Steps // How to Repair Your Sliding Door
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Step 1: Lower the door

 
Step One // How to Repair Your Sliding Door

Step 1: Lower the door

remove the sliding door
Photo by John Gruen

Lay a drop cloth on the floor and pop off the two plugs covering the roller adjustment screws at the bottom of the sliding-door frame. These are sometimes located in the edges of the door.

Insert a flathead screwdriver into each hole and turn the screw counterclockwise all the way. This retracts the rollers, lowering the door.

 
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Step 2: Remove the head stop

 
Step Two // How to Repair Your Sliding Door

Step 2: Remove the head stop

removing the sliding door
Photo by John Gruen

Outside, set up a couple of sawhorses with pads. Take down any removable grilles, shades, or drapes.

Slide the door fully open and remove the head stop by backing out its screws. Do not leave the door unattended after this point; without a stop, it can fall.

 
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Step 3: Remove the bottom track

 
Step Three // How to Repair Your Sliding Door

Step 3: Remove the bottom track

removing the sliding door
Photo by John Gruen

Standing inside, lean the top of the sliding-door panel toward you and lift it off the bottom track. (You may need to recruit a helper for this step, as the door can be heavy and unwieldy.) Set the panel on the sawhorses.

 
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Step 4: Check the roller assemblies and clean the wheels

 
Step Four // How to Repair Your Sliding Door

Step 4: Check the roller assemblies and clean the wheels

sliding door tracks
Photo by John Gruen

Use a flathead screwdriver to gently pry each roller from its pocket in the bottom of the door. (Rollers are typically held in by friction and the weight of the door.) If they are bent or broken, replace them with new roller assemblies.

Scrape any dirt from the wheels, then clean them with denatured alcohol and a rag. Lubricate the wheels with silicone spray, which doesn't hold dirt.

Reinstall the rollers by aligning the adjustment screw of each one with its access hole and tapping in the assemblies with a hammer. Use a wood block to protect the wheels. Once the rollers are seated, retract them as far as possible.

 
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Step 5: Clean and lubricate the tracks

 
Step Five // How to Repair Your Sliding Door

Step 5: Clean and lubricate the tracks

waxing the sliding door tracks
Photo by John Gruen

Wipe the head track and the outside face of the removed head stop with alcohol, then spray them with silicone.

Vacuum any loose debris from the bottom track, then clean it thoroughly with alcohol. The bottom track needs a more substantial lubricant than silicone; rub it a few times with a block of paraffin wax.

 
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Step 6: Replace damaged weatherstripping

 
Step Six // How to Repair Your Sliding Door

Step 6: Replace damaged weatherstripping

replace weatherstripping on sliding glass doors
Photo by John Gruen

To replace torn or cracked weatherstripping where the sliding and fixed panels overlap, loosen its staples with a flathead screwdriver, then grab one end and pull it and the staples off the door, prying gently with a putty knife.

Remove any remaining staples with pliers. Sink the broken ones with a hammer.

The strip on the jamb side is generally glued on. If it's damaged, pull it off and scrape the adhesive residue with a putty knife, taking care not to mar the finish.

Where the sliding panel's frame overlaps the fixed panel, orient the new weatherstripping with its flap facing as indicated on the instructions. Align the top end with the shadow line of the head stop and secure the flange tightly along the door's edge.

Drill a 1/8-inch-diameter pilot hole at each of the holes in the flange and drive in the provided screws. Do the same on the fixed panel so the two strips interlock.

Glue the jamb-side strip in place with a plastic adhesive. Clean any smudges and fingerprints with alcohol.

 
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Step 7: Repair the screen

 
Step Seven // How to Repair Your Sliding Door

Step 7: Repair the screen

stapling screening to the frame
Photo by Kolin Smith

If the screen door is sagging or wrinkled, remove the screen, then lay the door frame on a flat work surface and slip a 1x4 block under each end. Clamp down the middle of the door to put a slight bow in the frame.

Attach a new screen to one end of the frame with staples or a rubber spline. Move to the other end, pull the screen snug and flat—but not too tight—and fasten it. Release the clamps, and the door frame will pull the screen tight as it straightens. Secure the screen sides to the frame.

 
8 ×

Step 8: Reinstall the door

 
Step Eight // How to Repair Your Sliding Door

Step 8: Reinstall the door

replacing weatherstripping on a sliding door
Photo by John Gruen

Set the door back on the bottom track and tilt it up. Brace the door with your body and reattach the head stop. (Don't leave the door unattended until the stop is installed.)

Roll the door to within a half-inch of the latch-side jamb, then turn the roller adjustment screws until the door is parallel to the jamb. If the latch doesn’t mate with its receiver on the jamb, adjust the receiver by loosening its screws and moving the plate up or down.

 
 

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