Sliding screen door repairs can be tricky when the slider is sandwiched between glass panels. But there are some techniques to make the job easier
The good thing is that screens in between glass panels and on the inside are protected from the weather. They can last longer than those mounted on the outside.
The difficulty with screens in between patio glass panels is that settling of the wooden house frame causes the aluminum or wood patio framing to bend and twist. This can make removing the glass panels and the screen door very difficult.
If you have noticed that your glass or screen doors don’t slide back and forth easily, you might have sagging patio framing.
Look up at the space between the top of the sliding glass panel and the top track. Check the gap as you slide the panel all the way open and all the way closed.
There should be enough space for the panel to open easily across the entire width of its travel without rubbing on the top track.
If you see any evidence of scrape marks, or can clearly see scratches where the door rubs on the top frame, you know you have settling problems with the frame of your house.
Another clue is a crack right in the middle of the concrete sill that the patio frame sits on. If the settling has cracked the concrete, it has probably affected the patio frame as well.
Many patio sliders are built without concrete sills. If the wood frame underneath them gets wet and swells, the patio frame gets twisted.
Settling problems will wear out your sliding glass panel rollers. It will also make the doors difficult to slide open and in the worst cases can shatter the glass from the pressure of the sagging frame.
How to install a slider if there is only a small amount of settling.
First remove all the clamps and screws securing the glass panels.
Some screws may be hidden so don’t try to force anything until you sure all the fasteners are removed.
It should be possible to slide each glass panel to the side, lift it up and swing the bottom of the glass out over the bottom track.
A small pry bar can be useful if the bottom of the panel so long as only a small amount of force is used. Don’t break the glass!
Sometimes there is not enough room to lift the panel up. You may need to use a jack to raise the frame slightly.
I use a small hydraulic jack with a 2 x 4 long enough to reach the top of the frame. Jack up the frame no more than ¼”.
Any more and you risk damaging the top tracks. You should gain enough extra height to allow you lift out the door panel. If you cant lift the door out with the aid of a jack it’s really time to replace your patio doors.
Sometimes you can repair your sagging patio door by removing the wooden casing on the inside of the patio door and removing the wooden shims that usually space the patio frame from the wooden framing. Sadly sometimes the wooden frame sags so much that even this wont help.
If you are able to remove the glass panels then you should be able to remove the slider in the same manner. You just have to loosen all four screened panel rollers as I described in the section about removing a slider when its mounted on the outside.
When you have gone to all this trouble to get your slider out, its definitely a good idea to check the rollers while you have everything out. Nothing worse than getting a center run panel back in and finding it wont slide because of an old broken roller.