Sliding doors are becoming popular these days because of their beautiful designs and functionality. The lack of traditional hinges, and instead the use of a track, make them perfect for limited spaces. Sliding doors have glass from the top to the bottom of each door panel. This brightens up the room and lets more natural light in.

Placing them in the right areas will enhance the functionality and elegance of any home with their simple but practical design.

Are you planning to install a sliding door in your home? Take a look at this guide to learn more about the components of the sliding door, how to repair common problems and how to reduce their weak points.

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What you should know before installing a sliding door

Before deciding whether you should install a sliding door, there are some things you need to take into consideration.

Where should I install the sliding door?

Sliding doors are perfect for interior doors. They are the desired choice for bedrooms, kitchens, and living rooms. You can even install a sliding door in your bathroom. You just need to make sure that it’s the right type of door that will ensure your privacy.

Outdoors, they can be perfect for patios, terraces or gardens. However, have in mind the security of your property. Sliding doors are mostly glass, so don’t put them in front of your house or in easily visible areas.

What types of sliding doors are out there?

The most popular sliding doors are with curtain rods. These doors don’t take up wall space because they’re made of two layers of glasses and the door opens overlapping the other fixed glass window. They are the preferred type for outdoor kitchen areas, patios and gardens.

Hanging sliding doors are attached to a rail above the door and they slide over the wall. To install them you need to have free wall space at least one time of the width of the door.

Wall sliding doors are sliding in pockets in the wall. They are a great solution if you don’t have wall space and want to achieve a minimal look in your house. They are also perfect for wardrobes as the door “disappears” into the wall when open.

What are the sliding door sizes?

Unlike traditional doors, sliding doors can be found in a variety of sizes. Have in mind that if you’re installing an interior door, they’ll take up wall space when open. So, measure the wall and consider sizes carefully. Do you have space on the wall to fit an open door? If space is limited, maybe you should consider other door options.

What door material should I choose?

Sliding doors usually come with a big glass in a wooden, aluminium, vinyl or fibreglass frame.

Choosing a sliding door with a wooden frame will enhance the look of your home. The doors are available in different colours – from rustic, dark to light wood and in different styles – you can choose from different styles, frames, number of windows and motives. Wood can crack and warp easily. That’s why it’s not recommended to use wooden sliding doors outdoors or in wet areas where moisture can damage the wood.

Aluminium sliding doors are also available in different colours and designs. Aluminium is strong and long-lasting material. These doors are perfect for outside because they can withstand all types of weather conditions.

Vinyl sliding doors are also strong and highly durable, but they are available in limited colours and it may appear low quality.

How to maintain a sliding door?

If you decide to install a sliding door, you need to take good care of it so it can maintain its good working condition for longer time. If the sliding door is located outside you need to keep the exterior frame clean of dust and dirt and make sure the mechanism is working properly. Regularly vacuum and wipe up the frame and the hardware of the door. It’s recommended to lubricate the locking and sliding mechanism twice a year.

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Sliding door parts

Some of the sliding door parts differ from the traditional door parts. Get to know these parts better, so you can understand whether a certain mechanism is working properly.

Sliding door handles

Sliding door handles have a different mechanism than traditional doors. On sliding doors, handles need to be pulled. Some styles have a clamp built-in the door that connects with the door frame and provides extra security.

Sliding door locks

Locks on sliding doors operate differently. They are simple latches that lock into one another when the door is closed. They can be locked with keys or with twist action of the lock.

Sliding door stopper

Stoppers are metal rods that prevent the door from opening from the outside. They come in different sizes and can be decorated with different motives. They are easy to use, you simply need to place the stopper into the door track and tighten it up to secure it in place.

Sliding door track

Tracks are fitted in the door frames and provide a place for the sliding rollers. They can be adjusted so the door can slide easily.

Sliding door rollers

Rollers are the wheels that are attached to the bottom and top of the door. They fit into the sliding door track and keep the door sliding.

 

How to repair common sliding door problems

Repairing sliding doors can be tricky. If the door does not slide or close properly, you need to take immediate actions, try to locate the problem and fix it.

Removing a Sliding Patio Door

Removing sliding doors is trickier than removing a normal door. To do so, you’ll need to lift the door straight up and remove it from the bottom track. You need to be careful doing it because sliding doors are way heavier than the normal doors. After you’ve clear the bottom track, angle the bottom of the door and remove the door from the track.

Have in mind that some sliding doors have removable moulding at the top of the frame to keep the door from falling out. If your door has moulded, you’ll need to remove it by unscrewing nails that hold it

Repairing Sliding Door Rollers

Sliding doors can be hard to close or open even if the track is clean and working properly. If that is your case, it may be that the rollers are simply worn off from rubbing against the track. The rollers on top could also be the problem. If they don’t work properly, the weight of the door will fall on the bottom rollers and make them slide harder.

To repair the rollers, you need to remove the door from the track and lay it on a flat surface. Examine the rollers. Are they broken, bend or just loose.

If the issue is a loose roller, tighten the screws. If that’s not working, replace the old screws and use a screwdriver to attach the roller to the door. If the issue is a broken or bent roller, you’ll need to replace it.

In most cases, problems with rollers come from dirt, debris or pet hair gummed around the wheel. Regularly clean the rollers to avoid this from happening.

Fixing a Door Track

If the door track is damaged or broken, you need to take immediate action. A broken track means that the sliding door won’t be able to open or close.

One of the most common causes of sticking door is dirty tracks. Built-in dust and debris can “clog” the track and affect the smooth sliding of the door. Use a wire brush to clean the track regularly to avoid this from happening.

Maintain the track by lubricating it with silicone spray, oil or paraffin to keep the door sliding smoothly.

If the track is bent or worn out you can fix it by using a hammer. Remove the door from the track. Use a level to see if the track is flat. If not, tighten the screws that hold it in place. Use a hammer and a wooden piece and tap gently on places where the surface is bent to try and reposition it.

Fixing sliding door catch

If the door is not closing properly, the problem is not in the rollers or in the track. Catch can bend over time and cause the door to stop working properly. If the catch works properly, it needs to click when you close the door and it should be completely pressed when the door is open.

To check if the catch is working properly, you need to remove the sliding door from the track. To fix the catch use a hammer and tap it gently to bend it in the proper position. If the catch is broken or damaged, replace it with the same model.

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Sliding door disadvantages

Sliding doors are not secure

Sliding doors are not secure. Thieves can easily break through them in your property. They’re also a large window that can expose your belongings to curious eyes. Even if the door is locked, it won’t be a hassle for some of the thieves. Most of the sliding door lock is made of simple latches that can be removed.

Sliding doors are easy to break

Sliding doors are aesthetically beautiful and can bring the sun into any room. But they’re not as strong as normal doors made of solid wood. The glass can be easily broken, so thieves can enter your property from there. Sliding doors can also be removed if not screwed properly. The only thing thieves have to do is lifting the door and freeing the rollers from the track.

Sliding doors are not as durable

Over the years these doors can start jamming and causing problems because of the rust and dirt built in the hardware parts. The door can also start unhooking from the trails which may require you to reinstall the doors.

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Do you have a sliding door in your home? Share your experience in the comments below!

Image source: Shutterstock/Olesia Billkei

  • Last update: October 24, 2019

Posted in Home Improvement

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