Easy Ways to Install a Sliding Screen Door: 13 Steps (2024)

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1Choosing a Sliding Screen Door

2Mounting the Door on Your Sliding Door Frame

3Making the Final Adjustments

Other Sections

Tips and Warnings

Things You'll Need

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Co-authored byJames Mansfield

Last Updated: September 8, 2022References

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Sliding screen doors make it easy to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature while keeping bugs and other pests out of your home. If you’re thinking about adding a screen door to an existing sliding glass door on your porch or patio, you’ll first need to measure your door frame and purchase a door with the correct dimensions. Installation is then as simple as guiding the top of the door into the upper rail and lifting the bottom up and over the lower rail, making sure the rollers are aligned with the track on the inside of the frame.

Part 1

Part 1 of 3:

Choosing a Sliding Screen Door

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  1. 1

    Measure your door frame to determine what size door you need. Stretch a tape measure from the top of the upper rail to the top of the lower rail. Then, measure the overall width of the door frame, divide that number in half, and add 12 inch (1.3cm) to find the necessary width of your door. Most screen doors will be 78–80 inches (200–200cm) high and between 30.5 inches (77cm) and 48.5 inches (123cm) wide.[1]

    • Sliding screen doors are designed to be paired with sliding glass doors. If you don’t already have a sliding glass door in your home, your first task will be to put one in in order to provide the proper frame and track for your screen door.

    Tip: If the rollers on the bottom track rest above the top of the rail, you may need to subtract as much as 14 inch (0.64cm) to ensure that your new door will fit.

  2. 2

    Look at doors in a wide range of materials. Most sliding screen doors are made from lightweight aluminum, which makes them easy to slide open and closed with one hand. However, you can also find doors constructed of materials like steel and treated wood. One of these may complement the style of your home better than an ordinary aluminum door would.[2]

    • Keep in mind that buying doors made from sturdier or less common materials may drive up the amount of money you spend on your project.
    • A heavier screen door isn’t guaranteed to provide more protection from the elements. In fact, aluminum tends to be more resistant to rust and corrosion than many other metals.[3]


  3. 3

    Buy a sliding screen door in the correct dimensions. Run down to your local hardware store or home improvement center and shop around for a screen door that matches the size measurements you just took. Be sure to pick out a style you like, as you’ll likely be passing through your screen door several times a day.[4]

    • On average, you can expect to pay around $30-40 on a standard aluminum screen door.
  4. 4

    Unwrap your screen door and sort through the included accessories. After bringing your screen door home, peel off the plastic wrap it’s packaged in and dispose of any cardboard labels or corner pieces. If your door came complete with installation accessories like screws or latching mechanisms, remove them and set them aside. You’ll usually find these taped to the handle section of the door in a small plastic bag.[5]

    • Take a moment to read through the installation instructions for the model you purchased before attempting to put in your new door.
    • Be careful not to let your door tip over accidentally if you’ve propped it up to remove the packaging.
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Part 2

Part 2 of 3:

Mounting the Door on Your Sliding Door Frame

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  1. 1

    Orient your new screen door with your existing sliding glass door. Examine your screen door and note which side the handle is on. To ensure that your screen door tracks properly with your sliding glass door, its handle needs to be on the same side of the door frame as the handle of the glass door. If you notice that it’s on the wrong side, pick up the door and carefully rotate it 180 degrees end-over-end to position it on the opposite side.[6]

    • If your glass door has been set up for right-handed use, the handle will be on the left side of the door frame. This orientation will be reversed for left-handed doors.
    • Be sure to spin the door around on its Y-axis, not its X-axis. Rotating the door laterally will put the handle lever on the wrong side of door.[7]
  2. 2

    Loosen the expander screws at the top or bottom of your screen door. If your screen door features adjustable expanders, you’ll find the securing screws on either side of the door’s top or bottom panels, or possibly both. Using a Phillips-head screwdriver, turn each screw counterclockwise as far as it will go to disengage the expanders.[8]

    • Many newer sliding screen doors come with built-in expanders, which makes it possible to fine-tune a door’s fit inside its frame following installation.
    • On some models, the access holes containing the expander screws might be covered with small plastic plugs. You’ll need to pry these plugs out with the blade of your screwdriver before you can adjust the expanders.

    Tip: Loosing the expanders prior to installation allows them to move freely, making it easier to maneuver the door into the frame.

