Fix screen door
Questions & Answers about repairing sliders

A patio screen door is probably the most common type of door most of us encounter. Even though they are built ver simply, we depend on them for use almost every day.

Keeping a screen door in tip top shape will save you money. So long as your patio door components are working properly, theres no need to spend thousands of dollars on new patio doors

Screen Door Roller Adjustment

Screen Doors often have rollers at each corner and each of these rollers can have an adjusting screw. There are a few doors whose rollers have no adjustment. For the adjustable ones though, all that is necessary is a screwdriver and a can of WD-40 to loosen the occasional rusted screw.

To adjust the rollers, close the screen door against the side door jamb and observe if the door frame is parallel to the jam. If the screen door frame is at an angle, adjust the two bottom rollers to get it straight.

Why Screen Doors Start Sticking

As patio screen doors get old the corners start to loosen and at some point the only thing holding the frame together is the screen cloth. The door will rack frame side to side and will tip and bind when you try to open and close it. If you have access to new corners and the frame is not too worn, you can replace the corners and the doors will operate as good as new. Some screen doors are screwed together at the corners. If this is the case you can tighten the screws at all four corners to get the frame nice and square again.

How the Screen Cloth is held In

The screen cloth in a screen panel is held in a "spline channel". This small "U" shaped channel runs all around the inside of the frame. The screen cloth is rolled into the channel and a tight fitting plastic spline is rolled on top of it, until it too is forced into the channel. The fit is so tight, the cloth will usually rip before it pulls out of the spline channel.

Don't brush me off...

by Bill
(Hawthorne, CA USA)

Tight fitting vinyl bugstrip does not slide smoothly

I purchased and installed Atrium Series 1 sliding patio doors 5-7 years ago. For some unknown reason, the doors did not come with a screen, so I ended up buying an aftermarket slider.

The aftermarket version just never seemed to slide smoothly, and eventually kept jumping off the track despite the rollers being changed several times. The biggest issue always seemed to be that the vinyl bug strip caused too much drag, making the slider hard to open.

After struggling with the screen for quite some time (and replacing it with another aftermarket slider a couple of years ago), I tracked down Atrium (which has changed names or been bought out by another company in the last few years), and custom ordered a door from them, thinking that coming from the OEM, it would work perfectly (a guy can dream).

I installed the new slider today, and although it looks and feels much higher in quality, and does slide nicely, for the first couple of inches when you open the door, it is hard and jerky to move. I have trimmed the vinyl strip so close to the door, you can just squeeze a hair between it and the panel. I'm a bug hater, so cutting it shorter and leaving a space isn't really an option for me

I think the biggest issue is this tiny ridge in the design that is raised from the panel approximately an 1/8th of an inch. I have attached a photo that shows the ridge and the bug strip. When the door is opened or closed, the vinyl strip has to pass over this ridge, causing the panel to stick a tiny bit, then jump over it.

If I trim the bug strip more to allow it to move freely over the ridge, there would be a gap that will allow bugs in. :-(

I'm thinking my ultimate solution would be to replace the black vinyl strip (that everyone seems to sell) with a bristle style, that come on some higher end doors. The problem is, I can't find the bristle/brush style of seal anywhere.

Does anyone know where this style of seal can be found?

Thanks for your time and help.

Hi Bill

I have snap in bristle weatherstrip seals for my own doors but unfortunately they dont fit a lot of other peoples doors.

My strip will most likely be loose in your frame but if you are able to widen the strip, perhaps by putting some peel and stick foam along the whole length, it just might fit tightly in the edge of your door

The bristle weatherstrip comes in handy when you have a panel like yours thats too close for the vinyl bugstrip.

One possibility is to find the nearest Habitat for Humanity ReStore and see if they are selling any used screen doors. You just might find one with long enough bristle weatherstrip in good shape.

I can sell you one of mine but bear in mind that UPS will charge $25.00 for shipping.

