how to fix a sliding glass door

How to Fix a Sliding Glass Door?

Budging your malfunctioning sliding door open requires a lot of energy. Especially if you’ve negligible upper body strength. 

Trust me, it gets tiring real fast. That’s why you might be wondering,“ how to fix a sliding glass door?”

First things first, go check the alignment of your track and door. Then, clean your sliding track. If the problem persists, straighten the bent track. In case this doesn’t work, repair/ replace the rollers. Look into the latch and seal as well. Supposing all else fails, just get a new sliding glass door.

Now, these were just some basic instructions. To properly fix your sliding door, why don’t you read our segment below?

Tricks To Fixing Your Sliding Glass Door Issues

Like any machine, sliding glass doors need proper maintenance. So if you’re wondering why they aren’t working properly, it’s probably your fault. 

Now don’t get all riled up. Because we’ve come to your rescue. So let’s map out the problems and solutions for your sliding glass door.

Improper Door Alignment

It’s pretty easy for doors to get off track. Especially for sliding doors. Considering its importance, there’s not enough attention paid to it.

But it’s actually pretty simple to tell if the door isn’t closing straight. So if you want the door to move properly. Let’s look into the remedy for this.

Solutions

Don’t just go push the door to the center with all your might. Slowly, lift your door a little above the track.

Once it’s elevated, try putting it back to the middle of the track. How can you tell you’ve put it in the right position?

Well, it’s simple really-

Just slide your door, left to right. If it opens and closes properly, that’s about it. Your problem is solved.

Although, things are never as simple as this. Thus, we’ve got to move forward with our segment.

Who knows, your problem might be explained next!

Loose Sliding Door Handle

Now you can’t open any door without a handle. That’s pretty obvious. And a sliding door handle is no exception.

A broken handle definitely won’t help in sliding your door open. So what are your options, in this case?

Solutions

A handle is usually attached to the door using screws. So the first step would be to get a screwdriver. Depending on the screw slot, you’ll either need a flathead or a Phillips screwdriver.

If the handle is somewhat detached, you’ll just have to tighten the screws. But make sure you don’t overdo it. As that might backfire massively.

Just do it enough so that the handle is properly attached to the door. And that you can pull or push it without having it come off.

In case you’ve got newer models of sliding doors, the same method will work. Since they’ll probably also be attached by mounting screws.

However, it can be that your handle can’t be fixed at all. Well, then you’ll have to replace it. 

This time get yourself a new and improved handle. So that you can open and close your sliding door effortlessly.

Unclean Tracks

You’ve probably seen dust settling on your tracks for a while now. Well, over time, that grime builds up and acts as a barrier. It doesn’t even let your sliding door move smoothly.

Now you’ll probably have to scrub it off. But how do you ensure that it’s completely spotless?

Solutions

Now you can either go the lazy route. Which is budging your door open and vacuuming the half-exposed track. Reach deep into the corners as well. You can even use a screwdriver to scrape off the dirt.

But, that won’t contribute much to properly fixing your door.

For extensive deep cleaning, you’ve got to take the door off the track. Now, this can be an hour-long process. But it’s well worth the effort! 

Before that, you need to gather some essential tools :

  •  Wire Brush
  • Silicone Based Lubricant
  • Liquid Soap & Water/ Non- Abrasive Cleaner
  • Rag or Cloth
  • Phillips Screwdriver or
  • Flathead Screwdriver

Once you’ve gotten all your things in order. Let’s slide into the steps.

Step 1: Prying off Adjustment Screws

The adjustment screws of any sliding door are usually located at the bottom. These screws are mainly used to change the height of the door’s rollers. 

At first glance, you might not notice the screws. Since they can be covered with similar colored plugs. Just use the tip of our finger or the screwdriver to remove it. 

Finally, you’ll have access to the screws. In case, your door has a feature stop, screw that off first. At that point, the door mostly loose. So make someone hold the door upright for you.

Next, check what slots the adjustment screws have. Use a Phillips or a flathead screwdriver accordingly to remove the screws. The door will slowly lower itself onto the track.

Step 2: Getting the Door off the Track

You’ll have to ask someone for help at this point. Because they’ll have to remove the door from the track. Make sure to keep your glass door on a flat surface away from any problem areas.

