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Handyman: hard to move sliding glass door

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Forum: HandymanReplies: 10, Views: 171
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Silver Lake, OH
(Zone 5b)

February 13, 2006
3:54 PM

Post #2042350

Our sliding glass door (original to house built in 1961) is very heavy and difficult to move. If I lift it, it slides a bit better... but it's really hard to do. I've found that it constantly has to have the runner on the bottom cleaned but I can't get all the cat hair/etc. out from under it so it continues to grind and be difficult to move... any ideas on how to fix this problem?
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 9a)

February 18, 2006
1:54 PM

Post #2053270

It sounds like the glass door rollers need replaced. Take the sliding glass door out, look on the bottom of the door you will see the rollers. Good luck. Cindy
Silver Lake, OH
(Zone 5b)

February 18, 2006
8:41 PM

Post #2054133

Thanks Cindy. I"m positive I can't move the doors. This is a job for superman!

I'll check helpers in the area and see who might be able to fix it.

Vancouver, WA
(Zone 8a)

February 26, 2006
4:07 PM

Post #2072791

we lubricate our slider several times a year w/ stuff that is thick and blackish. We also used it on our sliding van door in the days when we had a van. makes a big difference.
Jacksonville & Okeec, FL
(Zone 9a)

February 27, 2006
1:05 AM

Post #2073909

Try graphite, it's real good.
Pleasureville, KY
(Zone 6a)

February 27, 2006
3:58 AM

Post #2074347

There is a silicone spray in a can,and I use it on my sliding glass door track. It helps, but if the door is that old, it may need something more major. Good luck,.
Waconia, MN
(Zone 4a)

July 20, 2008
9:21 AM

Post #5289457

It's a long time since I've done it on apartment maintenance but I adjusted lots of these.
There should be a visable screw on both ends of the sliding door (at the bottom) or else you have to take a cover off the end of the door to find the screws. With this screw you adjust the sliding door so it doesn't drag. I think it turns counter clock wise to raise the door. It just has to be raised a little bit or it will let the cold in or else the top will drag instead. This usually the problem when the door is hard to move. Usually if the problem is lubrication they squeak something terrible. In order to properly lubricate the wheels (axles of the wheels) the door has to be taken off. NEVER ATTEMPT TO TAKE THE DOOR OFF BY YOURSELF because as you said they really heavy. To take the door off you lift it up and pull it out. One (strong) person on each end and then you may have to use the afore mentioned screws to raise the rollers to get enough clearance to get over the lip. Once you get it off you have to use those screws to lower the wheels a way down to lube them. Since you've gone to all this trouble, if you can find a supplier, why not replace them then you can forget about them for years. I'm not sure but I think there are screws to adjust the top wheels to. If so they would have to be adjusted down to get the door out or if the bottom ones are adjusted up very much or they will cause the door to bind and you would be back to square one. Before you adjust the screws measure a certain distance from the bottom of the door and put a pencil mark on the door so you be sure you raised both ends exactly the same amount. If you raise one end more than the other the door will be heavy to push up hill, too.
south of Grand Rapid, MI
(Zone 5a)

July 22, 2008
1:39 AM

Post #5299223

We have tried everything imaginable on our slider...somewhere I read to use good old parafin bar wax...DH rubbed it on the bars at the bottom and it literally zooms now!! I couldn't believe it!!
Silver Lake, OH
(Zone 5b)

August 6, 2008
7:35 PM

Post #5377672

Thanks for all your help. We still haven't taken the cash to get this fixed but I haven't checked for a while so will try the screws... thanks so much for taking time to help out.
Fresno, CA
(Zone 9b)

July 9, 2009
8:18 AM

Post #6796682

Janiejoy, I have this problem at times, as well. I've learned that when the door "gutter" becomes overloaded with dirt, it becomes very difficult to move, especially as it's a dual pane glass door. All I have to do is to use my hose spray nozzle to run water along the length of the gutter and it moves "slicker than a whistle," yes even after it dries out. There are little openings at the exterior side of the gutter and the water runs out just fine. just aim your high-pressure spray stream at the bottom of one end of the closed door to start, moving the stream along the length of the gutter. Voila! clean gutter, easy slide door. I'd be certain that you have the little openings on the exterior edge of the door before you start. If you don't, you might just be able to line the inside edge between the door and the gutter with paper towel, insuring that the water doesn't enter inside because of the pressure.

The door gutter in my house gets pretty heavily "soiled" with dirt/dust because of the two Standard Poodles I have running in and out. I, of course, wouldn't bring dust in myself! And frankly, I'd hesitate to use any kind of lubricant for just that reason . . . the dust.

Just my late late late 2 cents worth . . . for what it's worth!

Fallbrook, CA
(Zone 10b)

July 9, 2009
3:37 PM

Post #6797695

Janiejoy: I'd be surprised if it's anything other than the adjustment 13levine mentioned. I've done building maintenance for more than 20 years and that is the first thing I always check. 95 times out of a hundred that's the main problem. Cleaning the track regularly is also important. Be sure if you lubricate it you use a synthetic lubricant as petroleum based lubes attract dust and cause more problems than they cure. NEVER use WD-40 on a slider or locks.

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