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Sliding Glass Doors: 5 Easy Tips to a Smoother Glide in Under 10 Minutes

Sliding Glass Doors: 5 Easy Tips to a Smoother Glide in Under 10 Minutes post image

Does your sliding glass door open slowly? Mine was tough to move and our young daughters could barely budge it.

I decided enough was enough and I had to figure out this problem.

So today I’m going to share 5 simple tips that will help you get your sticking sliding glass door running smoothly again.

Before we start here’s a list of supplies you’ll need:

As you can see this type of quick fix is inexpensive, won’t take long, and will help keep your sliding glass door, well, SLIDING πŸ˜‰

Step 1: Clean the Sliding Glass Door Track

Standard sliding glass doors all have tracks. The track acts as a guide for the door and also allows roller wheels to help the door run smoothly.

 

Standard sliding glass doors have tracks

 

Over time the sliding glass door track accumulates dirt and grime. This slows down your door considerably.

Use a toothbrush or wire brush to clean the inside of the sliding glass door track. I tried using a toothbrush at first but then switched over to the wire brush I use for cleaning my golf clubs. If you know someone who golfs you could borrow this kind of wire brush from them.

 

Use a toothbrush or wire brush to clean the sliding glass door track

 

Once all the dirt is cleared from the track use a vacuum to suck it up.

 

Vacuum all the dirt and grime removed from the sliding glass door track

 

Step 2: Lubricate the Sliding Glass Door Track

Use WD-40 or a silicone based lubricant Β and spray the entire track.

 

Lubricate the entire sliding glass door track

As some fans of Home Repair Tutor know, I love using Blaster’s Garage Door spray lubricant because it’s silicone based and doesn’t attract dirt buildup. It costs about $5 and can be found at any Home Depot or Lowes here in the states.

Make sure to wipe up any overspray that lands on the floor. It will create quite a slippery surface πŸ™‚

 

Step 3: How to Adjust Sliding Glass Door Rollers for a Smoother Ride

Inside a standard sliding glass door there are adjustable rollers that help it slide back and forth on the track. There are holes on your sliding glass door that conceal the adjusting screws to these rollers.

On my door the holes had plastic plugs in them. I used a steak knife to pry the plugs loose. There are two sets of rollers on each side of the sliding glass door.

 

Remove the plugs that cover up the sliding glass door roller adjusting screws

 

I used a phillips head screwdriver to turn the roller adjusting screw. This adjustment screw will move the roller height up or down and thus, your sliding glass door height will go up or down by as much as 1/4 inch or 1/2 cm. Tinker around with the roller screws to see if the door glides better when it’s at a lower or higher height.

 

Turn the sliding glass door roller adjusting screws to make the door higher or lower

 

At this point it may not be a bad idea to spray some lubricant into the adjustment screw opening. This will help the sliding glass door rollers operate a bit better.

So that’s how you perform a quick tune up on your sliding glass door. And, now you know how to adjust your sliding glass door rollers, too. Sweet!

Add your questions or comments in the comment sections.

Thanks for dropping by today, have a good one!!

Cheers,

Jeff Patterson

 

 

 

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71 comments… add one
  • SheilaG September 15, 2012, 10:07 AM

    I never knew about those adjustment screws. Hmm, probably could have saved ourselves some headaches when we had sliding doors. Pinning this for possible future doors! πŸ™‚

    • Jeff September 15, 2012, 1:27 PM

      Thanks Sheila for the Pin. Those adjusting screws are really great to know about. I hope you’re having a great weekend πŸ™‚

  • Leida September 16, 2012, 11:34 AM

    WOW!!! GREAT info. I also never knew about that hidden screw. Will definitely try this on my sliding door as it is a little hard to open/close. Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Jeff September 18, 2012, 5:38 AM

      You’re welcome Leida. Let me know if you have any questions when you tackle your sliding door πŸ™‚

  • Doralee September 17, 2012, 11:00 PM

    We just installed two new sets of sliding glass doors and will now need to maintain them. Good info to know!

    • Jeff September 18, 2012, 5:39 AM

      So glad I could help Doralee.

