Why is My Sliding Glass Door Hard to Open?

Exterior Doors - Milgard Sliding Doors

The heat and humidity of summer make it quite difficult to keep sliding glass doors in good condition. Dirt, moisture, and normal wear and tear may damage the door and its tracks, making it hard to open or close the door. In this guide, readers will find out about common sliding door problems, what to do to make their sliding doors operate more smoothly, and when they should call for professional advice. 

Bent Tracks 

Bent metal impedes the movement of a sliding glass door. Inwardly bent tracks will pinch rollers and stop doors from moving, while outwardly bent tracks may cause the door to derail. While minor bends can often be fixed with a pair of pliers, more severe damage should be addressed by a professional.  

Dirty Door Rollers 

Rollers are components at the bottom of sliding doors that allow them to slide easily along their tracks. If homeowners find it hard to open and close the door, it may simply be due to dirt on the rollers. When the rollers get dirty, use a vacuum and a crevice tool to remove large debris before scrubbing away the rest of the dirt with a wet cloth.  

Wheels in Need of Adjustment 

If a sliding door’s rollers are offline, the entire door will jump off its track. To resolve this problem, simply adjust the screws holding the wheels in place. Turning the screws clockwise raises the door, while turning them counterclockwise lowers it. For evenness, be sure both sides of the door are adjusted. When homeowners are unsure of how to do this properly, a repair specialist can help. 

Broken or Rusted Rollers 

Salty or moist air is tough on sliding door rollers, but repairing these components is quite difficult. It requires the removal of the sliding door and the stationary door. When the sliding door has been removed, unscrew the roller and replace it. Once the new roller has been installed, remount the door and adjust the wheels accordingly. Finally, remount the stationary door and secure it properly. 

When to Attempt DIY Sliding Door Repairs 

If a sliding door has become difficult to open, there may be a problem with the track or the door itself. A homeowner’s first thought may be to fix it themselves, and depending on the problem, it may be possible. Door problems can often be resolved by adjusting the wheel height as mentioned above; all it takes is a screwdriver.  

For issues with obstructed tracks, open the door fully and clean the track with a wire brush or vacuum it with a crevice tool. When there’s dirt in the door track, it not only makes it hard to open and close the door, it may cause serious damage if the door jumps the track when it hits an obstruction. If the sliding door is still sticky after the tracks have been cleaned, use powdered graphite or silicone lubricant to ease things along. 

Such problems may occur no mater whether the home has a conventional sliding door, pocket doors that slide into walls, or otherwise. Even doors that aren’t supposed to rust, splinter, or swell may develop problems with their locks, frames, or tracks. If adjusting the wheels and cleaning the tracks does not help, it may be necessary to call for professional help. 

Call a Professional for the Best Results 

Some sliding glass door issues are more serious than others and require door removal or track replacement. These jobs are a bit risky, and should be left to the professionals. Sliding doors are very heavy, difficult to remove, and easily broken if they’re dropped or placed on uneven work surfaces. Although sliding door tracks are quite sturdy, they won’t do their job if they’re accidentally bent during the repair process. Door systems may also have damaged locks or frames that can be rendered useless during amateur repair attempts.  

A Few Closing Thoughts 

Sliding doors are very useful and can add a touch of openness and class to any home. However, like all other moving parts, they require occasional maintenance and repairs. To prevent turning a minor repair into a full replacement project, call a local door and window contractor when there’s a problem with the home’s sliding glass doors. Installation and service experts can give honest assessments of whether they can do repairs, or whether the homeowner should choose a new door that will provide them with greater protection and increased convenience. Visit the website for more information or call today to request a repair quote.