When it comes to keeping your house in tip-top shape, nothing can be more annoying than a sliding glass door that won’t slide. After all, what’s the purpose of having a beautiful glass door that leads out to a picturesque backyard if the darn thing takes three NFL linebackers to slide it open? So having personally experienced such sliding glass door angst, I decided to write this article to inform you on the number 1 reason why your sliding glass door won’t slide – and what you can do about it!
The number 1 reason why your sliding glass door won’t side is because too much dirt and debris have clogged up the wheels and the track of your door panel. This is not a hard fix, but because most sliding glass doors are quite heavy, it is best if you have another person present to help you. The first step is to examine how your sliding glass door is fixed to the track. The majority of sliding glass doors have a strip that runs along the top of the frame that holds the doors in vertical alignment, positioning the wheels to fit neatly over the sliding track. To begin, let’s use a simple screwdriver to remove that strip at the top. Once the strip is removed, slowly tilt the door out of the frame, then remove it out of the frame all-together. Turn the door on its side and examine the wheels at the bottom of the door. Remember, some sliding glass doors can be upwards of 90 pounds, so either acquire some help or be very confident in your physical ability.
Once the door is on its side, you can closely examine the wheels and the track. Most commonly, you will find the wheels are full of soot and debris, and the track is also likely very dirty. To clean the wheels, use compressed air and needle tip pliers. Be careful to pull every last hair out of the wheel bearings. It is wise to be diligent in this step, so you don’t have to make a habit of this process. Once the wheels are completely clean, spray a little bit of penetrating oil into the wheel bearings, spinning the wheel as you apply the oil. (The best choice for the oil is DuPont’s Teflon non-stick dry film lubricant. )#) It is equally important to clean the track that the wheels rest on. Use damp paper towels to remove the grit and dirt, and then spray the penetrating oil along the track so it is well-applied. Use a clean paper towel to ensure it is evenly applied.
While you’re at it, clean up all the “mating-edges” of the door. This is where the sliding door meets with any other surface of the door frame. A general rule of thumb is to simply wipe down anything that looks dirty. Remember, even if the dirt is not necessarily in the track itself, it can eventually fall to the track causing your door to require another wipe down. If you notice any mating edges that feel sticky, take a paper towel and spray some oil into it, then wipe the oil onto the sticky surfaces.
After you’ve done all this, reinstall the door. You should notice right away that the door is much easier to slide, and should require significantly less effort. If for any reason the door is still difficult to roll, it is likely one of the following reasons: either your wheels are completely burned out, or your sliding glass door is sitting too high on the track, and is thus hitting the top plate of the door frame. If your wheels are burned out, unfortunately you’ll have to call the manufacture of your sliding glass door and request new wheels. If, on the other hand, your door is hitting the top plate of your door frame, you can adjust this by finding the screw holes at the very bottom of you sliding glass door. On most sliding glass doors, there are two screws which can be turned with either a flathead screwdriver or an alan wrench. Turn to the right to raise the door, or turn to the left to lower the door.