Vinyl bug strip replacement by Bill
(Vallejo, CA) I replaced the sliding screen. I need to replace my weatherstrip also. My sliding door is by unigue home designs. 36"x80" white vinyl.

How can I order?

I understand shipping is 11.00 to Vallejo, CA and the strip is 1.00. Is that correct ? Please send me your ordering adress thank you very much.


Hi Bill;

I use black vinyl bug strips on my screendoor kits. Sorry, but I Dont have any white ones.

Your Vinyl slider probably does not have the same type of mounting for the bug strip. My guess is that your panel has a groove all the way up the vertical rail that is smaller than 7/16".

If thats true then my bug strip wont fit. If you are unable to get one through the original supplier of your door I would be happy to send you one of mine.

I might just work, but its possible that it wont.
The price for my bugstrip is $1 per foot or $7.00 for your slider which is almost 7 feet tall. Shipping is $11.00.

I will send you a PayPal Invoice and if this is acceptable to you just pay it and I will get one to you right away.

Can't remove screen slider by Lorraine
(Fountain Valley) We have a Milgard screen that needs to be re-screened. We have loosened screws at top and bottom, but the track is just about 1/16" too high to remove the panel. We have made several attempts. Any suggestions?

Hi, Good Question !

Sometimes the house framing settles or shifts and reduces the gap necessary to remove the patio screen.

If you just need an extra 1/16th of an inch what I would do is "bump" the door out. Start by moving the slider to the center of the track. The gap should be biggest there.

I put my foot at the bottom left or right corner of the screen door and pull carefully on the center of the vertical rail.

The idea is to bend it just enough to allow the bottom of the door to raise up and clear the track.

I usually "bump" the rail quickly to get the slider to pop out. Not too much force though, because you dont want to risk bending the vertical rail.

You might need to do this on both vertical rails but I usually find that it clears the track on one side but is tight on the other. The panel will often spring out without too much problem.

Getting it back in is usually easier because you can lever on the bottom with a flat blade screwdriver when you are replacing the panel. Thats more awkward to do when you are trying to take it out because the patiodoor is in the way.

To get it back in you might need to cut the vertical rails 1/16" shorter to compensate for the sagging. Or if you want to try fixing the sagging do the following:

If you cannot get the door out this way without a lot of force then leave it where it is and remove the wooden trim on the top of the patio door on the interior.

Remove the screws that go through the top of the patiodoor frame, there will be 2 to 6 screws depending on the size and style.

With the screws out and the wooden trim removed you should be able to pull out all the shims that go between the wooden header and the top of the patio frame.

Doing that will allow the top to spring back up and it will be easy to get the screen door out.

Hopefully you will be able to solve the problem by just bumping the screen door out. I just added the other information just in case.

Door doesn't fit after re-screening

by Debbie
(Washington DC)

Well, I just re-screened my sliding door (with pet screen as my cat scratched through the old screen). It looked great and I was very proud of myself. But now that the door is in, it doesn't sit straight and there is a big gap (about 1.5 inches)in the top where it doesn't close all the way. There is no gap at the bottom. I'm worried I bent the frame or something. Or maybe the bottom wheel (furthest from the frame) needs adjustment? I don't know what to do. I have another screen door that needs new screen, but I'm scared to do it now that I messed this one. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Hi Debbie;

Thanks for the great picture. The first thing I would try would adjusting the rollers. Usually there are screws in the bottom corners of the door or sticking up from the bottom rail.

You might need to lower the roller directly below the gap or raise the roller on the opposite side of the gap. The gap might be too much for just roller adjustment alone.

If that still does not solve the problem its possible that the door was not perfectly square when the screen cloth was put in.

To fix this, block the door from moving with your foot and get a helper to give the top of the door on the opposite side a little push. Not too hard, you dont want to break the corners. Just enough to straighten the door out.

It might take repeated shoves and blocking of the door with your foot before you get it just right.

If you need help adjusting the rollers, please post a picture of the adjusting screw or roller location here and I will see if I can figure out what type of roller they are and how they need to be adjusted.

Hope this helps !

