Sometimes sliding glass doors get stuck and become hard to open. Dirt collects in the track, and the wheels need adjusting. Rather than wrestling with it, learn how to adjust your sliding door and keep it in good working order.
We show you the best sliding glass door adjustment techniques and how to clean the tracks.
- Locate adjustment screws on the sliding door and adjust them to fix alignment issues.
- Clean the sliding door tracks regularly to remove dirt and debris.
- Maintain your sliding glass door every six months, including roller cleaning and lubrication.
- Replace worn-out rollers to keep the door functioning smoothly.
Why Is My Sliding Door So Hard to Open?
There are several reasons why your sliding door is hard to open. Standard shower glass doors have tracks that allow the wheels to run smoothly. These tracks collect dirt and debris or sometimes get knocked out of alignment.
It comes from general household dust, pet hair, carpet fibers, and other debris from friction between the wheels and the tracks.
The tell-tale sign that you have a looming problem is when the door starts to move slowly in the tracks. No matter how hard you try, it won’t move any faster. The rollers have almost certainly started clogging.
Another reason could be that the wheels need adjusting. The weight of the door and constant motion take their toll. Luckily, most sliding glass doors have small screws that adjust the height of the rollers.
How to Adjust a Sliding Glass Door
Rather than grappling with the door every time you want to go outside, adjusting your door is pretty straightforward. You’ll need some tools before you get started.
What You’ll Need
- Phillips and flat-head screwdriver.
- Locate the adjustment screws, typically situated on the edge of the door. There should be two screws because most doors have two sets of rollers.
- Remove the plastic caps that cover the screws. These can be pried off with your fingernails.
- Grab the Phillips or flat-head screwdriver and insert it into the screws.
- On most doors, turning the screws counterclockwise raises the rollers while clockwise lowers them.
- You might only need to adjust one screw to get the door back on track.
- Try the door after each adjustment and keep turning the screw. You should feel the wheels start to move more freely.
- You should check that the top and bottom of the door are level. Pull the door ajar, and examine where the inner edge meets the door jamb. It is easier to examine the door alignment than looking at the frame.
- Pop the covers back on the adjustment screws and close the door if all is okay.
How to Clean the Sliding Door Tracks
Adjusting the rollers is all well and good, but if the tracks are filled with debris, no amount of adjustment will make a difference. Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty to resolve that sticky door problem.
What You’ll Need
- Silicone-based lubricant.
- Rubbing alcohol.
- Cotton balls.
- Vacuum cleaner.
- Rubber mallet.
- Locate the adjustment screws, either on the inside edge of the door or the front of the frame.
- Insert either a Phillips or flat-head screwdriver and turn the screws counterclockwise as far as they go to lower the rollers.
- Some doors have a doorstop located at the end of the track. This will need to be removed before you can lift the door out.
- These doors are top-hung as well as having a base track. Grab either side of the door and lift it carefully out of the top track.
- Now lift the door out of the bottom track.
- Place the door on a flat surface to make it easier to examine the rollers for obstructions.
- Now turn the adjustment screws clockwise to reveal the rollers.
- Insert your flat-head screwdriver into the space between the first set of rollers and the door frame. Gently lift the rollers out.
- Repeat this process for the other set of rollers.
- Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and wipe down the rollers. Focus on the areas with the highest amount of debris.
- Repeat the process with the second set of rollers.
- Place the rollers back into the door channel by pressing them firmly until they clip back in. If you struggle, give them a gentle tap with a rubber mallet.
- Turn the adjustment screw counterclockwise to retract the rollers in readiness for replacing the door in the frame.
- Grab the toothbrush and sweep away any debris while you have the door out of the track. Use the vacuum cleaner to suck up stubborn dirt.
- For extra cleaning power, dip the toothbrush in soapy water and clean the tracks.
- Spray the rollers with silicone lubricant to keep them well oiled. Do the same for the tracks.
- Guide the doors back into their tracks, starting at the top. Line the upper edge of the door with the inside track and walk the base of the door towards the frame.
- Once you set the door down in the track, check that it is correctly placed.
- Now adjust the roller height to ensure that the gap around the door is even and the door is level.
- Test the door; it should move easily. If the rollers are uneven, continue to adjust the screws.
How to Maintain a Sliding Glass Door
While fixing your stuck sliding door is relatively easy, keeping your doors in good working order would be better. It removes the issue before it starts. The only way to avoid this is to adopt a maintenance program, especially if you have an old door.
Maintain the Door Twice a Year
You should maintain your sliding glass door at least every six months. Your checklist should include roller cleaning and alignment, as well as cleaning the tracks. Regular oiling also keeps the moving parts in good working order.
Replace the Rollers
If the rollers show signs of wear and tear, it may be an idea to replace them. You can pick up patio door rollers, like this Prime-Line D 1607 Sliding Door Roller on Amazon, for a reasonable price.
You can also buy parts from your door manufacturer. It’s a good idea to keep spares handy for emergencies.
Use a lubricant like this DuPont Silicone Lubricant to keep your rollers and tracks running smoothly. A couple of quick squirts into the top and base track should keep everything in working order.
Using a lubricant reduces friction, which minimizes wear and tear. It also slows debris buildup, so it’s a win-win.
WD:40 is not the best product to use because it is a water-displacer with added lubricant rather than a dedicated grease. It could attract more debris in the long run.
Do All Sliding Doors Have Adjustment Screws?
Every standard sliding glass door has adjustable rollers to help them move smoothly. Occasionally, the rollers need adjustment because they settle under the door’s weight or become clogged with debris.
Take Pride In Your Slide
Your sliding glass door requires maintenance, just like everything else. And the good news is, it doesn’t take much to do it. A few simple steps will ensure that your patio or closet door remains operational for years to come.
All you need are some simple tools, cleaning products, and silicone-based lubricants. So, the next time your sliding door sticks, you can have it fixed in no time at all.