Home DIY tips: how to fix a sliding door

by Chris Lang on February 2, 2011

Fixing a sliding door Let me begin with another typical for a first home-buyer situation: you’ve bought an old house, moved in, and began discovering nasty surprises. Even though you’ve done the pre-settlement inspection, somehow there were things that escaped your attention. For example… this stuck sliding door that you couldn’t move an inch if your life depended on it.

A new sliding door would cost north of $500, and getting a handyman to install it wouldn’t make it any cheaper. So how do we solve this problem? We think, and improvise.

If a sliding door is not working the most common reasons could be

A. The rollers (the wheels) or
B. The track

Sliding door wheelsThe rollers could have dirt stuck inside that prevents them from moving smoothly (it’s an old house, after all!), so a bit of cleaning and lubricating with oil could do the trick. You would need to lift the door up, angle its bottom part outward and pull. It’s best to have someone assist you as sliding doors can be heavy.

Pull the rollers out of the door and examine them. If they look fine – clean, add a bit of oil and see if that helps. If the rollers are damaged, take one as a sample and go shopping for a brand new one of the same size. Any reasonably big hardware store should have them in stock.

The track could be dirty as well, and then it may need some scrubbing. If the track is bent and prevents the rollers from moving smoothly, you can either straighten it (which may require some brutal force, so not a good solution for the ladies amongst us) or buy a new one.

In any case, you can fix the door yourself for under $50 – which, in comparison to $500, is not bad!.

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