Although there is more than one design for sliding patio screen doors, the most common one employs a pair of rollers on the bottom of the door that fit on a track on the bottom of the frame. When you open or close the door, it doesn't actually slide; instead, these wheels ride the track. The wheels are plastic, and they stick or break, causing the door to jam. Replacing them is easy, but first you have to get the door off the track. When you're done, replacing the door is just as easy.
Removing the Door
Stand outside the door and open the screen far enough to allow you to grasp both sides. Lift the door as far as you can, then try angling the bottom toward you. If it doesn't come, you'll probably have to raise the wheels.
Look for an adjustment screw on the bottom of the door frame above each wheel. Turn it counterclockwise with a screwdriver to raise the wheel. If you don't see a screw, the wheel is probably spring-loaded, and you'll have to raise it manually.
Get a helper to lift the door. Work a flat-head screwdriver under one of the wheels, lift it and angle the door slightly until the wheel clears the track. Repeat with the other wheel, then angle the bottom of the door out and remove the door.
Replacing the Door
Hold the door with the top end angled toward the frame and insert the top into the groove on the top of the frame. Some doors have spring-loaded wheels that fit onto a track in the top of the frame. If yours is one of these, make sure the both wheels fit securely on the track.
Lift the door toward the top of the frame while you angle the bottom toward the frame. When the wheels clear the frame, lower the door, making sure the bottom track fits insides the groove of both wheels. The wheels may not clear the bottom track; if not, use one of the following procedures:
- Lift each of the wheels with a flat-head screwdriver while you push the door in. Release the wheel when it's over the track. Lower the door when both wheels are on the track.
- Raise the wheel by turning the adjustment screw counterclockwise. After you lower the door, lower the wheels by turning each screw clockwise to secure the door in the frame. If you don't lower the wheels, the door will fall out of the frame when you try to open or close it.
Test the door to make sure it slides smoothly. If it doesn't, you may have to raise the wheels slightly or adjust the door so that all the wheels are on the tracks.
Clean and lubricate the track and wheels with penetrating oil or spray lubricant before replacing it. Clean by vacuuming the track to remove stones and dirt, then wiping with a damp rag. Lubricate by spraying lubricant on the tracks and the rollers. You should do this regularly as part of routine maintenance to keep the doors sliding smoothly.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.