How to Fix Your Broken Storm-Door Handles (DIY)

How to replace a broken door handle

1. Remove the old broken door handle

1. Remove the old broken door handle

Remove the old storm-door handle by unscrewing the two screws that hold the two halves together.

2. Mark new hole locations

2. Mark new hole locations

Mark the door for the new hole locations using the template provided with the new door handle. Position the template so the new holes do not land over the existing holes.

3. Drill holes for new handle

3. Drill holes for new handle

Drill 1/8-in. pilot holes through the door at the locations you marked with the template. Then enlarge these holes to 5/16 in. by drilling halfway through the door from both sides with a 5/16-in. drill bit.

4. Assemble the door handle

4. Assemble the door handle

Assemble the door handle according to the instructions. Screw the two halves together with the machine screws provided. Start the screws by hand to make sure the threads are aligned before tightening them with a screwdriver

5. Attach the strike plate Close the door and hold the strike plate in position while you mark the screw slots. Remove the plate and drill 1/16-in. pilot holes in the center of each slot mark. Use the plastic shims provided to shim the plate if necessary. Then screw it to the door frame. Adjust the strike plate until the door latches firmly, then tighten the screws.

Broken storm-door handles are easy to replace if you buy the same kind, but upgrading to a top-quality brass handle as we’ve done takes a little extra work. At first glance, it appeared that this handle would fit in the old holes. A closer look at the instructions revealed that the handle had to be shifted slightly away from the edge of the door. Rather than attempt to enlarge the holes and risk a sloppy fit, we moved the handle down slightly and drilled new holes. The manufacturer had anticipated this problem and provided a cover plate to conceal the old holes on the inside of the door.

You’ll need a drill with 1/8-in. and 5/16-in. bits and a Phillips screwdriver to complete this job. We purchased the replacement handle at a large home center for about $24. There are a few different styles available. You can even buy a matching deadbolt if you like the idea of locking your storm door.

Problems With the Latch

If the door handle doesn’t engage with the latch, you can try removing it and adjusting the striker plate. Loosen the screws, remove the plate and reposition it. Screw it back in and test to see how well the door closes. If it does not operate smoothly, you can try readjusting the plate again.

Another common problem is when you find yourself needing to lift the latch to open it, which could be due to a problem in the initial installation, such as installing the latch upside down. Usually, you need to push down a screen door handle to open the door, so make sure that your latch was installed correctly; if not, remove it and install it the right way.

The last troubleshooting step to try is checking if the pushbutton sticks whenever the door is open. This sticking can happen when the retaining screws are too tight, but you also don’t want them to be too loose. Give them a half turn only and then try closing the door again.

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7. Cut the Excess Spline Screen

Before cutting the spline off the roll, I really s

Before cutting the spline off the roll, I really shoved the spline down into the 4 corners. This is essential to make sure it stays in place for years to come. I then grabbed some scissors and cut off the excess spline. 

So the spine was in place, but I was left with som

So the spine was in place, but I was left with some extra screening on all 4 sides. I took my utility knife and carefully cut the screening off. The easiest way to do this is to pull the excess screening away from the door as you slowly move the knife around the edges. 

4. Roll Out New Screening

With the old stuff trashed, it was time to roll ou

With the old stuff trashed, it was time to roll out some new screening. I rolled out the new screening along the entire length of the door, leaving a few extra inches on each side. Once it was rolled all the way across, I used a utility knife to cut it off the roll.  

DIY Tip: You can choose from a wide variety of scr

DIY Tip: You can choose from a wide variety of screenings at the hardware store. If you have pets, there are some pricier options that are thicker and more durable. We went with a basic one because we don’t have pets or kids. 

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