How to Re-Screen a Retractable Screen Door

Do you have a screen door that needs a new screen?  Is it damaged?  Or just old?  Whilst you can call in a company to do this for you it’s not that difficult and you could have a go at it yourself and save the money.

Firstly, you need to obtain a new screen to put into the door, and it needs to fit.  Take a look at the manual, that may have instructions for replacement but even if it doesn’t it should give you the make and model of your screen door and maybe even the component number of the part you need to order.  If you can’t find the manual – and let’s face it who can?  Then your best source of information is the door itself.  Most have the name on them somewhere even if they don’t have the model number, but with the name, and carefully measured dimensions you should be able to make sure that you can source the correct part.

So, once you have the replacement screen or screen cartridge off we go –

You will know if you installed it yourself, but the screen door works in exactly the same way as a spring-tensioned window shade.  The spring which is inside the roll turns, and creates tension which means you can open and shut the screen door.

What you need for the job:

  • The correct replacement screen door screen
  • Screwdriver
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Masking tape

Check out your current door – do you pull the handle all the way to the sill to close it?  If so you need to remove the tracks from the housing on the door to replace the screen component.

  • Take the screws out of the screen door using a screwdriver (the correct type and size!) and remove the retractable screen door from the housing which is on the wall.
  • This is a great tip – pop the screws onto the masking tape so that they don’t roll away and get lost.
  • Take the screws off of both the bottom and the top housing if necessary and then pull the tracks off of the casing.
  • This work is done much better on a flat, large enough surface
  • Locate the Right-hand side of the retractable screen housing, it may even be marked up, and take the screw from that end.  Then take them from the left pull handle endcap.
  • Remove the left-hand pull handle end cap.
  • Being very careful, slide the pull handoff of the old retractable screen end spline.
  • Remove the broken or damaged screen roll from within the housing.
  • Still being very careful not to damage anything you need to remove the ball bearing, or the plastic gear from the screen roll end – remove it by gripping with the needle nosed pliers and pulling it off of the pin on the end of the roll.  If your particular screen roll does not have either you skip this step.
  • Check out the new screen door roll that you are fitting – you need to fit the ball bearing or the plastic gearing to the new screen door roll (if you have that mechanism in your door).
  • Locate the tension pin – it’s a square shape – on the end of your new roll.
  • Using a fixed object to brace the door housing if that makes it easier, and insert the square tension pin you just found into the slot on the inside of the cap at the left while making sure that the opposite end is higher.
  • Turn the roll 9 times, clockwise to wind up the spring which is in the inside of the door and create tension.  This should not be difficult!  If you are finding it won’t roll don’t use brute force, you will break something, re-adjust and have another go at it.  It should wind fairly easily, you are only going against a spring tensioner.
  • Replace the right-hand end cap and the round pin – attach the right end cap loosely with just one screw for now.
  • Remove the tape – holding the screen door end onto the screen door roll let out about 18 inches of screen door.
  • Wrap the end of the screen door around the housing twice and set it down so it stays in place.
  • Now, on the right-hand end attach the second screw and firmly attach back onto the housing.
  • The pull handle needs sliding onto the spline which is located on the screen door’s free end.
  • Put the end cap from the left pull handle onto the handle and attach that back with screws.
  • Carefully (again) unwrap the screen housing and ensure that it is between the side edge of the housing and the flange on the edge of the end cap on the right-hand side.  You can make adjustments at this stage.
  • If you removed the screen track then thread that back on – it should lie flat against the back of the screen housing.
  • Using screws put the screen track back onto the housing
  • Reattach the screen door to the wall.

If the screen does not move smoothly then try loosening the housing screws a quarter of a turn.  If you overtighten you will not get a good slide.

There, that sounds harder than it is, if you take it to step by step and follow instructions then there is no reason why you cannot re-screen a retractable screen door very successfully.


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