How to Fix a Screen Door

Why replace a screen door if you can just fix it?

All it takes is one big gust of wind to whip your screen door back so far that it rips the retaining bracket right out of the doorjamb. The damage looks pretty frightening, but the fix is actually fairly easy.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

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Overview

You can repair the jamb damage in about an hour. Then you’ll need a half-hour to paint, install a new closer and a heavy-duty wind chain, and after that you can call it a day. The total cost for materials is about $35. To do the repair, you’ll need two-part wood filler, a disposable plastic spreader or putty knife, a package of star-drive 3-in. screws, a star-drive bit and bit extension, sandpaper, and a drill. Add a wind chain if your door doesn’t already have one, and buy a new door closer if the rod on the old one got bent. Here are the repair steps.

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Patch and paint the jamb

Start by yanking out any loose wood shards. Save the larger pieces and toss the smaller ones. Then mix up a small batch of wood filler, coat the backs of the larger pieces and press them back into place. Let the filler set up for about 10 minutes so the pieces don’t move when you apply the final coat of filler. Then mix a larger batch and patch the entire damaged area (Photo 1).

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Mount the new closer bracket

Position the new door closer bracket on the jamb according to the instructions. Level it and mark the hole locations. Then drill four pilot holes through the wood filler (to prevent it from cracking). Toss the mounting screws that came with the new door closer and mount the bracket using 3-in. screws (Photo 2).

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Install a heavy-duty wind chain and closer

A heavy-duty wind chain keeps the screen door from opening past the length of the door closer, so it prevents this type of accident. Attach one end of the chain to the door and the other to the top jamb (Photo 3). Then connect the new closer to the bracket (Photo 4).

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Drill/driver, cordless
  • Disposable plastic spreader
  • Extension cord
  • Magnetic screwdriver bit holder
  • Putty knife
  • Safety glasses
  • Star-drive bit

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • 3-in. Star-drive screws
  • Sandpaper
  • Screen door closer
  • Screen door wind chain
  • Wood filler