Novice home repair woman by Karen
(Barberton, OHIO USA) Ok, without sounding naive about screen door repairs, I have a screen door where part of the screen has come out for the spline/channel. Is there someway to attach just the part that has come free from the channel? The screen is in excellent shape other than this problem. I would appreciate any advice you can give me.

Thank you!

Hi Karen;

If the spline has just come out and the screen material is not ripped its possible to roll the spline back in or poke it back in with a flat bladed screwdriver.

Push the spline back in on the side opposite the screen cloth so that theres less chance of ripping the material.

If the screen cloth is fiberglass there its much easier to make this kind of repair because the material will stretch a little and is generally more forgiving.

If the screen material is aluminum is a little more tricky because it is probably bent in the shape of the spline channel and you need to carefully push the spline and the material back into exactly the same spot they originally were.

Please help with this thing !
Is it an astragal ?

by Tony

Hi Tony; It looks like an "Astragal" to me. When you have double sliders, you need an astragal so that the doors join together in the center with no light coming through. It also gives you a place to mount a lock which locks both doors together.

I have astragals for my own doors but they are not quite the same as yours. The picture above shows the astragal I use. It is extruded aluminum ans snaps inside the vertical rail of one panel and wraps around the vertical rail of the other.

One way to make an astragal would be to find an aluminum U channel. Home Depot or Lowes sometimes has these these in a display case along with small metal angles, threaded rods and other shapes and sizes of steel and aluminum.

Another source might be Metals Supermarket, these types of stores sell odd pieces of metal to machine shops and industrial customers. You might luck out and find an aluminum channel there.

The channel needs to be as long as your rail, usually around 80 inches. You can use a channel 3/4" x 3/4" or 1/2' x 1/2" so long as it is wide enough to slip over the edge of one of the doors.

Clamp the astragal channel to edge of the slider and drill pilot holes along the length of the channel right through into the door. Then screw in metal screws the whole length to attach the astragal.

If you have been able to attach the channel perfectly straight you should be able to slide both doors together so that one fits neatly into the channel.

I've spent countless hours searching for a replacement or even a name for this part! As you can see it is plastic and it is falling apart. It's connected to the door in the pic, and the strike is connected to it. It seems like a weather/bug guard between the 2 sliding screen doors, but it is permanently fixed to the sliding door on the right. Please help! I've become obsessed with this!!!

Comment by Tony:

Thanks, but I still can't find a replacement or it anywhere! Any ideas? I've searched all over the internet!!

Window doors don't stay by Ann
(Silver Spring, MD USA) My windows don't stay when I opened them so I would like to ask if I can fix it and how to fix. In order to fix what kind of tools and what else I need to have to do. Thanks so much for your help

Hi Ann;

One of the most common problems with windows or doors that have hinges is that one of the hinges works loose.

If thats the only problem often just tightening the screws in the hinge with a screwdriver will make the window or door open or close properly again.

Post a picture here and I will try to give a more specific answer

Slider wont come
out of the tracks

by John
(Nowra, NSW)

I am trying to remove my screens in order to replace the rollers and replace the mesh, however I cannot get the sliders to come free of the tracks.

Logically I would have expected to loosen the screw at the top and allow the door to be lifted higher, thus allowing it to come off its track. However it does not happen.

Hi John;

Three things can make a screens really hard to get out.

Sometimes the top track sags down on a patio door because the wooden framing behind it has settled or moved. Or the concrete slab that the patio door sits on cracks in the middle and pushes the track up. Or you may have rollers stuck in the extended position.

Sometimes I have to use a hydraulic jack with a wooden post to push the top track up by 1/4" to get the door off.

You can also try pulling on the center of the vertical rails very carefully so that the rails shorten just enough to let the bottom of the door pop out. Pull too hard and the doors might bend beyond repair.

Once you have it out, you might find one of the rollers have jammed in the out position. You might even have to shorten the vertical rails by 1/8" to get the door to work properly again.