It’s important that you keep it carefully. Otherwise, you may ruin your door even before fixing it.

And you’ll finally have the exposed track for you to work on.

Step 3: Cleaning the Track

To ensure all the grime is gone, take a spray bottle. Fill it with equal parts of water and liquid soap. Shake a bit and spray it onto the tracks. You could also use a non-abrasive cleaner for this as well.

With your other hand, rub the dirt off vigorously with a rag. If the grime is a little stubborn, scrub with your wire brush. Once you’re happy with the results, wipe the track once more. 

Finally, you’ll see the shine coming back to your tracks. 

Now, just because you’ve done it once. That doesn’t mean you can just slack off once more. Continue this process on a weekly basis. You’ll definitely see an improvement. 

Moreover, use a silicone lubricant to ensure the best sliding door experience. For that, just spray some on the tracks.

Crooked or Bent Sliding Track

You might be getting tired of reading about issues regarding door tracks. Trust me, we were too! But these tracks are arguably the most important aspect of sliding doors.

So in case, they’re bent out of shape, your door won’t budge. It’s unlikely that you’ll be notice the deformed track. Especially while the sliding panel is attached.

Before you put your door back into the track. Take a step back and check your track alignment. There should be equal space between the inner & outer track.

Solutions

If it seems off to you, take a pair of pliers to straighten your track. This method usually works for both inward and outward bends.

For outward bends, you can even use your rubber mallet. Or lightly tap it with a hammer. 

You’ll surely see the tracks are back in shape.

In case, it’s irreparable. Well, you’ve just got to replace your sliding door track. Although, that sounds simple. It’s possible you’re better off getting a professional for this.

But in case you’re a DIY enthusiast, you should go for it!

Old or Rusty Rollers

Now since your track may be perfect as is. Why don’t you inspect the rollers as well? 

You see rollers are victims of wear and tear. They often get rusty over time. This means that whenever you slide the door, the rollers don’t move.

Well, if you see dirty rollers, you know why you’re in this dilemma.

Solutions

If you’ve placed your door on a workbench. You’re already a step ahead. It’s essential that you handle your door properly. So any flat elevated surface will do the job. 

After keeping it, use your screwdriver to unscrew the roller unit. Once the rollers are out, slowly pull them towards you. 

Sometimes they can be stuck inside the doorframe. In that case, either force your screwdriver into the gap. Or tap the frame with a rubber mallet. 

Finally, you should be able to force the roller units out. Clean them up using rubbing alcohol. This ensures that they’re not rusty anymore. 

If they’re too dirty, non-abrasive cleaner or denatured alcohol can be of use. 

Then check if the rollers are broken or not. If they are, unfortunately, you’ll have to replace the rollers. To do so, always buy rollers that are compatible with your door.

However, if you’re happy with your rollers, put them back in. Then either place them inside the frame carefully. Or get your rubber mallet to hammer them in. 

Screw back the rollers in. So that the adjustment screws retract them back inside.

You’ll see that your rollers are moving about without any hesitation. 

Since the rollers are good to go. Let’s see what other parts of the door might be an issue.

Damaged Latch

You might be wondering what is this latch we’re talking about. Why is it important? 

Well, a latch basically locks your sliding door in place. If it’s broken, your door will never close properly. As a result, a small gap may be peeking out.

This could let heat out of your house, without you even knowing. Or it can even allow intruders into your home. Now how can we identify that our latch is faulty?

Inspect whether the latch and the strike plate are lined up. If not then, you’re in trouble. Another thing that might happen is the latch won’t lock or is jammed up. So the mechanism won’t move at all.

Now that you’re aware of how latches are essential. Let’s get on to fixing it.

Solutions

If the problem lies in the alignment of the strike plate and latch. Just move the latch up and down. In case, that requires a little more force than usual, spray a lubricant.

That’ll definitely help you lock and unlock it.

Another issue might be that latch still isn’t working. In that case, unscrew the latch out and check it. Now, if you’re looking to replace the lock, leave the old strike plate. But only if you’re using the same lock model.

For a different model, leave the place empty. Then drill in the new strike plate after taking the measurements.

Get a new lock of your own. Now all you have to do is follow the installation manual. And you’ll be good to go.

Detached Weatherstripping or Seal

One of the main functions of your sliding door is to keep out the outside environment. Now, this function falls upon your weatherstrip. Which is usually found attached at the side of your door. 

