The sliding glass doors that lead to your balcony, patio, or other outdoor areas should glide smoothly over their tracks. When they don’t, it just adds to the little annoyances that life is full of sometimes. Sticky doors and windows are definitely frustrating. Here’s a step by step guide to getting your sliding glass doors to roll along effortlessly just like the day you moved in.
The usual culprit is dirt in the tracks or the rollers themselves. It’s not difficult to take the door apart and clean it out, but it will take some muscle and a helper. Sliders are very heavy so that’s where the helper will come in handy to aid you in moving the door around carefully so you don’t break it or yourself.
- Sawhorses or somewhere to put the door when you remove it
- Wood block
- Putty knife
- Screwdriver (flathead type)
- Pliers (needle nose type)
- Drop cloth (blanket or other floor covering will work)
- Silicone spray
Go to work!
1) Put the drop cloth on the floor to protect it.
2) Find the plugs that cover the adjustment screws. There should be two near the bottom of the door.
3) With the screwdriver, turn the adjustment screws counter clockwise as far as they will go. This is how you retract the rollers. The door will drop to a lower position.
4) Set up the sawhorses with blankets or pads on top to protect the glass.
5) Remove the window dressings and lay them aside.
6) Slide it open all the way.
7) Back the screws out of the overhead stop. The door will be free of the frame at this point and will fall if no one is holding it.
8) Let the top of the door fall gently toward you. Lift it out of the tracks. Set it down outside on the sawhorses or in a safe place.
TIP: Sliding doors are VERY heavy. Be prepared to deal with it by having someone ready to help you hold and carry it safely. Knees bent, lift with your legs, & enlist the help of a friend.
9) Check the rollers. With the flathead screwdriver, pry the rollers from the bottom of the door. They should be loose as they are only held in place with gravity and the weight of the door.
10) Replace bent or broken rollers with new ones. Dirty wheels should be cleaned with alcohol (denatured). Spray with silicone spray.
11) Using the block for protection, tap the wheels back into place with the screw and access hole aligned. Tap with the hammer. Then retract the wheels to the maximum position.
12) Clean out the top (head) track with alcohol and spray it with silicone.
13) Vacuum out the bottom tracks to remove debris. Clean the track with alcohol and a rag. Silicone can be sprayed in the track.
TIP: Using a paraffin wax block to rub wax into the bottom track will give you the best results.
14) Check the weather stripping all the way around the door. Replace any that’s cracked, torn, or very worn.
15) To take out the weather stripping use the screwdriver, putty knife, and pliers to remove the staples and strips. Staples you can’t remove should be flattened with a hammer. Where adhesive remains, scrape it off.
16) Put in the new stripping starting where the fixed panel meets the slider. Follow instructions on the package to face the stripping the right way. Install the top side stripping, and then secure the flange at the edge of the door.
17) Drill 1/8” pilot holes where the flange strips will overlap on the fixed panel. Do the same on the sliding panel. They should overlap and interlock when you install them to create a good seal.
18) Use plastic adhesive to glue the strip on the jamb side to the door. You can wipe away fingerprints with alcohol.
19) Lower the sliding panel back onto the track from the inside. Place the bottom of the door into the track first, and then tilt the door up and into place. Steady the door by letting it lean on you. Here’s another step that’s easier with a friend. Put the head stop back in and secure the door.
20) Close the door until there’s a half inch between it and the latch jamb. Set the roller screws to adjust the rollers to a parallel with the jamb.
21) Loosen the screws on the receiver if necessary and adjust the plate until the latch and receiver meet.
Your rolling door should now slide open and closed with ease. That’s one of life’s minor irritations to check off your list for now.
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