How to Fix a Sticking Sliding Glass Door

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Few things are as frustrating as a sticky sliding glass door! I’ve had this problem at my house since we moved in and I’m a little embarrassed to admit how long I put off tackling it for, but I finally got around to fixing it and I thought I’d share with you how it’s done in case you have a similar problem around your house but aren’t sure how to go about fixing it.

STEP #1: TRY ADJUSTING THE ADJUSTMENT SCREWS

Adjustment screw concealed within the door panel frame.

The first thing to check and the easiest thing to deal with is a door that just needs adjusting. Sometimes a door just needs a slight adjustment in order to function properly. Try adjusting the roller assemblies on your door to see if the wheels just need to be lowered or raised in order for the door to slide. In most cases these screws are located on either end of the sliding door frame; however, there are some instances when the adjustment screws are on the face of the door. Just depends on the manufacturer of your door. Sometimes the adjustment screws are inside the frame itself and you’ll need to stick a screwdriver through the hole in the frame to access them. (See image above) If you’ve tried to adjust the screws and nothing happens, you’re in for a little bit more work.

STEP #2: IDENTIFY THE TYPE OF DOOR YOU HAVE

Although the repair process is similar for most types of sliding glass doors, there are slight differences in repairing the various types. Newer vinyl doors, and most wood doors can be fixed a little bit easier than older aluminum framed doors for example. In the video above, I walk you through how to fix an old aluminum frame sliding glass door.

STEP #3: DISASSEMBLE THE DOOR

Since adjusting the screws didn’t work and now that you’ve identified the type of door you have, it’s time to take it apart. From the outside, start by removing the screen door (if you have one). Pick up on the door and lift it from the track, use something to pry the wheels up and out of the track if needed. A putty knife or even a driver’s license or credit card could work for this.

Next you’ll need to remove the fixed glass door. *You may need an extra set of hands to help you remove the glass panels depending on how heavy your doors are…don’t hurt yourself* The fixed glass door holds the sliding panel in place so it has to be removed first. To do this, check the inside of the frame for any screws, brackets, etc that are attaching the fixed glass panel to the door frame and remove them. In the video above, you’ll see there were 2 screws securing the fixed glass panel to the door frame. How your door is secured may vary based on manufacturer and door type. With the screws/brackets removed, pull the fixed glass panel from the side of the frame towards the middle of the door, lift, and swing the bottom out of the frame and then remove the whole door panel.

Lastly, remove the sliding glass door panel. To do this, lift and swing the bottom out towards the outside and then remove it. Place the door on an elevated level work surface like a set of saw horses, a table, or a workbench.

STEP#4: REMOVE AND REPLACE ROLLER ASSEMBLIES

Removing the set screw that secures the roller assembly and frame together. 

Removing the set screw that secures the roller assembly and frame together.

Next you’ll need to remove your roller assemblies and replace them. This is where the type of door you have makes a big difference. If you have a newer vinyl or wood door, you may just be able to remove a screw and pull the roller assembly from the door. However, if you have an aluminum door like I did, you’ll need to actually slide the frame out of the way to access the roller assembly and remove it. To do that you have to remove the screws holding the frame in place, and using a rubber mallet, gently hit the door frame up and out of the way. No seriously, I’m telling you to hit your sliding glass door with a mallet. Sounds crazy, I know but it works! Watch the video above to show you what I mean.

Once you have the roller assemblies out, bring one with you to your local hardware store and buy a matching one to replace it. There are A LOT of different options and types of rollers. Bring your old one with you so you can verify you’re getting exactly the right one.

A look at some of the roller assembly options that are out there. 

A look at some of the roller assembly options that are out there.

Put the new roller assemblies back in in reverse to the way you removed them and slide the frame back in place (if needed). Secure the roller assemblies and the frame back together with the screws you previously removed.

STEP #5: THOROUGHLY CLEAN THE DOOR TRACK

With the track completely empty, now is a great time to clean it and get rid of any dirt, debris, pet hair, etc that could inhibit your doors movement in the future. I recommend using a shop vac to get out the large debris and then use a wet paper towel or sponge to get out any remaining dirt and small particles.

STEP #6: REASSEMBLE AND TEST MOVEMENT

Testing the motion of the door after re-installation.

Testing the motion of the door after re-installation.

All that’s left to do is put everything back together and test the movement of your door. Starting with your sliding glass panel this time, put it back in place in the track and make sure the new wheels line up on the track. Test the movement of the door. If it’s not moving quite right, adjust the screws on the new roller assemblies until you get the motion you want.

Next re-install the fixed glass panel. Lift it in place and slide it back into the edge of the frame. Don’t forget to re-install the set screws or brackets that were holding it in place to begin with on the inside.

Lastly re-install the screen if you have one and make sure it’s lined up on the track and moves correctly.

THAT’S IT! You’re done with this project! Congratulations!

I hope you enjoyed this DIY Fix-it project and it has inspired you to fix that stubborn door in your house! If you have any questions on the steps, make sure you check out the video above and be sure to like, comment and subscribe!

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