Has your storm door hardware seen better days ? Is it time to change out the old parts ? Perhaps your door wont stay open when you are fighting for your front door keys with bags of groceries in your hand.
Or maybe the storm door wont latch closed properly. Or you dont like the storm door handle your door came with and want to change it out to something a lot nicer. Whatever the problem. I want to address the most common storm door hardware problems and give you solutions.
Here's a simple fix to a problem that is so common, yet most people replace the whole door thinking theirs no proper fix for it. You open your storm door and set the little metal clip along the closer rod to keep the door open. The clip starts to slide and the door slowly closes. Usually before you can even get you keys out to open the front door.
The metal clip on the closer rod is the whole source of the problem. Nothing else to it. Replace that clip and your door will work fine. That clip is just made of mild steel. The manufacturers make it that way so the clip wears out before the cylinder rod.
If your storm is sliding slowly shut, close it fully and pull out the pin the holds the cylinder rod in place. Slide the metal clip off the the cylinder rod. Remember the way it goes on! Take a look at the clip where the metal contacts the rod and you will see a small area worn flat. It is supposed to be a sharp edge so it grips the cylinder rod better. Replace the clip. Many glass shops carry the part.
There could be a number of causes for this problem. The lock could be broken, the latch plate might not be making contact with the lock or the storm itself could be out of square perhaps because the corners are broken.
A broken latch should be easy to identify. See if the latch will lock. Or does the still open even when the latch is locked. Time for a new lock. Most big box hardware stores carry new storm door locks.
The latch plate is usually a small white plastic or aluminum plate that gives the lock something to latch on to. It often comes loose, sometimes falling off entirely.
You may have to add "shims" behind the latch plate to move it out further to make contact with the lock striker. Or if the latch plate is missing, just replace it. Latch plates usually come with new lock assemblies, so you will have to replace the whole thing.
If your storm handle is old and broken, maybe its time for a replacement. Most big box hardware stores carry replacements. These handles are usually made by Ideal Manufacturing, whose handles are used in countless storm doors across the nation.
The good thing about that is that you wont have to drill new holes for your new handle. The replacement should just bolt right in. The only sticking points maybe the actuator pin for the latch and the mounting screws.
You usually have to cut the actuator pin to the right length because storm doors vary in thickness from 7/8" to 2 1/2". Same problem with the screws. You may have to cut them shorter to suit your door. But why not use the old screws!
Well my experience is that the old screws are always a different thread than the new ones so unless you want to wreck the threads in the new handle, you do not want to use the old screws.
If the storm still doesnt close, you may have broken corners. The next section addresses that problem.
Your storm is basically 4 lengths of aluminum held together with 4 aluminum or powder metal corners, hidden inside the frame.
The corners, especially if they are made of "powder metal", can break. This often happens when the door gets caught in a wind gust and gets blown open. Or the door may get slammed forcefully. If a corner breaks, you often see the top of the storm door sticking out not closed while the bottom is fully closed. Or vice versa.
Open your storm. Grab hold near the top and near the bottom instead of holding the handle. See if it is easy to twist the door. It should be stiff and resist twisting. It if twists a few inches, one or more of the corners may be broken.
Often, if corners are broken, you need to replace the whole door, simply because the corners may just not be available. But, if you do know where your door came from, there may still be corners and other storm door hardware available. If you have a replacement corner, changing it usually just involves taking out the screws holding the top or bottom of the door on.
Replacing the screen in your storm can be a chore especially if it wont come out. Here's how to do it.
As well, if you are having problems with your storm door that are not addressed here, take a look at the screen storm door problems and fixes page where other visitors have sent in their problems.
Maybe you can find a solution there.