part of this DIY repair project.
Step 1 - Remove the Door and Clean Tracks
Carefully remove the screen door by holding the door firmly on either side, lifting up, and tilting the bottom edge outward towards you. You may have to lift the small wheels out of the track to completely free the door; do this with your flat screwdriver, and be sure not to pry too hard. Otherwise, the wheels could become damaged.
Once you have successfully removed the screen door, clean out any debris from the track with your cleaning brush. Often, leaves, small rocks, and other obstructions build up in door tracks, and you may have to dig these out with the screwdriver. After all debris and dirt are removed, spray a small amount of silicone spray into the door track and go over it with your steel wool pad.
Step 2 - Remove and Clean Door Rollers
Use either your flat screwdriver or a small, finer-tipped tool called an awl to loosen the door rollers. If the door rollers are still in good condition but are not moving freely due to built-up dirt, cleaning them will correct this. Scrub away roller grime with a mixture of water and detergent; rinse and dry thoroughly before snapping the rollers back in place.
If the door rollers need to be replaced, take the damaged ones with you when shopping for replacements. Many sliding door manufacturers now use generic parts that fit with different brands of doors, but it is always a good idea to check for the correct roller match before purchasing. Slide the new rollers into the door track and snap them in place according to the included directions.
Step 3 - Repair Door Screen
If your door screen has holes or tears, there are a couple of repair possibilities based on the severity of the problem. Smaller holes less than 1/2 inch in diameter can be patched with a small amount of clear silicone caulking. Larger or numerous holes usually require you to replace the entire screen, which is actually not as difficult as it may first appear.
Step 4 - Finish Up
Before removing the old screen, you will need to remove the spline, which is a thin piece of flexible rubber tubing that locks the screen material against the frame. Carefully remove this by starting at one corner and pulling it upward. Be sure not to stretch or tear the spline; it can be reused unless it is excessively worn or brittle. Fit your new screen material over the door frame and pull it tightly on all sides. To press the screen into the frame groove, you will need a spline installation tool; this is a small tool with a convex roller at one end designed to press screening material into door frames. On the other end of the roller is a concave end; use this to press the new spline in place. Trim excess screen material from the edges before reinstalling your screen door.