Many houses in the U.S. have a common fixture: sliding glass doors. These are usually located at the back or side portion of the house, and serve as pathways to a patio, a deck, or simply a backyard. There are many owners of homes whose houses are old structures already and contain old sliding doors. If you are included in this specific population, you may be experiencing problems with your sliding doors that are beginning to malfunction or show signs of breaking down already. This article aims to help you deal with the different problems each homeowner may have in this regard, and how to employ basic inexpensive repairs and maintenance that you yourself can do.
DIY repair of glass sliding doors
It is a natural occurrence for old houses to have a tendency to settle on the land it is built on as the years pass. This is a result of the changes that occur in the soil that surround the foundation of your house. The state of your home deteriorates when this happens. This causes you to particularly experience difficulty with opening and closing your doors, and these include sliding glass doors. You should check them when this happens to find out if they have fallen “out of square” or the frame from which they were initially measured. The top and bottom of the fixture are the areas that you need to look into. It is possible to find a single crack or even a few while trying to slide them both ways.
Fixing the rolling wheels
Adjusting the rolling wheels of the door in question is the initial and simplest solution to this problem. There are usually two (2) roller wheel assemblies at the bottom which make it possible for the structure to roll sideways left and right as you wish. There are small holes on the lower surface which sometimes are filled or covered with small caps. These can be taken out easily, thereby allowing you to use a screwdriver in the said holes to adjust the screws. By doing this, you can make the wheels either higher or lower to make them fully functional again.
Fixing the interior moldings
Sometimes this technique does not produce successful results. When this is the case, it is time for another alternative which is also known as “shimming” the door. The interior moldings have to be taken out. Once this is done, you will clearly notice that the frame of the door is fitted and securely attached to the door opening. It most probably is no longer a perfect square as it originally was. This entails you to re-square the same frame by making loose the screws that are found around it and which are used to make it immovable and steady. Having done this, you can now shim out or re-shape the frame at points where it is necessary. You can then fit it back into the door using the same screws that were attached to it. With the door frame back in place, you are now ready to re-install the interior moldings or trim. Repairing your sliding glass doors not only gives you more than convenience of use. It is also economical in that you will be able to save on energy consumption by sealing cracks where hot or cold air may seep in, causing your home to be hotter in summer or cooler in colder months.
Fixing the handle mechanisms
Another way your sliding glass doors can be malfunctioning is by having the mechanisms for the handle and latch worn out by time or age. Provided that you have the exact replacement for the part, you will have no problem installing the new fixture because it is easy to do. If however you cannot find a suitable alternative at your local hardware shops, you can search online or in catalogs that particularly cater to this type of hardware. This may entail having to remove your broken door handle to examine it more freely and closely. This will also allow you to take measurements that you may need in finding the correct replacement components. Door thickness, the style of the door jamb strike, and the drilled holes in the door are the most important measurements that need to be taken. Changing or upgrading this particular part of your sliding glass doors will not only give it a brand new look and function, it may also provide you with better security provisions especially if this aspect is of utmost importance for you and your family.
Cleaning the sliding door
As with almost anything, a sliding glass door that looks worn-out can improve its appearance through proper and regular maintenance. To clean it thoroughly, scrub it with a brush that has soft bristles and gently wash it with soap and water that is warm to soften any hardened dirt on the outer side that is exposed to environmental elements. Don’t be afraid to rinse it with water preferably from a garden hose, but take care in keeping the inner side of your home from getting soaked as well. On the interior part of the door, you can simply and easily use a damp cloth to wipe it clean. A vacuum and then a dry cloth can be used to clean the rollers at the bottom. Keeping the surface around the rollers tidy will help smoothen the rolling or sliding motions of the sliding glass doors. To top it off, you can apply a good car wax over the frame to give it shine and a fresh look.
With a little time, effort and patience, you can easily repair and restore your sliding glass doors to its original good function and not be bogged down by a malfunctioning structure. Just follow the practical and easy-to-do steps or instructions enumerated above. If you are on a tight or limited budget, it is an economical and smart way to save on money that would have otherwise gone to the purchase of a brand new sliding glass door.