  • The Girl @ POS September 20, 2012, 4:56 PM

    We were just talking the other day about how incredibly difficult our “sliding” doors are to open. I read one tutorial that required taking the doors completely off (to clean tracks and check for broken rollers), which is scary, since I am so accident prone and glass is …. well, it is glass. Thanks so much for this post – I will try all of these fixes first, they just might do the trick!! (and I have used steak knives and butter knives as “tools” for years! ha!)

    • Jeff September 21, 2012, 5:52 AM

      LOL, I feel your fear of breaking glass. I hope you can get your door moving better without having to take it off the track. But if you do I’m sure you’ll be able to fix the roller is no time. You’re right about kitchen knives, they’re kind of like the MacGyver tool in the kitchen.

  • Jacky L January 29, 2013, 12:38 PM

    First, thanks for the information.
    Hi, I just want to know where I can buy the sliding door tracks? If you know a specific place.
    My sliding doors are very old and heavy and cost a fortune to replace them. I always do the cleaning and really work hard to keep them clean.

    • Jeff Patterson January 30, 2013, 8:09 PM

      Great question Jacky.

      Are the tracks in your door removable?

      If so, try to determine the brand of the door. Once you determine this do a search on Google for the parts. You could also give ereplacementparts.com a shot.

      If all this fails you should take a picture of the door & tracks and take it to Lowe’s, Home Depot or another hardware store to see if they can help you.

      I wish I had better advice πŸ™

  • josh September 12, 2013, 10:53 PM

    my adjuster bolt was rusted and it broke off when i was twisting it, cant get it out now. the door is very hard to move now.

    • Jeff Patterson September 14, 2013, 7:42 AM

      Hi Josh,

      That stinks!! I’m sorry to hear this happened. Is there any way that you can take the door off the track and access the bolt from the bottom? That way you might be able to remove the bolt with a wrench or pliers and replace it.

      Jeff

  • Nana Kat November 13, 2013, 4:40 PM

    wow this so good thanks so much for sharing

  • Julie November 13, 2013, 5:05 PM

    I have to disagree with the WD-40, maybe it’s just me, but it seems like it runs everywhere, (usually black ugly liquid) I have started to use votive candles.(just cheap ones)…just rub on the tracks, granted they crack, but easily swept up or blown outside…

    • Jeff Patterson November 13, 2013, 6:40 PM

      Interesting Julie, if the candles work then go for it. I’m all for whatever does the job πŸ˜‰

    • Dave September 25, 2014, 8:42 AM

      I use a piece of paraffin or a candle to wax the track too, and it slides easily for a while after that.

      • Jeff Patterson September 29, 2014, 5:47 AM

        Great suggestion Dave. That’s a lot cleaner than spraying lubricant on the track!!

  • Karen January 30, 2014, 9:05 PM

    Door was not sliding well and I tried the screws on bottom of door. Don’t know what happened but door won’t slide at all now.

    • Jeff Patterson February 1, 2014, 6:23 AM

      You may have lowered the door too much Karen. I did this as well while trying to figure out the right height of the wheels.

      Try turning the screws the opposite direction, this will raise the door off the track. Also, there could have been debris on the track and now it may be lodged in the wheels. If this is the case you may need to take the door off the track if you can.

      But start with turning the screws the other direction.

      • Jose March 4, 2016, 11:43 PM

        It also helps to try to lift the sliding door glass a little when adjusting the wheels. The wheels go up much smoother that way. If you find it to difficult to lift door and work with screw by yourself, have someone lift the door a bit while you adjust.

  • Kelly January 31, 2014, 8:45 PM

    Great tutorial, but since I am not very fix it savvy, I have to ask, should be be tightening the screws? Or loosening them? Or, trial and error….??
    Thanks! πŸ™‚

    • Jeff Patterson February 1, 2014, 6:20 AM

      Good question Kelly, if you’re referring to the screws that control the wheels on the bottom of the door you should try trial by error. It won’t hurt anything and will only raise or lower the door.

      But let me know if you get stuck and we’ll figure it out together πŸ™‚

  • Barbara June 24, 2014, 7:56 PM

    Jeff – I just fixed my sticky sliding door by following these tips. Thanks, I really thought the door was a goner.

