When our installation team replaces an old aluminum sliding door with a new vinyl replacement sliding patio door, they will often get comments from the homeowners like: “Wow! This new door slides so smoothly!” In the grand scheme of things, having a patio door that slides easily is a relatively small convenience, but once you’ve experienced both a patio door that slides poorly and one that slides smoothly, you’ll never want to go back to the former.
When our professional patio door installers at BM Windows put replacement sliding doors in the homes of our San Diego customers, they always make sure both the glass patio door and the screen doors are sliding properly before they leave. Still, there may come a time down the road when the doors don’t open as smoothly as they once did. Fortunately, there are easy steps any San Diego homeowner can take to return their patio doors and patio screen doors to optimal operating condition.
The first thing you should do is clean the patio door track. This is something you should do as part of the regular maintenance of your replacement windows and patio doors, but if your doors are not sliding smoothly, it may be because there is debris or a buildup of dirt in your patio door track. To clean the track, vacuum or wipe the area thoroughly with a damp cloth.
If, after cleaning the door’s track, it is still not sliding smoothly, it probably means the door’s rollers need to be adjusted. Fortunately, this is a very simple fix—one that only requires a Phillips head screwdriver and a few minutes of your time.
To make the adjustments, open the sliding patio door slightly. Look at the gap between the patio door and the door’s frame. The gap (also known as the “reveal”) needs to be even from top to bottom for the door to work properly. If you notice that the gap is either larger at the top or the bottom, you will need to adjust the roller adjustment screws. The roller adjustment screws are located at the bottom of both ends of your sliding patio door.
Using your Phillips head screwdriver, rotate the roller adjustment screws clockwise to raise the door, and counterclockwise to lower the door. Continue to make adjustments until the door’s reveal is even from top to bottom, and the door slides smoothly.
For those of you who are visual learners, Anlin Window Systems, one of our preferred replacement window manufacturers, recently put together the two short, handy videos below to illustrate the process we just described. One of the videos shows how to adjust your replacement patio doors, and the other shows how to adjust your sliding screen doors, but it is basically the same process for either type of sliding door.
One final note: don’t be tempted to us a screw gun to complete this job. The adjustments you’ll be making will likely be very minor, and the last thing you want to do is strip the roller adjustment screws. The job can be done easily by hand, and it isn’t worth the risk of damaging your doors just to save a few seconds.
If you have older sliding patio doors that are beyond adjusting, or if you just want to upgrade to more energy-efficient patio doors with modern safety features, contact us at BM Windows. We would be happy to provide you with an estimate for replacement patio doors and/or replacement windows for your San Diego home.