How to Fix a Sagging Screen Door

By: Julie Day
Back of house with deck and wood screen door.

I love the look and sound of an old-fashioned wooden screen door!

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!

Gap at top of sagging screen door.

Gap at top of sagging screen door.

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.

Tape measure, drill bits, cordless drill, and turnbuckle.

Tools and materials needed for screen door repair.

Materials Needed

  • 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

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

Turnbuckle positioned at bottom of screen door, handle side.

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.

Turnbuckle positioned on screen door, hinge side.

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

Using cordless drill to screw 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

Turning coupling nut to 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

Turnbuckle installed on screen door.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!

Bottom of screen door with turnbuckle installed.

Bottom of screen door with turnbuckle installed.

Now my screen door once again opens and closes easily, and the soothing slapping sound of summer has returned!

Further Information

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9 Comments on “How to Fix a Sagging Screen Door”

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  • Dave Says:
    June 3rd, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    You were lucky, my brand new screen door of the same model (Creekside) is sagging after only two days. The joints and dowels are not glued. The door product it self is as poorly made item as I have ever seen. The joints are either not flush or twisted and not even pulled together. They make tools for that you know? The joinery cuts are awful with blown out sections of wood in maybe half the joints. Dull blades on the shaper I guess. Then, how to finish with paint? You must remove the screen so as to brush all sections and edges. Upon reassemble the spline had shrunken by several inches, it is a hard smooth spline vs the normal soft ribbed spline. It would not stretch even after laying in the sun for half hour. Had to buy new. 165 spline. Terribly bummed about this item, knew better , but went with wife’s wishes. BTW, I had boughten a two pack of doors wrapped and couldn’t see the poor quality and craftsmanship. On a scale of A to F I am most happy to give the door a resounding F— !


  • Official Comment:


    Lindsay Hughes Says:
    March 22nd, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Glad it helped, Catherine!



  • Catherine Bowden Says:
    March 22nd, 2016 at 11:56 am

    THANKS SO MUCH: GREAT EASY TO UNDERSTAND INSTRUCTIONS. MY SCREEN DOOR NOW HANGS STRAIGHT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2 YEARS



  • Bob Heninger Says:
    March 8th, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Thank you!!!!! We’ve tried everything to fix this problem on the front and back screen doors!!!!!



  • mark Says:
    November 14th, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    @Doug: Yes, screen should be on the inside. Generally the inside isn’t quite as “presentable” as the other side (staples or rubber and groove that holds the screen). Plus if someone pushes the against the screen from the inside, the screen pushes against the wood. If the screen is on the outside, pushing the screen from inside pushes it AWAY from the wood, causing it to loosen/sag/bulge/etc more quickly.



  • Doug Says:
    September 19th, 2015 at 8:11 am

    You have your screen door with the screen in. Mine is with screen out. Was that a mistake? And can I install the turnbuckle on the inside (not the screen side)?



  • Steven Harrison Says:
    August 20th, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Turnbuckle. I had forgotten the name of that material I needed. Thanks as well for the refresher on the repair instructions. I’ve been procrastinating fixing my screen door. Thanks for sharing!



  • elaine leach Says:
    July 5th, 2015 at 8:56 am

    The top of the wooden screen door is sticking. Should I install the brace across the top section in this case?



  • Ed Says:
    June 23rd, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    all well and good, but letting the door slam tends to loosen the turnbuckle. How do you keep this from happening? Would a lock nut do it?


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