    Barbara

    • Jeff Patterson June 25, 2014, 5:35 AM

      That’s awesome Barbara, thanks for you kind words. Keep up the great DIY work πŸ™‚

  • William July 12, 2014, 4:52 PM

    Some good info, but still didnt help I’m afraid. Now door will open partially, and then hang up to the point I’m afraid it wants to come off the rail. I can’t tell which way lowers or raises it, and how to match one side up withmthemother. Also, should there be rollers on top, as I don’t see or feel any on my door?

    • Jeff Patterson July 13, 2014, 6:59 AM

      It’s very hard to see the rollers and feel them William. You’ll have to tinker with the adjustments to see what works well. It doesn’t take much to raise or lower the wheels. Maybe a quarter turn with the screwdriver.

      I’d recommend doing the exact same thing to each wheel so that your get equal changes on both sides of the door. For example, 1/4 on the right side and 1/4 on the left side. Let me know if you’ve got more questions.

  • Jenny Lee September 19, 2014, 8:18 PM

    Jeff,

    Thank you so much for your instructions! It was a life saver!

    I’ve been begging my husband for months to fix the sliding glass door! With your help I was able to fix it myself & it slides like a charm!!

    • Jeff Patterson September 21, 2014, 10:36 AM

      Great job Jenny Lee. Glad to here you took matters into your own hands πŸ˜€

  • Marcie September 27, 2014, 9:12 PM

    Thank you! It worked!

  • Serena September 29, 2014, 4:56 AM

    Thank you so much πŸ™‚ Is it safe to try to adjust the screws to make the rollers higher? I have very old glass sliding doors. Kind of worried that I might break the old rollers or the rollers will get stuck. Will appreciate any other tips you might give πŸ™‚

    • Jeff Patterson September 29, 2014, 5:31 AM

      It’s safe Serena, slowly turn the screws and see how the door responds. If you door is super old I bet a spray of WD-40 on the wheels would help, too.

  • Bonnie October 6, 2014, 12:43 PM

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. My sliding glass doors were so hard to open I was getting ready to replace them. This worked perfectly in a very short amount of time. I will go to your website first from now on!

    • Jeff Patterson October 14, 2014, 6:00 PM

      Aww, thanks so much Bonnie.

      Glad to hear this tutorial helped you πŸ˜€

  • Nancy November 23, 2014, 12:30 AM

    Can I use the garage door lubricant on the rollers on the top of the door? There seems to be felt weatherstripping up there and I don’t want to interfere with that?
    Thanks for this great “how-to”!

    • Jeff Patterson December 1, 2014, 5:54 PM

      Hmmm, I’m not envisioning your setup Nancy. If you think it will help then try it with the least effective dose that you think will work.

  • Debra Uhouse December 21, 2014, 10:18 AM

    Since my husband passed away I find myself having to do things around the house that I’ve never done before. I followed your directions and now my patio door is working great! Thank you!!!

  • Teresa Clark December 27, 2014, 1:50 PM

    Okay..I knew about the screws and have used them with success. We have an automatic door opener that slides the door back and forth for my dogs. Over the years, dirt, dog hair, grease and WD40 buildup have gotten up into the rollers and mucked them up. BAD. I have the slider door out. I have the roller set out. I’m in the process of cleaning out the rollers of 15 years of GUNK. They were so bad that I began spraying a silicone based lubricant in the adjustment screw holes and it worked for a while. My automatic door opener finally stopped working and I thot it was the door opener. Now I know it was the rollers on the door. My question is do I spray a lubricant, or not, on the newly cleaned rollers because it appears like the lubricant might have been the magnet to all the gunk. Thanks.

  • Karen January 8, 2015, 6:30 PM

    All good info that I’m sure will come in handy! However, my ‘big’ question is, is there any way at all to keep the track cleaner longer? We pass by ours several times a day, and it’s always filthy no matter what I do or how often I do it! It even looks horrible right after I clean it. I’m so embarrassed by it — wish there was some other option. Can they be covered? Or perhaps ours needs replaced? (It’s 14 yrs old.) It always looks so bad, I’m thinking of replacing it with a standard door because I can’t find a good solution and am tired of looking at it! Ideas or suggestions are much appreciated! Thanks!