  3. 3

    Remove the weather stripping from the outside edge of the door. Locate the black rubber strip and peel it away from the door starting at the upper corner. Be careful not to damage the weather stripping while you’re pulling it. Set the strip aside for now—you’ll be reinstalling it later on.[9]

    • The weather stripping on a sliding screen door attaches to the outside edge to prevent insects from slipping into the gap between the 2 doors.
    • Weather stripping isn’t usually necessary for the inside edge, which forms a seal with the door jamb when the door is closed.
  4. 4

    Guide the upper edge of the screen door into the top rail. Hold the door by its outer edges with both hands and angle it just enough to raise it up into the grooved channel inside the top section of the frame.[10] Make sure the door is correctly aligned with the channel. Otherwise, it may stick when you attempt to open or close it.[11]

    • Sliding screen doors aren’t very heavy, but all the same, it may be a good idea to have someone give you a hand holding your door steady while you fit it into the frame.
  5. 5

    Lift the door and set it into the track in the bottom rail. Now that you’ve secured the upper part of the door inside the frame, all that’s left to do is guide the lower part inside. To do this, lift up on the door until the rollers on the bottom clear the rail, then press it into the frame so that the rollers rest in the grooved track.[12]

    • If your fingers are getting in the way of the door clearing the bottom rail, it may help to use a putty knife or similar broad, flat tool to lift up on the door just below the roller and slip it inside.[13]
    • Once you’ve got the door installed, slide it back and forth in the frame a few times to make sure the rollers are properly aligned inside the bottom track.
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Part 3

Part 3 of 3:

Making the Final Adjustments

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  1. 1

    Adjust the top or bottom expanders until the door slides smoothly. Insert the tip of your screwdriver into the access holes on the face or inner edge of the door. Lifting up on the expander lever will raise the door inside the frame, while pushing down will lower it.[14]

    • On some models, tightening the expander screws raises the door and loosening them lowers it.[15]
    • If your door has expanders at both the top and bottom, it will only be necessary to adjust one set.

    Tip: You want the top of the door to sit just below the top of the upper rail and the bottom to have enough clearance to roll freely without scraping or catching.

  2. 2

    Secure the expanders to keep the door in the optimal slide position. When you’re satisfied with the height of your door, tighten the expander screws by turning them clockwise until they stop moving. Don’t forget to replace the plugs covering the access holes if your door has them.

    • Consider drilling 1-2 34in (1.9cm) screws through the top or bottom expander panels. This will essentially lock them in place and prevent the door from shifting over time.[16]
  3. 3

    Reinstall the weather stripping on the outer edge of the door. Grab the rubber strip you removed earlier and press it back into place along the non-handle side of the door. Make sure the top of the strip is flush with the top of the door, and that the strip itself is securely seated, with no gaps or loose spots between the rubber and the door’s edge.[17]

    • If the weather stripping is too long at the bottom of the door, trim the excess material using a utility knife or pair of scissors.[18]
  4. 4

    Mount the strike plates or latch hook on the inside door jamb. Extend your tape measure from the indicator line on the inside of the molded door handle to the interior sill and use a pencil to mark both locations. Line up the strike plate or latch hook that came with your screen door over the marking on the sill and attach the locking mechanism using a cordless drill and the included screws.

    • If the manufacturer of your screen door didn’t provide screws for easy installation, 34in (1.9cm) fasteners will be just about the right size for most door frames.
    • To lock and unlock your door, simply slide the inset button on the handle up or down. You’ll hear a faint click when the door is securely locked.
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      • If you’re having trouble getting a new screen door to open and close properly, the issue may be the frame rather than the door or rollers. You can straighten out warped and bent frames by tapping them gently with a hammer in spots that are noticeably deformed.


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      Things You’ll Need

      • Tape measure
      • Sliding screen door
      • Phillips-head screwdriver
      • Utility knife or scissors
      • Cordless drill
      • Putty knife or similar tool (optional)
      • 34in (1.9cm) screws (optional)

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      About This Article

      Easy Ways to Install a Sliding Screen Door: 13 Steps (33)

      Co-authored by:

      James Mansfield

      Construction & Design Specialist

      This article was co-authored by James Mansfield. James Mansfield is a Construction and Design Specialist and the CEO of WestVillage General Contracting, a high-end and luxury design/build firm in New York City. James specializes in apartment, bathroom, and kitchen remodeling as well as fine cabinetry, lighting, paint, and wallpaper. James has developed a proprietary system of construction called the Luxury Build Method that hinges on a skilled team, respected partnerships, and clear, transparent communication. WestVillage GC has completed more than 500 commercial and residential projects in New York with designers such as David Scott Interiors and Fox Nahem, Kelly Behun. WestVillage GC is also a preferred contractor for Related buildings including Hudson Yards. This article has been viewed 75,266 times.

      5 votes - 84%

      Co-authors: 3

      Updated: September 8, 2022


      Categories: Door Types

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      Easy Ways to Install a Sliding Screen Door: 13 Steps (34)


      Easy Ways to Install a Sliding Screen Door: 13 Steps (2024)


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