Sliding doors need to be maintained, otherwise they become difficult to slide and can even jump off the tracks. The wheels on sliding doors glide along a track, much like the wheels of a train. The most important thing to remember is to keep the track clean and free of dirt and dust that can clog the wheels.
A good rule of thumb is to clean the tracks whenever you clean your floors. Vacuuming usually works best. Remember also to lubricate the tracks regularly. (There are dozens of inexpensive industrial and household lubricants on the market—ask your hardware salesperson.) A couple of times a year, it’s also a good idea to clean the small drain holes on the sides of the tracks with a brush and soapy water. And every six months, it also pays to tighten the screws on the track, since loose screws will make the door drag and can also block the door’s path. If your door needs to go higher or lower to run smoothly, adjust the screws on the side of the door.
FIXING SLIDING DOOR TRACKS
If your sliding door is still not gliding easily and/or closing snugly against the jamb, it’s likely the rollers need more cleaning, or the track is bent. You might want to take the door off and try a simple tune-up.
• Glass sliding doors are usually heavy and awkward, so it’s best to have someone help you when you take it off its tracks. Worst-case scenario, trying to do it on your own could result in the door falling and shattering. When you do lay the door down, it’s a good idea to have some kind of padding ready (old towels will do), to prevent scratching or damage to the rubber seals.
After cleaning tracks and rollers, you should oil only the rollers, not the tracks themselves because that can attract even more dirt.
How to fix sliding door tracks:
1. With one person on either side of the door, lift it up off its tracks and pull it away at the bottom. Then lower it from the upper track and place it gently on the floor. Lubricate and clean the rollers.
2. If an outside track is bent, place a block of wood on the track. Then take the hammer and bang the wood to straighten out the bend. Don’t use your hammer directly on the track because that can cause more damage.
3. Once the tracks are straightened, replace the door. Slide the door shut, checking for an even gap between the door and the jamb as you do so.
4. Adjust the screws on the side of the door if needed to raise the door up or lower it down.