  • Gary January 18, 2015, 6:19 PM

    Hi,
    Our sliding doors do have those screws at the bottom and top edge, but they are on the side of the door (compared to concealed inside a hole as you have shown in your photos ).
    I unscrewed all these 4 screws and then on pulling on the door , the frames came off the glass , now we have a frame-less door which still doesn’t move easily.
    I tried to get the door out by pushing it up and trying to tilt it, the bottom part is still stuck .

    Any help appreciated..

    Thanks and Regards
    GW

  • Armando Rubio February 8, 2015, 2:51 PM

    Youre a beast from the east my friend. Very efficient and concrete information. Time to tackle this damn door down! =D

    • Jeff Patterson February 10, 2015, 8:05 PM

      LOL, glad you liked the post Armando.

      Hope your project goes well.

      Sometimes doors are a big pain in the you know what!!

  • tim March 21, 2015, 1:18 AM

    I used pam on the track and it works wonders

  • Shan March 28, 2015, 8:28 AM

    Hi Jeff:
    My aluminum window got stuck. I cannot open for the past two years. Please help.
    Thank you.

  • Mimflower April 21, 2015, 2:53 PM

    Thanks so much for your guidance. My sliding glass door now closes more easily and smoothly. However, I think I’m going to pass on the WD40 – afraid it will “gunk” it up. What do you think? Also, how do I clean my wire brush?

    By the way, I used to use candle wax. It works for a little while and then really messes up the track.

    Thanks for your help.

  • LILLIAN May 12, 2015, 11:29 AM

    Hi Jeff,
    We have a sagging sunroom, used jacks to try and raise it. It still needs more lifting but were told to do it a little at a time. Problem is, my anderson sliding doors won;t open now.
    Also Anderson have the screwes on the bottom of the front, not the side. Is it costly to call a professional? We are trying to get our home ready for resale.
    Lillian

  • sherry May 27, 2015, 1:50 PM

    if you pour some baking soda in the track and peroxide on top of the baking soda….it will wipe right off. Much easier way to clean them. No vacuum needed!

  • Danny June 18, 2015, 2:59 PM

    I have cleaned the track and adjusted the wheel jacks a bit but I use LC WAX for lubricating, and I really think I need a teflon /silicone spray because I was a dummy and spraied it with WD and I gummed the heck out of the slider. Any suggestions?

  • Edward August 22, 2015, 12:14 PM

    Thanks for the tips. I going to attempt to service my sliding door, My sliding door does not lock and when closed there is gap On the my bottom lower right slide that is open, I assume there is adjustment to correct so I do not loose heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer.

  • Kim October 11, 2015, 9:34 PM

    I am not sure if I have a hidden screw on that part of the door but I have 2 at the bottom on the inside are they the same…..my door seems to tip up when we push it to open it. I am going to check for that other screw

  • jennifer October 13, 2015, 10:50 PM

    Thanks for letting me know about the hidden screws I didn’t know about that. Still is a little bit hard to move but it’s a lot better thanks

  • Brad October 18, 2015, 4:20 PM

    Our patio door is huge, 15 years old and first time it’s been cleaned. Both my wife and I struggled opening and closing the door so after reading your post I removed the top strip of wood trim and we both eased the door to the floor. Removed the rollers and couldn’t believe the gunk built up in the rollers. Soaked the rollers in some degreaser and cleaned them, greased them up with garage door lube (same as WD40 but slightly thicker consistency) and wha-la….she can open and close the door with 1 finger. I am a hero again. πŸ™‚

  • Adriana December 1, 2015, 1:12 AM

    My sliding glass doors are bouncing off the ends when fully opened and will then settle 10″ short of fully opened. What could be causing this? The rollers were replaced 9 months ago.

  • Katy December 13, 2015, 1:40 PM

    Thanks for the tips, I will try them out. Thanks too for such easy to follow directions and photos, I wish all DIY tips were as clearly explained as yours!

