How to remove sliding patio doors

Replacing a draughty, old sliding patio door can save money on your energy costs. Before installing a new door however, you will need to remove the existing sliding patio door. The sliding door consists of the moving door panel, a stationary panel and the door frame. You will need to remove the interior trim to access the securing nails between the door frame and your home. Take your time when removing the interior trim to avoid damaging the trim. Sliding patio doors are heavy and awkward. It is advisable to enlist the help of a friend when you are ready to remove the door.

Open the sliding panel and locate the two roller adjustment screws toward the bottom of the panel. Turn the adjustment screws counterclockwise with a Phillips-head screwdriver to raise the bottom rollers. The door panel will lower as you raise the wheels. If you have a headstop on the top of your door track, remove the screws securing the head-stop with the Phillips-head screwdriver. The head-stop is a piece of decorative trim that covers the inside edge of the top door frame.

Ask a friend to help lift the sliding door panel up into the upper track, and swing the bottom of the door panel toward you. Lower the door panel until it clears the upper track and set the panel out of your way.

Remove any screws and brackets securing the stationary panel to the door frame. Most often there will be an L-bracket between the edge of the stationary panel and the door track. There also may be a piece of trim on the lower track that runs the entire width of the opening. Remove the screws with the Phillips-head screwdriver, and remove the brackets and trim pieces.

Cut around the seam of the stationary panel where it contacts the door jamb with a utility knife. This will cut through any paint or caulk that is securing the panel to the jamb. Ask your helper to hold the side of the stationary panel while you pry it out of the opening. Insert a flat pry bar between the lower track and bottom of the stationary panel. Lift up on the panel, and pull the lower part of the panel toward you. Remove the panel completely from of the opening with the assistance of your helper.

Remove all of the inside trim around the perimeter of the door. Use the pry bar to lift the trim away from the wall enough that you can see the shaft of the nails. Carefully grab the nail shafts with the claw of your hammer or the pry bar and remove the trim from the wall.

Insert a bi-metal blade into your reciprocating saw and cut any nails securing the door frame to the walls and header. The bi-metal blade will cut through nails, wood and screws around the perimeter of the door frame.

Pry up the threshold of the door frame with the pry bar and a hammer. The threshold most likely will have glue securing it to the sill. You will need to use some force when prying the threshold. Lift the frame out of the opening with the assistance of your helper. Remove any protruding nails and excess shims from the opening prior to installing your new sliding door.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Helper
  • Utility knife
  • Flat pry bar
  • Hammer
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Bi-metal blade
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About the Author

Kenneth Crawford is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. His work has appeared in both print and online publications, including "The American Chronicle." Crawford holds an associate degree in business administration from Commonwealth College.