How to Fix Sliding Patio Doors

Written by etta mills-macdonald
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Patio doors should slide easily on their tracks. If yours is starting to stick when you open and close it, then it's time to take it apart and do some maintenance. Dirt and debris clogging the tracks are the most common problem, but slider door parts do wear out over time and require replacement. Set aside a half day or so to complete this job, preferably in warmer weather. If possible, pre-purchase a set of replacement door rollers for the model number of your door before you start the job.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Pair of sawhorses or a sturdy table
  • Flathead and Phillips screwdrivers
  • Portable vacuum cleaner
  • Small wire brush
  • Steel wool
  • Replacement rollers
  • Silicone spray lubricant
  • Paste wax

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Prepare the work area. Lay padding across the top of your work surface. Take down all window coverings, and secure pets in a separate room of your home. The door will be heavy, so make sure you have someone nearby to help you lift it.

  2. 2

    Remove the sliding door panel from the frame, leaving the stationary panel in place. Many slider panels can simply be lifted out by grasping the unit firmly and raising it until the bottom edge clears the top of the door track. Some doors need the roller adjustment screws loosened before removal. If your door has a head stop in the top of the frame, have a friend support the door panel while you remove the head stop. Lay the door across your work surface.

  3. 3

    Remove and inspect the roller assemblies. There should be one on each end of the bottom edge of the door panel. Some are held in place with friction and can be gently pried out, while others have adjustment screws securing them that will need to be loosened. If they're fairly clean, assume that their ball bearings are worn out and install replacements.

  4. 4

    Clean the track in the bottom of the door frame. Scrub it with a wire brush, buff it with steel wool, and vacuum up the debris.

  5. 5

    Lubricate all moving parts. Spray the rollers with silicone-based lubricant that won't attract dirt. Put a coat of paste wax on the door track.

  6. 6

    Reinstall the slider panel. Lift the door up into the top channel on the frame and gently lower it onto the door track. If your unit has a head stop, have your partner hold the door in place while you reinstall the stop.

  7. 7

    Adjust the rollers. Slide the door to within one-half inch of the latch side of the frame. Turn the adjusting screws until the edge of the door is perfectly parallel with the frame. Make sure the door latches securely.

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