How to Fix a Sliding Glass Door That Sticks

The track on a sliding glass door

If your sliding glass door sticks, it may need a little maintenance. Here are the basic steps:

  • Remove the sliding door.
  • Vacuum the tracks.
  • Use hot, soapy water and a brush to clean the tracks.
  • Inspect the rollers, and replace them if damaged.
  • Lubricate the tracks.
  • Reinstall the doors, and adjust the rollers to the correct height.

Using excessive force to open doors may damage the door or its components, so it pays to be patient as you try these tips! Whether there’s debris in the track or your door has damaged rollers, Glass Doctor has the cure for sticky sliding doors. Below you’ll find more details about how to 1) properly remove a sliding glass door, 2) clean and lubricate the tracks and 3) adjust the rollers.

How to Remove a Sliding Glass Door

Before you begin, ask someone to help you. Glass doors are very heavy and fragile. The door may be ready to fall out of the track before you are ready to catch it! It’s smart to have some helping hands for this project.

  1. Begin by locating the adjustment screw covers on the sides of the door, toward the bottom. You may need to pry off or unscrew the covers. Have someone hold the door before you continue the next few steps.
  2. Use a screwdriver to adjust the rollers so they move away from the door, which will give you clearance to remove the door.
  3. Center the door in the middle of the opening.
  4. Stand on the inside while a helper slowly tilts the top edge of the door toward you. If you don’t have clearance, the top rollers need to be adjusted higher.
  5. Gently remove the door and set it aside.

How to Clean a Sliding Glass Door Track

Once the door is removed, it’ll be a lot easier to thoroughly clean the tracks.

  1. Use a vacuum to remove loose debris in the track.
  2. Use a stiff brush with hot, soapy water to scrub the track.
  3. Do the same with the top and bottom edge of the glass door.
  4. Dry the track well with a clean rag.

How to Lubricate a Sliding Glass Door Track

For vinyl door tracks, use a non-stick silicone lubricant. For wood tracks, use a hard wax such as candle wax or beeswax. You can also find specific door track lubricants at your local hardware store. Whatever you do, don’t use grease or an oil-based lubricant, which will attract more dirt. Apply a thin coat of lubricant to the top and bottom of the door track, as well as in the door frame where the glass door latches.

How to Reinstall a Sliding Glass Door

  1. Before you reinstall the door, inspect the rollers and hardware. The rollers are usually the main culprits for stickiness. If you see damage or just want to ensure the repair lasts, remove the rollers and bring them to the hardware store to find a replacement.
  2. Have a friend help you reinstall the door, with the reverse procedure you used to remove it.
  3. Once the door is installed in the track, use a screwdriver to adjust the rollers. This part is important – too much tension and the doors won’t slide well; too little and there will be play in the track. Adjust the rollers until they contact the track and the door doesn’t wiggle.
  4. Slide the door back and forth several times to spread the lubricant and check your work.

Well done! That trip outside just got a lot easier.

Professional Sliding Door Replacement

Sometimes, no matter how well you clean and lubricate a sliding door track, it just won’t slide like it used to. If you’re fed up with a sticky sliding door, let Glass Doctor help you find a glass door replacement. We can replace your glass door with a modern insulated unit that is more efficient and looks great too. Give us a call at 833-974-0209, or schedule an appointment online.

Fixing a sliding glass door – or any door – may require professional assistance. If you’d rather spend time with the family or want a professional to take care of door repair, Mr. Handyman can help. Just like Glass Doctor, Mr. Handyman is part of Neighborly’s reliable network of home service providers.