Home Improvement

Common Sliding Door Problems & How to Fix Them

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Repairing a sliding door can be tricky, especially when you don’t have a lot of experience and knowledge about the system. If the door does not slide or close properly, there are various issues that could be causing it. This could turn out to be a real pain, especially when it comes to an internal glass sliding door that is constantly in use.

In any case, you need to take immediate actions, try to locate the problem and fix it. No need to worry – we will guide you through some of the most common sliding door problems and provide an easy solution that you can try to carry out on your own.

How to remove a sliding door

Removing sliding doors is trickier than removing a normal door. Still, it is possible to do it, but we advise you to get someone to help lift the heavy door. Here are the steps to follow:

  • First, you will have to remove the adjustable rollers’ screws that help regulate the door’s height on the track. Usually, they are located at the bottom of the door and could be hidden behind plastic caps.
  • Some sliding doors have removable moulding at the top of the frame to keep the door from falling out. If yours has one, you’ll need to remove the moulding by unscrewing the nails that hold it in place.
  • You can now try lifting the door straight up. Angle the bottom for easier removal.
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Repairing sliding door rollers

The rollers often cause troubles for sliding door owners, mainly due to the amount of dust and grime that collects along the tracks over the years. In this case, a simple cleaning can quickly solve your problem.

However, sometimes sliding doors can prove hard to close or open, even with the track clean and the whole system working properly. If this happens, then it may be that the upper or bottom rollers are simply worn out from the constant rubbing against the track. If just the rollers on top do not work properly, the weight of the whole door will fall on the bottom rollers and make them slide harder.

To try and fix the rollers on your sliding door, you will need to do a few things:

  • Remove the door from the track and lay it on a flat surface.
  • Examine the rollers to determine whether they are broken, bent, loose, or simply worn out.
  • If the issue is a loose roller, then you just have to tighten the screws.
  • If the issue is a broken or bent roller, you’ll need to replace it, preferably with an identical one, so it will help if you can find or already know the name of the manufacturer.
  • Use a screwdriver to re-attach the roller to the door.
In most cases, problems with rollers come from dirt, debris, or pet hair gummed around the wheel. Regularly clean the rollers to prevent this from happening.

Fixing a door track

If the door track is damaged or broken, you need to take immediate action. A track problem usually results in the sliding door’s inability to open or close.

As mentioned before, one of the most common causes for a sticking door is a dirty track. Built-in dust and debris can “clog” the track and affect the smooth sliding of the door. Use a vacuum cleaner and a wire brush to clean the track regularly to avoid this.

If the track is bent or worn out, though, you will have a more complicated problem on your hands. One of the ways to fix it is by using a hammer. Here is how to proceed:

  • 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.
  • Re-install the door and test the track.
  • Maintain the track by lubricating it with silicone spray, oil, or paraffin to keep the door sliding smoothly.

If that does not seem to work, you can get a professional handyman over to inspect and identify the problem. The specialist can also find and fix any other problems with your sliding door that you may have missed.

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Repairing a sliding door catch

If the door is not closing properly and there is no issue with the rollers or the track, then the catch could be responsible. It can bend over time and cause the door to stop working properly. You can test the catch by listening for a clicking sound when you try to close the door. It should also be completely pressed when the door is open.

In some cases, a full removal of the sliding door may be necessary to see for sure whether the catch is operational. 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, you can replace it, but make sure you look for the same model.

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Sliding doors weaknesses to remember

Sliding doors may look good and be convenient, but they also have their downsides. It’s better to know what they are, so you are aware of the possible problems they may cause and think whether a sliding door is the best option for a certain part of the house.

Sliding glass doors are not secure

Unfortunately, sliding doors with a glass panel cannot guarantee your safety. It is easy for intruders to use them to break into your property. They can also serve as a large window into your home that may expose your belongings to curious eyes.

Even though there is a locking mechanism, it may not pose much of a challenge for intruders. Most sliding door locks are made of simple latches that can be removed. Sliding doors can also be taken down easily if not screwed properly. The only thing burglars have to do is lift the door and free the rollers from the track.

Sliding doors are easy to break

Sliding doors are aesthetically beautiful and can let more sunlight into the room. But they’re not as strong as normal doors made of solid wood. The glass can be broken accidentally with a larger object. This often happens because of kids or even pets during play time, so it’s good to consider whether this is the safest and best option for your home.

Sliding doors are not as durable

Over the years, these doors can start jamming and causing problems because of the rust and dirt build-up in the hardware parts. If regular cleaning and maintenance is not provided, then the lifespan of the door will be significantly shortened. With years of constant use, the door can also start unhooking from the trails, which may require you to reinstall the doors.


  • Since most sliding door repairs require removal of the door, remember that these types of doors are a lot heavier for a single person to carry.
  • Usually, the rollers or track create a lot of problems. Make sure you inspect them regularly and keep them lubricated and clean, free from dirt and dust.
  • Consider all your pros and cons before installing a sliding door in your home. It is easy to open even from outside, more fragile, and will require regular care in order to serve you properly for many years.

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