Repairing A Screen Door
A patio door is a great way to bring the spaciousness of the outdoors into your home. And with its sliding screen, you can enjoy fresh air without inviting in a variety of airborne pests. As for routine maintenance, there’s little more to do than keep the track and rollers clean. That is, until someone accidentally tears the screen. Most modern screen doors consist of a lightweight aluminum frame across which fiberglass screening material is stretched. While fiberglass is an economical choice, it doesn’t take much to punch a hole in it. The good news is that a damaged screen is easy to replace and you’ll find all the materials you need at your local hardware store.
Before your shopping trip, slide the door back and forth and check for broken parts. If the door doesn’t slide easily, vacuum all dirt from the track and try again. If it’s still sticky, add new rollers to your shopping list. To remove the door from the frame, simply lift it up and pull the bottom edge away from the track
REMOVING THE SCREEN: A sliding screen is supported on rollers that ride in a track. Lift it until the rollers clear the track. Then, pull the bottom out and lower the door until it clears the top edge of the frame.
WHAT TO BUY
While almost all home centers and most hardware stores stock rescreening supplies and universal door hardware, doors from some larger manufacturers may require specific replacement parts. Anderson, for example, sells replacement hardware for its doors at The Home Depot. However, if your door is from a smaller, regional company, generic parts will most likely work. If you’re replacing your door’s rollers, bring an original along so that you can find the right match.
Buy enough screen to overlap the doorframe by about 2 in. on each edge. You’ll also need a new spline (which holds the screen in its groove) if the existing one is brittle or breaks, and a spline-installation tool (see “Tools And Materials,” page 108).
1 Remove the door handle to provide unobstructed access to the screen. If the handle is damaged, this is a good time to replace it.
2 It’s common to find a separate length of spline on each side of the frame. Use an awl or pick to catch the end of a piece and pry it up. Try not to damage the spline–if it’s not broken or brittle it can be reused.
3 Grab the screen spline with your hand and gently pull upward to remove it. Repeat the process for the other spline segments.
4 To remove the rollers, carefully pry them from the edge of the door with a screwdriver. On some doors, you may have to depress a spring clip to release each assembly.
5 If you’re installing new spline, use scissors or a knife to cut it to lengths that fit in the frame grooves. Make sure that the diameter of the new spline is the same as that of the old material.
6 Lay the replacement screen over the doorframe. Align one edge of the screen with the outside edge of the door to ensure that the screen is square to the frame
7 Beginning at one corner, use the convex roller on the spline-installation tool to press the screen into the groove on a long edge of the doorframe.
8 Use the concave roller on the tool to press the spline into the groove. Apply gentle pressure and angle the tool slightly toward the outside of the frame to avoid tearing the screen.
9 At the opposite edge of the screen, don’t form a groove. Instead, gently pull the screen tight as you press the spline in place. Pull straight across the frame to avoid distorting the screen.
10 After installing all of the spline, use a sharp utility knife to trim the excess screen. Position the knife tip at the junction of the spline and outside edge of the spline groove.
11 Slide the new roller assembly into the opening in the edge of the door and engage the clips that hold the roller in place.
12 Replace the screen panel in the door track and check that it closes evenly against the jamb. If it doesn’t, correct the roller positions by turning the adjustment screws.
13 If the door latch is broken, buy a replacement and secure it to the jamb with a screw
Tools And Materials
When you replace a damaged screen, there are two things you need to become familiar with, fast. After the screen itself, the most important material is the spline–the narrow rubber tubing that locks the screen in a groove around the frame. Spline comes in various diameters–with some sizes differing in diameter by only 1/64 in.–and matching your new spline to the old is important. Then, you’ll need a spline-installation tool. This pizza-cutter-like device has a roller at each end. The convex end forms the screen in the groove, and the concave end presses the spline in place
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