Last summer, I installed an inexpensive, wood screen door on the entrance leading to my deck. There were lots of fancy doors to choose from, but I liked the nostalgic “slap” of a lightweight wooden screen door that reminded me of old Victorian cottages.
The screen door was easy to install, and soon it was slamming 37 times a day (thanks to my toddler). But, after a couple of months, we had a new problem – the door started to sag. It eventually sagged so much that the latch no longer worked and the door was hard to open and close. Time to make a repair!
Thankfully, repairing a sagging screen door is a very easy and satisfying job. One trip to the store, a few tools, and exactly 15 minutes later I had a perfectly level door. If your screen door is sagging or dragging on your porch floor, here’s what you need to know to get it fixed up in a jiffy.
Turnbuckle: A turnbuckle consists of two metal rods with threaded ends that fit into a coupling nut. Turnbuckles are available in two sizes: 42” for doors less than 36” wide, and 50” for doors 36” and wider.
Drill and Bits: For drilling pilot holes and driving in screws.
Tape Measure: To measure the layout of the turnbuckle.
Step 1: Assemble Turnbuckle
Following the instructions included with your turnbuckle, thread one rod into each end of the coupling nut. They are threaded in opposite directions, so that turning the coupling nut will tighten or loosen both rods at the same time. Just thread it in a few turns, leaving plenty of threads showing to give room to tighten later.
Step 2: Mark Turnbuckle Screw Locations on Screen Door
Position one end of the turnbuckle about 2” above the bottom corner of the screen door on the handle side (not the hinge side). Slant the turnbuckle upward and hold the other end against the hinge side of your door.
Make sure the flat side of the turnbuckle, if it has one, is against the screen door. Be sure to close the door and make sure the turnbuckle doesn’t interfere with the door seal. Mark the screw holes on the screen door.
Step 3: Attach Turnbuckle to Screen Door
Drill pilot holes in the screen door smaller than the screw shank, then install the turnbuckle using the screws provided. Insert the screws through the turnbuckle into the pilot holes, but don’t tighten completely until all screws are in place. Finally, tighten down the screws.
Step 4: Tighten Turnbuckle
And now the fun part! Turn the coupling nut on the turnbuckle to tighten the rods and lift the sagging handle side of the screen door. Keep turning the turnbuckle until the door is level. Mine got pretty hard to turn toward the end – if needed, you can use a wrench or a pair of pliers (padded with a cloth rag to keep from damaging the metal) for the last couple of turns.
Step 5: Adjusting Turnbuckle
Finally, open and close the screen door a few times to make sure you’ve got it right.
In my case, I went a little too far and the door rubbed at the top corner, so I just loosened the turnbuckle a little until it was just right.
You may need to adjust the turnbuckle on the screen door again next year, but next time the solution will be right there at your fingertips!
Now my screen door once again opens and closes easily, and the soothing slapping sound of summer has returned!