The Secret to Dealing with 3 Common Screen Door Issues

Screen doors are a good investment when pursuing an upgrade in home security or a more stylish entryway largely because they’re inherently designed to be long-lasting and sturdy. Still, their durability doesn’t make them entirely immune to mechanical failure or gradual wear; like any product you intend to use every day, they will eventually need to be repaired.

This week, we’ll be summarizing a few of the issues that you’re most likely to run into with your door after it’s been up for some time and what you can do to fix them. Consider this your crash course on home repair!

Problem #1: A Damaged/Dirty Screen

Let’s start with the big one. While the metal frame of your door isn’t likely to fall apart anytime soon, the bug screen stretched across it is much more vulnerable, usually being made of a fiberglass mesh that won’t stand up to a great deal of pressure or handling. It’s also more prone to dirt, which will build up and give your door a rather dingy appearance if left for too long.

The Fix

Unfortunately, there isn’t a great way you can repair an existing screen aside from a makeshift patch job. The only “complete” solution requires replacing it entirely, but that route is best left to a professional.

If the damaged area is small enough and you don’t mind the eyesore of an imperfect screen, a home fix is easy enough: simply get a pre-manufactured patch (available in bundles at most home improvement stores) and use a bit of waterproof glue to seal the hole. A bit crude, but it’ll get the job done!

If you simply want to clean up your screen a bit, you’ll want to go with a two-step approach. Use a vacuum extension (preferably with an upholstery attachment) to do an initial sweep over it, working from the top of the door down. Then, use a mixture of all-purpose cleaner and warm water (a 1/4th to 3/4th ratio is a safe bet) to finish up. You’ll want to do a light hose down afterward to wash out the suds, and be gentle with your application, as you don’t want to damage anything!

Problem #2: A Loose Door Closer

These extendable arms attach to the upper corner of your door and prevent it from slamming into the frame as it swings shut. You’ll likely see this speed control fluctuate over the course of the year, as the lubricant inside the mechanism reacts to temperature: it will thin in the heat of summer, which will loosen the arm’s tension, and thicken during the colder months, which will increase it. Consequently, you’ll likely need to make some minor adjustments from time to time to keep the closer functioning consistently.

The Fix

Unhook the closer (the round tube that connects the door to the jamb and sits closest to the handle) from its bracket. At one end will be a large screw. Using a screwdriver, turn it clockwise to tighten it and increase the tension, or in the opposite direction to loosen it. Once the closer is back in place, give the door a try to see if any additional adjustments are needed. Note that if it’s an old enough bit of hardware, this may not have much effect; if that’s the case, you’ll need to get a replacement!

Problem #3: Loud Hinges

Nothing is more obnoxious than a squeaky door that makes noise when you so much as look at it too hard. Thankfully, shutting them up only takes a few minutes.

The Fix

Use a large nail in the bottom of the hinge to tap the pin inside of it out. Wipe it off with a cloth, then finish up the job by coating it with a light layer of silicone spray or machine oil (WD40 is a safe bet) and inserting it back into the hinge. Open and close the door several times to work the lubricant into the cracks, and you should be good to go.

There are, of course, other possible issues that could arise over time, but this short list should cover the most common ones that are the easiest to address. Anything more serious, and it may be time to put your warranty to use and give a professional a call!