Hope this helps

Broken corner brackets

by Melanie H.
(San diego, Ca)

My dog ran through the screen, now it appears that all 4 "brackets" at the corners of the frame are broken. Can I find these brackets to replace as opposed to buying a whole new screen?

You can use the roller and corner kit #90020 to replace these corners and rollers.

The corners you have should be 1-1/8" wide, my corners are stronger and the rollers supplied with them are much better ball bearing types.

Fixing window screens that cannot be removed by Tim
(Searsport, Maine) Question

Hi, I need to replace screencloth in a couple of windows in my house. Unfortunately, the screens don't come out of their frames. I don't mean they're supposed to be removeable are are stuck or something. They aren't meant to be removed. Problem: how do I get the screen tight given that I can't bow the frames at all?
Thanks for your help.
Tim B.
Searsport, Maine


Fixing a screen in place is detailed on my Storm screens page

It works well so long as you can reach the spline channel all the way around the screen.

Tension For Screen insert On front door by JK
(Hamilton) Question:
I have a screened insert that goes in my front door, after I take out the glass insert. The problem is getting the right amount of tension to keep the cloth square to fit back into the frame, The frame is about 1 to 1 1/4" wide so it is very flexible and the cloth always seems to pull seems to pull the frame in even though I put a piece of wood in the middle to hold it. Any ideas to fix this problem?

When you replace the cloth, you have to clamp the material down all around with spring clamps so its absolutely flat and square to the frame.

Dont try to stretch the material when you roll it in with the screen roller. Keeping it flat is 90% of the battle.

(Madison, WI, USA)

My Screen Channel's are broken, where do I find replacements for them ?

I uploaded a picture of a CR Laurence screen track.
CR Laurence are probably the largest supplier of window parts in the USA. I believe they have a distribution center in Wisconsin.

They dont sell to the public, but if you call them at 1-800-421-6144, they should be able to find you a glass shop in Wisconsin that stocks their parts.

Sometimes you can also find small aluminum channels in the metals section at Home Depot or Loews and other hardware stores.
Metals Supermarket, which specializes in selling small orders can
sell you aluminum channels too. They have stores in Green Bay and Little Chute Wisconsin.

Adrian D.

South Pasadena, CA

I am trying to replace the screen in an old wooden hung screen door. I removed the cloth and the spline which was like a round stranded roping
about a 1/4 inch in diameter. The screened part makes up the top 2/3 thirds of the door.

The spline was also stapled every inch or so around the entire frame. The spline is not on the face of the door but on the inside edge of the frame.


Patio slider Replacement Help
by JR
(New Jersey)

I have an odd shaped patio slider, and no idea who the manufacturer is.  There are no markings on the door. The size is 31 1/4 x 78 3/8, and I can not find a replacement anywhere.  Do you have any advice where I can get a replacement ? 

The old door is badly beaten up--thank you 3 year old--so not even posting a photo--it's beyond repair. The screen appears to be about 1/2" 'short.'  When I try to roll it, it comes out of the track.  Is there a part missing or just worn out ?

From Rosario's Screen Repair
by Israel

Hello and thank you so much for a tremendous website! I have two window screens with aluminum u spline. Am I better off just using rubber spline? The opening for the spline is 1/4 inch. I read that they are almost impossible to reuse. Thank you for all help

Israel R

Screens in Doors constantly
broken by customers

At our cafe we have typical double panel wooden screen doors that customers lean into with body or knees tearing occurs constantly. How can we prevent this in future ? Is there a framing set up with wire and mesh ?

Tightening existing screen
in patio door.

Unfortunately, I walked into the
slider when it was closed and the screen has loosened.  I would
like to know how to just tighten the screen before I put the door back
in.  Thanks!

Replacement Frame
for Top Hung
by Janel
(Aurora, IL)

I have been trying for months and months
to replace my top hung slider. It is 14 years old and I
have only been living here for 5. There isn't any manufacturer
information on the door and I haven't had a bit of success in finding a
replacement. What would be the easiest way to go about replacing this
door or just the frame?

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