A loose strip will mostly make it hard for you to close your door properly. 

There will always be a tiny opening between the door and the frame. This will allow cold gushes of air into your home.

I’m guessing that’s not ideal, especially in the grueling winter.

Solutions

If that’s the case, definitely pry out the strip using your screwdriver.  Or slide in a steak/ putty knife to scrape it out. Once the strip is barely hanging, just pull it a little. 

In case of any remaining residue, clean it out using your rag. 

Take out your brand new weatherstripping. Then go through the instruction manual for proper installation. 

Screw in the flange on the side of the door. Then use any plastic adhesive to attach the jamb-side of the strip. If the glue sticks on somewhere, just use some rubbing alcohol on it.

In case of any mess up, your rag will come to the rescue. You’ll be astonished when you see your door looking brand new.

Worn Out Sliding Glass Door

Now, you’ve finally checked all the components of the sliding door. And nothing seems amiss. However, you’re forgetting the most important part: the door itself.

If you’ve used this sliding door for years, its time may have come. To go to garage scrap heaven. In that case, there’s nothing you can do.

You can just opt for brand new sliding doors. 

Although, an average sliding door contraption lasts about 30 years. If it’s been maintained properly.

It might also be that your door has been through a lot. Maybe, you don’t clean it as often. Or you’ve somehow chipped the door.

In any case, here’s what you should do.

Solutions

If the door’s just looking a little rusty, why don’t you clean that off? Put some denatured alcohol on a rag and wipe it meticulously. That’ll probably get your rust off. 

Spray on some more lubrication on the track. For a better glide.

So it’s time to test it out by putting it back on track. First, you should place the door in its original position. Slowly align the door with the top of the frame. And let the lower half rest on the bottom track.

Now, go back to the adjustment screws and screw them in. Wait till the door is completely parallel with the track.

Once you feel the door click, slowly step back. Hold the door lightly to ensure it won’t fall over. Finally, once you’re sure it’s mounted, begin sliding your door.

In case, your sliding door still doesn’t work. The most obvious option you have is to replace the sliding door. You shouldn’t waste any time doing this. Especially if you see your door is beyond repair.

No one wants a squeaky rusty door!

Another thing that might happen is that your glass door may have cracked. This is likely if there’s been excessive force applied. Then you should just change the glass panels.

You could do this yourself. But you’ll definitely need a helping hand. Or you can opt for contacting a professional. Whatever decision you make, you’ll get a new sliding door.

Tips to Prevent Sliding Door Issues 

  •  Lubricating is the way to go with sliding doors. You’ve got to lubricate your track and rollers often. Or else, you’ll have to get used to the squeaky noise. Every time you open the door.
  • Obviously, keep your track neat and clean. Whenever you see any dirt accumulating, it’s time to vacuum it.
  • Install the best quality sliding door you can find. Don’t go for cheap alternatives just to save some cash. Shell out a bit of money for longer shelf life.
  • In areas with sub-zero temperatures, there’s a chance your track might get frozen. In that case, forcefully open the door.

Otherwise, you’ll probably damage it. So, wait for the temperature to decrease. Try one more time. It’ll probably work.

You’re probably on your way to fix your sliding door now. Well, let’s get to it!

FAQs

Question: Can you use wd40 on sliding glass door tracks?

Answer: Yes, you definitely can. Once you’ve removed the dirt from the tracks, spray some wd40. You can even spray it on the rollers. Because of wd40’s density, the formula sticks to the components. Thus, allowing the door’s smooth operation.

Question: How do you clean aluminum sliding door tracks?

Answer: Make a mixture of equal parts of vinegar and water. Pour it in a spray bottle and apply it on the track. As soon as you’re done spraying, clean the tracks with a cloth/rag.

Question: Can you replace the wheels on a sliding screen door?

Answer: Of course, you can. Just take out the old wheels. Then screw in some new ones. Your repair job will be done. And your sliding door will be good to go.

Parting Words

Well well, I guess you’ve finally learned how to fix a sliding door. Here’s an extra tidbit for you. Your old toothbrush can be for cleaning out the tracks. 

Instead of just throwing it away, get to scrubbing!

So is your sliding door running smoothly now? Let us know by commenting below.

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