  • Chris January 13, 2016, 5:09 AM

    Hello Jeff,

    I am familiar with the adjustments for raising and lowering the rollers on my slider, however I have a slightly different problem. After cleaning the heck out of my track and rollers I only got a moderate boost in roller ease. I checked the upper track and the door itself is rubbing against the track on the inside. Can uneven leveling of rollers cause this or is their another adjustment that can tweak my wheels left or right so I can back it off from hitting the rail? Tricky one, but maybe you have seen this in your research.

    Thanks
    Chris

  • david January 14, 2016, 8:44 AM

    Hi Jeff
    Our sliding front door runs ok on the tracks but it appears to stick badly on the leading edge of the door where it closes?
    don’t know why this is happening?
    Would a liberal amount of vaseline on the leading edge of the door and the side of the frame where it closes onto help?

    • Jeff Patterson January 15, 2016, 8:52 AM

      David, I don’t like vaseline because it accumulates dirt and dust. PB Blaster is better because that shouldn’t happen. Give it a shot.

      Also, try to run a vacuum on the track and clean off any debris.

  • Deedra January 21, 2016, 12:26 PM

    Jeff, I can’t tell you how many websites I’ve checked out for various “HELP” situations. Your site is excellent, I almost bounced in my chair and clapped my hands. Your directions are to the point with just the right amount of photos! My sliding glass door is really heavy, then with the gunk it’s nearly impossible. It’s been cleaned several times, and 3 handles have been broken. The first one was a heavy duty one, possible original. I can’t seem to find a nice heavy duty one, Would you happen to know where I could pick one up?

    Thank you again for easy to follow an to the point directions!!
    Deedra

  • Mark January 21, 2016, 5:43 PM

    hey jeff,

    thanks for the tips. i too did not realize there were adjustment screws for the rollers. thanks to you, it’s working like almost new!

  • John January 30, 2016, 6:36 PM

    To help cleaning the dirt and grime on my track, I used a foaming engine degreaser. Spray the track on both sides and let the foam sit for about 10 minutes. Wipe it away with paper towel or rag. Any stubborn residual can then be removed with with the golf cleaning brush. If the residual is real stubborn, spray a little extra degreaser in the area, then brush the degreaser through the residual dirt and grime. This will ensure the tracks are clean and shiny.

  • John P. February 6, 2016, 6:30 PM

    Jeff, I have removed the plugs that cover the holes where the roller adjustments should be however there does not seem to be any roller adjustment screws in the hole. Is this possible? Thanks, John.

    • Jeff Patterson February 8, 2016, 7:22 PM

      You’ll have to push the screwdriver in pretty far John.

      • John P. February 8, 2016, 9:21 PM

        Jeff, I just picked up a 6 inch screwdriver at Lowes on my way home from work. It worked! I am so relieved. Thanks for your response! I had been using a standard screw driver and it just wasn’t long enough. Thanks again!

        • Jeff Patterson February 10, 2016, 5:47 AM

          Great job John, glad to hear it worked. Feel free to leave a comment any time πŸ˜€

  • Lynne February 11, 2016, 2:14 PM

    I am trying to work on sliding mirror doors at a closet. I cannot keep one of the top rollers in the track on the front door. I have tried your suggestion of using a lubricant and it continues to come off track. I’m wondering if I need to have the carpeting re stretched to allow more room for the bottom to roll. Any suggestions?

  • Cathy March 21, 2016, 8:17 PM

    I thought for sure I was going to have to replace my hard to open, screeching sliding glass door. I cleaned the tracks with a wire brush, added a little liquid wrench and now it works perfectly! Thanks so much for posting this helpful hint!

  • Maureen March 30, 2016, 10:46 AM

    Wow thank you! I’m going to follow you on pinterest! I have been having problems with the door since we moved in. I cleaned and lubed it but I am going to try the adjusting screw! Thank you so much!

  • Jessie Harrison April 14, 2016, 6:47 PM

    The glass is very pretty and a very sought after item to have in a home. They have even become popular being used as doors. I think because of that they have to deal with a lot of impacts. One of my doors actually just cracked the other day. Maybe if I would’ve kept up on the maintenance it would still be in good shape.

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