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Replace Broken Storm or Screen Door Handles

Updated: Jan. 28, 2022

This is an easy 10 minute repair. Learn how to replace a screen door latch yourself.

screen door handlesFamily Handyman
Storm door handles break or become tarnished long before the door need replacing, but installing a new handle is a simple job that can usually be finished in a few minutes.

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Install the new handle and screen door latch

Photo 1: Remove the old handle and screen door latch

Unscrew both interior latch-mounting screws, pull the interior and exterior handles apart and remove the center spindle. Discard the old handle.

Photo 2: Insert spindle

Assemble the new exterior handle according to the instructions on the packaging, and slide the spindle through the center hole.

Photo 3: Screw the inside and outside together

Slide the interior screen door latch over the protruding spindle, and screw together the interior and exterior handles with the two mounting screws.

Photo 4: Mount the strike

Hold the new strike plate in place with the door closed (have a helper push it tight from the outside). Mark the center of the mounting slots for maximum adjustability. Drill 3/32-in. pilot holes in the door jamb and screw down the new strike plate. (Use enclosed shims, if necessary.)

Trade in the broken, shabby push-button handle on your screen door for a shiny new easy-opening lever handle. Replacement handles will fit most aluminum, steel and some wood doors. The handles are available at hardware stores and home centers. This project is basically as simple as how to replace a door handle.

You can swap out the handle in about 10 minutes. Typically, two mounting screws hold the old handle together. Remove the screws and discard the old handle (Photo 1). You’ll see three vertically spaced mounting holes in the screen door (wood doors may require different hardware). Measure the distance from the edge of the door to the center of one of these holes. This distance is called the backset (Photo 2). Buy a new handle with the same backset, or use the enclosed drilling template to relocate the 5/16-in. mounting screw holes. Assemble the outside lever components, insert the center spindle and install the new handle (Photos 2 and 3).

If the old strike plate isn’t compatible with the new screen door latch, remove it and install the new one that’s included in the screen door latch kit (Photo 4).

Required Tools for this Screen Door Handles Project

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

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Cordless drill
  • Drill bit set

Required Materials for this Screen Door Handles Project

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

  • Replacement storm door handle and latch