Sliding glass doors are heavy, but they should glide easily in their tracks with just a push of your hand. If you struggle with a door that gets stuck in its tracks or gets off track—getting it back on track can be easier than you think.
Sliding door repair can be a matter of a few simple adjustments, some basic maintenance and possibly replacing track wheels.
A problematic door could also be due to underlying structural problems with faulty framing or a rotting doorsill, which would require greater expertise. But if your sliding door is not too old, work on making the roller wheels more functional. You can usually solve sliding door problems by replacing worn out roller track wheels, or simply adjusting and cleaning existing ones.
Sliding Door Repair Strategy #1—Clean the Track and Adjust the Track Wheels
Adjusting the position of the bottom track wheels, along with cleaning the track might be all you need to do for successful sliding door repair.
Wipe the bottom track clean, using mineral spirits to remove any oil-based substances, which tend to impede wheel movement.
Adjust the roller track wheels on each side to lower or raise the weight of the door. Use a Philips head screwdriver to turn the adjusting screws at the side or bottom of the door. Turning counterclockwise lowers the door and clockwise raises it.
If simple adjustments won’t work, you will need to remove the door to work more precisely with the roller track wheels.
Sliding Door Repair Strategy #2—Remove the Door to Clean and Adjust Track Wheels
Dirt and grime clogging wheels is a leading cause of sticking sliding doors. If simple wheel adjustments don’t work, remove the sliding door to fully clean the wheels before adjusting. If you carefully remove the sliding door from its tracks, you will likely see worn, dirty or misaligned rollers.
Most sliding glass doors readily remove from the tracks—but take care. Use assistance if necessary since doors can be heavy and stick. To remove—lift up the whole door so its top rail reaches into the empty framing space above—which allows you to swing the whole door out toward you from the bottom track. If clearance is blocked at the bottom of the door by a lip or track wheels, then move wheels up inside the rail frame by turning the adjusting screws at the side or bottom of the door clockwise.
With the door carefully laid across pads and sawhorses, you can see the condition of the roller track wheels. If track wheels are in good condition, clean them with denatured alcohol and lubricate with a silicone spray to keep away dirt. To make re-installation smoother, adjust the wheels, with the adjusting screws, to be up inside the doorframe. Then readjust accordingly once the door is in place.
Sliding Door Repair Strategy #3—Remove the Door and Replace Faulty Track Wheels
If after taking down the sliding door, the track wheels look worn-down or damaged, then they need to be replaced. Remove a track wheel to take with you to a hardware store to find a matching replacement. You can release the wheels by completely removing the adjustment screws on either side of the door.
Install the new wheels to be positioned up inside the doorframe. Then readjust them accordingly once the sliding door is back in place.
Sliding Door Repair Alternative
If the door tracks are damaged, you will need to replace the entire door system. Up-to-date ball bearing sliding door systems are affordable and functional.
A sliding door that sticks is frustrating and nonfunctional. Sliding door repair—or even a whole new system is a straightforward and affordable process for getting back on track.
• You can usually solve sliding door problems by replacing worn out roller track wheels, or simply adjusting and cleaning existing ones.
• Adjusting the position of the bottom track wheels, along with cleaning the track might be all you need to do for successful sliding door repair.
• To adjust roller track wheels, turn the adjusting screws at the side or bottom of the door.
• Dirt and grime clogging wheels is a leading cause of sticking sliding doors.
• If simple wheel adjustments don’t work, remove the sliding door to clean wheels before adjusting them.
• To remove a sliding door: lift up the whole door so the top rail reaches into the empty framing above—allowing you to swing the whole door out toward you from the bottom track.
• If track wheels are not worn out, clean them with denatured alcohol and lubricate with a silicone spray to keep away dirt.
• If track wheels look worn out after removing the door, remove a wheel to find new matching wheels at a hardware store.
• To make sliding door reinstallation easier, adjust wheels up inside the doorframe and then readjust accordingly after door is in place.
• Sliding door repair is a straightforward process. If your door is too old, a whole new door system is affordable.
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