How to Remove a Sliding Screen Door

A sliding screen door on a patio

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Project Overview
  • Total Time: 5 - 10 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5 to $10

It's important to know how to remove a sliding screen door because the need arises all too frequently—for cleaning, repair, and replacement. Learn the easy way to remove a sliding screen door that avoids damage to the door and takes just minutes to do.

Before You Begin

Though it looks simple, screen door removal is tricky and not exactly intuitive. Plus, it's a delicate operation. If you bend, twist, or crimp the screen door frame, this might permanently damage the door. It's almost impossible to bend a twisted screen door frame perfectly back into place.

Generic replacement screen doors cost around $100 to $150. Branded replacement screen doors that match your specific sliding door can cost $200 or more.

When to Remove a Sliding Screen Door

  • Replace screen door: Remove a sliding screen door when the screen door needs to be removed and entirely replaced with a new screen door.
  • Replace screen and spline: When replacing the screen and spline on a screen door, the door must be removed and laid out flat and horizontal. Small, spot repairs can be made to a screen door while the door is in place.
  • Remove glass patio door: When the glass portion of a sliding patio door needs to be removed for repair or replacement, obstructions like the screen door should be removed, too.
  • Clean slider tracks: Limited slider track cleaning can be done with the screen door in place. But for a thorough cleaning, remove the screen door.
  • Clean screen door: To clean a screen door, the door should be removed to prevent water damage in the house.

Safety Considerations

Removing a sliding screen door is safe. But be mindful of the step where you raise the roller wheels with the putty knife since it's easy to pinch your fingers between the door and the track.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Screwdriver
  • Putty knife


How to Remove a Sliding Screen Door

  1. Prepare the Area

    Sliding screen doors are accessed from the exterior. Remove items such as outdoor chairs, tables, plants, and umbrellas within 5 feet of the screen door.

  2. Locate the Roller Wheels

    On the bottom of the screen door frame, at each corner, should be two screws that raise and lower the door's bottom rollers. Sometimes the screws will be accessible through two holes in the screen door frame.

    Also look at the top to see if the door has similar screws for the top rollers.

  3. Loosen the Roller Wheels

    With the screwdriver, turn each of the bottom roller wheel screws counter-clockwise. This raises the wheels up into the screen door frame, causing the door to drop slightly.


    In some cases, you may be able to remove the door without loosening the roller wheels. But it's recommended that you loosen the wheels because removal is easier and the chance of damage is lessened.

  4. Slide the Putty Knife Under the First Roller

    At the bottom of the door, start at one corner (either side). With your free hand, lift one side of the door so that the bottom roller wheel is visible. Slide the putty knife or other thin implement under the wheel. Because the wheel is spring-loaded, doing this will force the wheel further up into the door frame.

  5. Clear the First Wheel Over the Track Lip

    Keep the putty knife under the wheel and maintain pressure on it as you pull the same corner of the screen door out towards you and over the lip. When you are satisfied that the entire wheel has cleared the lip, slide the putty knife out. If the wheel has not fully cleared the lip, repeat the procedure.


    To avoid twisting the door frame out of shape, do not pull the corner of the door any farther than an inch or so. At this point, the roller wheel on the opposite side is still trapped, so pulling out the first wheel any farther may distort the frame.

  6. Clear the Second Wheel Over the Track Lip

    Repeat the previous step with the second roller wheel. Push the door up, slide the putty knife under the wheel, then pull the edge of the door toward you. The second wheel should now be clear of the track lip.

  7. Lift the Screen Door Out

    With both rollers free of the bottom track, you should be able to lower the door out of the top track.

How to Replace a Sliding Screen Door

  1. Push the Top of Door Into the Top Track

    Holding both sides of the door at the bottom, push the door upward into the top track.

  2. Force the Bottom of Door Against the Lip

    Maintaining upward pressure, swing the bottom of the door toward the bottom track's lip. Hold the bottom in place with your knee.

  3. Clear the First Wheel Over the Track Lip

    Slide the putty knife under one of the roller wheels. Maintain upward pressure with the putty knife as you press the edge of the door forward (toward the house). When you're certain that the wheel is within the track, slide out the putty knife.

  4. Clear the Second Wheel Over the Track Lip

    Repeat the previous step with the second wheel. Slide the putty knife under the wheel. press the edge of the door forward, then slide the knife out. Both wheels should snap into place in the track.

  5. Readjust the Roller Wheels

    Use the screwdriver to turn the lower roller wheel screws clockwise, causing the wheels to lower. If needed, adjust the top roller wheels, as well.

    Test out the sliding door and adjust the wheels up or down if the door doesn't slide freely.

Troubleshooting Removing a Sliding Screen Door

Bottom Rollers Are Raised, But the Door Still Won't Come Out

If raising the bottom rollers doesn't help, then lower the top roller wheels as well. This should give you a little extra clearance.

Bottom Rollers Are Stuck in Place and Won't Raise

If the adjustment screws won't turn, squirt some rust penetrant on the screws and then try again. If the screws do turn but the rollers won't raise, it often helps to exert downward pressure on the door while turning the screws.

Screen Door Is in Danger of Twisting Out of Shape

The key way to avoid distorting the door frame is to keep each corner of the door as close to parallel as possible. If one free corner is pulled far out, yet the other corner is still locked into the track, the door may twist and become damaged.

Removing the screen door with an assistant helps prevent damage. Using two putty knives, you can free the corners simultaneously so that both bottom corners leave the track at the same time.

Screen Door Rolls Poorly After Replacement

As long as the rollers are freely turning, the problem may be with alignment. Some rollers fit inside of a grooved track, while other models have rollers that ride on top of a track (much like train wheels). So, the rollers need to be in or on the right track.

Another problem is when one roller is in or on the proper track but the other roller is on a different track. Bring both wheels into alignment on the same track.


Whenever you have the screen door removed, use this opportunity to vacuum out debris from the lower roller wheels and apply lubricating oil. Also vacuum out the lower track and clean it with a damp cloth and mild detergent.

When to Call a Professional

Removing a sliding screen door is very much a do-it-yourself activity. But you may decide to call a door or window company to avoid the risk of damaging the door since replacement doors are fairly expensive.